I wrote this for my church’s January newsletter. I was going to post it here on Jan. 1, but life got in the way. Two days later, a proposal to split the church was announced. I’ll comment on that later. First, my Jan. 1 post that never made it “live.”
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This is the time of year when you’re supposed to cheerfully flip the calendar to a new year and say “Happy new year!”
But I am not happy about it at all. Jan. 1 is when the so-called “Traditional Plan” goes into effect in the United Methodist Church.
The Traditional Plan basically makes it a crime in church law for any pastor or church to support LGBTQ people in any meaningful way. Non-compliance leads to expulsion.
It is a draconian measure, an anti-Wesleyan measure, an anti-Christian measure, and – yes – an anti-Christ measure.
It is the product of that awful special General Conference we had last February.
It is the culmination of a decades-long effort by fundamentalists to impose their narrow and bigoted view of scripture on everyone else.
It is an effort to make the UMC an anti-gay lobby and drive out all faithful Christians who object.
It is an effort to destroy the mission and ministry that the UMC has built over the last 50 years.
It is an effort to turn the UMC into just another culturally captive religious institution, just another political pawn that promotes conformity to insipid civic religion.
It is an effort to replace the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ with an enslaving anti-gospel of discrimination and hatred.
A new day is coming. General Conference 2020 convenes in May. The church may split. I don’t want that to happen, but it may be the best course of action. I am sick of being told that I am “unorthodox” and worse because I don’t follow a certain narrow and bigoted interpretation of scripture. So called “conservative” elements make it clear that I am not welcome in their church. Now I am beginning to think that I don’t want them in my church either. So much for the big tent. Let ’em have their own little tent.
Pray for the United Methodist Church and the witness of Jesus Christ through it.