Two viewpoints that represent the diversity of opinion concerning the Discipline and homosexuality.
The Commission on a Way Forward meets again this week, July 19-21 in Chicago, to continue its work concerning human sexuality and exploring options for the future of The United Methodist Church on the issue.
This will be the fourth meeting of the 32-member Commission, which was appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the bishops in discerning a way forward.
As the Commission continues deliberation, they encourage all United Methodists to be in dialogue with each other as Commission members have been in dialogue together.
These two articles are offered as representative of the diversity of opinion on issues at the heart of these conversations; both have appeared on MinistryMatters.org, an online forum of The United Methodist Publishing House.
What middle am I in?
Senior Pastor, Foundry UMC, Washington, D.C.
Nearly ten years ago at a dinner in New York City, I was stunned when someone at my table declared clearly that there is really no point in dialogue or relationship with those whose beliefs will not be conformed to your own.
I didn’t accept such a claim then and, as a person formed in and by the Wesleyan way, I don’t accept that claim now.
Even so, during the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference session, I learned some of my colleagues were confused to find my name listed among the individuals who recently initiated a movement described as part of the “Methodist middle.” The United Methodist News Service cited this movement as evidence that “the United Methodist Church has a ‘vibrant’ center that can keep the denomination strong despite the damaging debates around division” over the issue of the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals in the life and clergy of the United Methodist Church.
On more than one occasion, a colleague said to me, “What ‘middle’ are you in?” Read more.
Four marks of the next Methodism
David F. Watson
Assoc. Professor of New Testament, United Theological Seminary
Let’s face it: no one really knows what’s going to happen over the next few years within The United Methodist Church. Division? Restructuring? Fragmentation? Slow demise? Despite widespread conjecture and one or two wild conspiracy theories, your guess is as good as mine.
The Wesleyan movement, however, is much larger than The United Methodist Church. At its core this movement is dynamic, revivalistic and evangelistic, and in many places in the world Wesleyan and Methodist communities are in the midst of revival.
I believe we can have revival here, too. Yes, even in the United States, we can have revival. In fact, I believe we will have a Wesleyan revival in which the awakening taking place in the global South will catch fire in North America. In 2015 I wrote briefly about Christians in the global South in a post called “The Next Methodism.” Since that time, I’ve thought a great deal about what it might look like for that revival to come to the United States. Were this to happen, I believe it would involve four characteristics, which I’ll discuss briefly below. Read more.