What Will Happen to the United Methodist Church?

When I was a boy, I attended the Methodist Church. Occasionally. I wasn’t a fan and, when at a very early age my parents allowed me to decide whether to continue attending, I opted out. Even then, the theology was simply hard to swallow. The concepts of brotherly love, peace, and related philosophies made good sense to me; I readily accepted them. But literal interpretations of the Bible did not fit within my logical, reasoning brain. I could accept much of the Bible’s content as parable. I could not accept it as “fact.” At any rate, I left and never regretted it for a moment.

The news this week that the United Methodist Church acted to reject a proposed

The church’s motto is: Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors. Obviously, the decision to reaffirm its stodgy, ultra-conservative stance that views LBGTs as “an abomination unto the Lord” rejects that motto out of hand. Instead, I think it suggests a better motto would be “Hard Hearts. Closed Minds. Locked Doors.” The fact that 47 percent of the delegates who voted rejected the closed-minded philosophy is heartening to me, though. For them, the official motto still resonates, I suspect.

I suspect the nearly evenly-divided split is frightening to the church. Almost half the delegates voted for a progressive vision that was not accepted and will not be implemented. Those delegates (and the 60 percent of Methodists in general who are said to support LBGT rights and LBGT inclusion in the ministry) are very likely to leave the denomination. Perhaps a new denomination will be formed. Perhaps those who leave will join other, more progressive, forward-thinking churches (which are….?). Or, perhaps, many of those who leave will have become so disgusted with organized religion that they will opt to avoid churches altogether.

For now, the term Divided Methodist Church seems appropriate for the almost evenly-divided denomination. I don’t have a dog in the fight, so the ultimate resolution isn’t terribly important to me. But I’m sorry that the progressive members who, aside from their theological beliefs that don’t mirror mine, view the world in the same way I do must feel abandoned and rejected. They put their faith in an institution that has, by its actions, rejected the core humanist philosophies they hold dear.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to What Will Happen to the United Methodist Church?

  1. Linda, I would welcome you to UUVC! I don’t know if it would meet your needs, but know that you would be welcomed by the entire congregation.

  2. lindakblack says:

    Yes, John, I assume many will leave the church. I left organized religion for many years, then started going to the Methodist Church, but all are not true to the concept, Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. I don’t know where I’ll land.

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