Sometimes, break-ups are inevitable …
After a joyous 51-year run, it appears the United Methodist Church is slated for an unavoidable split over its congregants’ growing disagreement over LGBT issues.
Leaders of the church reportedly announced Friday that they’ve agreed to a tentative plan to split the church into two sub-denominations — one that’ll permit gay marriage and gay clergy, and another that’ll stick to “traditionalist Methodist” teachings.
What’s odd and inexplicable is that the “traditionalist Methodist” denomination will be the outlier, while the LGBT-friendly one will adopt the church’s original longtime name.
“It appears the LGBT-friendly church will retain the United Methodist Church name after the division,” the New York Daily News reported Friday.
Moreover, any individual Methodist churches across the globe interested in maintaining traditional teachings will have to voluntarily sign up with the traditional denomination. Those that fail to sign up will “remain as a United Methodist Church” …
The United Methodist Church will split down the line of accepting or denying LGBTQ individual rights.
Funny enough, it looks like they’re keeping the “United Methodist Church” name and called the break-off the “Traditionalist Methodist Church”
That seems a bit ludicrous. #umc
— Nick (@nicktotin) January 3, 2020
According to The New York Times, this split has been a long time coming.
“A separation in the Methodist church, a denomination long home to a varied mix of left and right, had been brewing for years, if not decades,” the outlet notes.
“It had become widely seen as likely after a contentious general conference in St. Louis last February, when 53 percent of church leaders and lay members voted to tighten the ban on same-sex marriage, declaring that ‘the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.'”
Note that the 53 percent applied to the church’s worldwide leaders. This is relevant because, while most Methodist leaders from the U.S. reportedly back homosexuality, their compatriots overseas do not. That’s why the vote wound up being against homosexuality — because the U.S. leaders were outvoted by their global counterparts.
The battle grew even more quarrelsome a month later when John Lomperis, the United Methodist director of the Washington, D.C. based Institute of Religion and Democracy, filed a complaint against an openly gay Iowa pastor, Rev. Anna Blaedel, over her sexuality.
Two months later, and after an investigation, the Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church formally charged Blaedel for being “a self-avowed practicing homosexual.”
Another six months later, this past November, Blaedel voluntarily stepped down to avoid being taken to trial.
“Today we are naming together the truth that it is not currently possible for me to continue my ministry in the context of the Iowa Annual Conference, nor the UMC,” she said in a statement at the time.
“That is not the truth I want to come to, but it has been, is being, revealed as true. … I am no longer willing to subject my body and soul and life to this particular violence.”
Note the use of the term “violence.” Members of the left have adopted a disturbing habit of labeling the expression and practice of opposing beliefs as acts of violence.
Blaedel apparently also had the habit of wearing clothing with the words “Unrepentant Queer” emblazoned on them, as can be seen in the photo below:
”perhaps the most insidious harm is not outright bigotry—that’s obvious—but when people call themselves friends, while being willing to compromise our lives for the sake of “church unity.” – @TylerSchwaller https://t.co/yBfO7afeSE
— enfleshed (@enfleshed) November 13, 2019
It’s not clear which part of the Christian Bible promotes being unrepentant over one’s sins …
Blaedel isn’t the church’s first openly gay pastor. That “honor” goes to Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto, who still reportedly leads the UMC’s Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Conferences.
“I’m actually really sad that we couldn’t build a bridge that could have provided a witness to the world of what unity amid diversity and disagreement could look like,” she reportedly said after the church’s announcement Friday.
She appeared to tweet about the matter as well:
In the midst of new dimensions,
in the face of changing ways.
Who will lead the pilgrim peoples wandering in their separate ways?
God of rainbow, fiery pillar,
leading where the eagles soar,
We your people, ours the journey now & ever,
now and ever, now and ever more.—J. Rush
— Bishop Karen Oliveto (@BishopOliveto) January 4, 2020
“In 2017, the Judicial Council, the church’s highest court, declared Oliveto’s consecration ‘was incompatible with church law.’ She was, however, allowed to remain as the resident bishop of the Mountain Sky Conference, which covers churches in Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and part of Idaho,” Fox News notes.
Other bishops have also responded to Friday’s announcement.
“There is a degree of heartbreak within me because I never thought we would reach this point,” New York Bishop Thomas Bickerton reportedly said in his own statement. “[W]e are at this point. The differences are irreconcilable. This is inevitable.”
However, Texas Bishop Scott J. Jones insists that the proposal hasn’t been finalized yet.
“The Protocol itself says it was developed in service to the General Conference delegates who will decide on its adoption or amendment,” he said. “Other plans may well be considered as alternatives. Significant questions remain to be answered about the Protocol’s implementation. The Judicial Council will need to rule on its constitutionality.”
Apparently, the United Methodist Church functions a whole lot like the U.S. government.
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