An Open Letter To United Methodist Progressives And Centrists

My dear Sister and Brother Centrists and Progressives in the United Methodist Church,

I do not know if you will read this or not. But sometimes…sometimes the heart must speak. I will be honest with you upfront: I am first and foremost, a servant in the Kingdom of God. This submission to the Rule of God is absolute and unconditional; though at times I am rebellious and disobedient. I am secondly, an Orthodox Methodist, a label that has been put upon me, yet I wear it with humility and honor. Knowing this about me, you are now free to stop reading and make up your mind about me, without ever knowing what I will say. Based upon past behavior, I will not be surprised if some of you do just that; but for you who are still reading, please allow me the grace you say you so deeply believe in, be given to me as well.

I have a question ONLY for Centrists and Progressives.

“Why should I remain in the United Methodist Church, a church I have loved, supported and serve in the name of God’s Kingdom, when so many of you hate me?”

 I am sincere in this question. I acknowledge, with much shame as a follower of Jesus, that some who say they follow Jesus have said and continue to say hurtful and hateful things at the LBGTQIA community. And to my United Methodist sisters and brothers who have said those things, please, go join the Westboro Baptist Church. If you live too far away, start a local chapter. I’m sure they would be glad to become a multi-campus church.

Allow me to also say to my Sisters and Brothers who are Centrists and Progressives in the United Methodist Church, what I am about to say is not a blanket, “one-size-fits-all” comments. Some of you share the love and grace professed to even those who do not agree with you theologically. And to you who practice what you preach, please accept my gratitude for your consistency.

Alas, not all show the love and grace they profess. Rev. Tom Berlin has compared me, and my sisters and brothers in Christ, to a virus. More specifically, an Ebola Virus. Furthermore Rev. Berlin, under the banner of love and grace, you said that unless the UMC credentials the LBGTQIA members, then my credentials should be removed. You see, Rev. Berlin, I have been divorced…and remarried. Sir, you are right, myself and the gay community do share something in common. We are sinners. My sin isn’t any worse than any other sin. Sinners are equal at the foot of the cross.

Rev. Berlin, I have confessed my sin of divorce (along with several other sins). This means I agree with God, that it is sin in my life. I have also repented. I have turned away from ever divorcing again. And I turned to the only place I knew I would find grace–at the feet of Jesus. He forgave me. I even went through a process with my annual conference who held me accountable to confession and repentance. And now, Rev. Berlin, though I have confessed, repented and turned back to follow God with all my heart, you say I am unfit (after all, that’s what taking away my credentials because of divorce means) even though I’ve gone through God’s process for sinners, and the church’s process to continue in ministry. Though I and my LBGTQIA sisters and brothers share the bond of sin, I have admitted my sin, while the LBGTQIA refuse such an acknowledgement. See, Rev. Berlin, though we are the same–we are different in how we choose to deal with whatever that sin may be. Because I choose to admit it, I’m mean and unloving? Really?

And to Rev. Adam Hamilton, you choose to belittle me and those like me. You consistently espoused hate at us in St. Louis. And afterwards, your accusations continue to flow. You say I am homophobic (though I have friends who are gay). You say I treat them like second-class citizens (though I cried with someone who lost their partner, because we are friends).

You say I am refusing them grace (though I have served them Holy Communion and will continue to do so). You insist that I am full of hate because I choose to believe the Truth about marriage. That I am hateful because I cannot embrace a theory that isn’t even accepted in the behavioral science community. I am accused of not caring, all because I believe and am convinced that the Bible clearly defines marriage as a man and a woman. Rev. Hamilton, you say that I am not open to the Holy Spirit because I believe in the Biblical teachings on sexual ethics. I did not realize that God had given up the right to judge of my heart and given it to you.

I did not watch all of the 2019 General Conference, but I did watch a lot of it. I’ve also read the blogs, read the Tweets, and listened to the videos. After it all, I am left with only one conclusion: I am hated by the majority of United Methodists in my own country; this according to Rev. Hamilton. Even my former Bishop, Will Willimon, says that I am the problem–because I am over 40 years old.

So, my Centrist and Progressive Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I will ask you again:

“Why should I remain in the United Methodist Church, a church I have loved, supported and serve in the name of God’s Kingdom, when so many of you hate me?”

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11 thoughts on “An Open Letter To United Methodist Progressives And Centrists

  1. My heart aches for you, brother…and for all those involved. I ache for those who suffer for righteousness’ sake, and I weep for those who are blinded by their desires to have rebellion affirmed. Before too long there may be a bunch of folk like you, me, and others who will be forced out of all our usual circles. It happened to the Prophets, didn’t it? It happened to our Savior. Yet, he never stopped loving those who hated him. We are conforming to His likeness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2-Thoughts:

    1. If we kick out people who sin from the church, it will not be very long before there’s no one left at church. (Something tells me Jesus would not like this).

    2. While some sins are not, in regards to our society, illegal, many sins are. Thus, a bank robber is taken off the streets and sent away so most of society do not rub shoulders with them. We must continue to rub shoulders with the other sinners.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There Will be a division in Heaven on judgement Day. The goats will be separated from the sheep. The Bible says: There is a way that seems right to a person but it’s end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12. The Lord God said, “ See the man has become like one of us, KNOWING GOOD And EVIL; And Now he might reach out his hand and take also from THE TREE Of LIFE, And Eat and Live Forever” Gen 3:22 Satan tempted with a rule God had given the man and woman and I heard a preacher preach what if we could live without rules and live with relationship one to another. In order to live without rules we have to be able to live without sin in our lives otherwise the law stays in affect. Jesus said I have overcome the world meaning He lived without sin in His life. Jesus wants us to be like Him and He already knows our sins so just talk to Him about them so you can get past them and start trying to live like Him. He loved sinners but He did not excuse their sins in fact that was the very purpose for Him coming and going through all the rejection and torture He suffered so we might repent and have life more abundantly! Jesus was constantly showing us how to live without sin in our lives! Jesus constantly forgave the sinner and said go and sin no more. We need to adhere to His words and do our best to sin no more. If we busy ourselves doing what He has told us to do we are going to be to tired to do what He has told us not to do. We need more busy bodies getting into God’s business doing His business. God wants us to be able to live without rules but in order to do that we are going to have to have a training up in how life will be without rules and I believe we can find it in Go’s Word! Just what God Through the Holy Spirit has lead me to believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Bro. Randy. I say stay because the UMC needs more men like you more then ever. Honest straight forward and Godly men and women to continue to make disciples of all people, not just pew sitters looking to hear, not that their sins can be forgiven, but that they are not sinners!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could not have said this any better. We, as conservatives, have open been accused of using “hate speech”. I have noticed that what comes out as the mouths of progressives and centrists can be equally, if not more, hateful than what conservatives or orthodox Christians say. The UMC was the denomination in which I grew up. I was fortunate to have had a pastor who stood upon Scripture but was gracious in her approach. It saddens me to see this issue that has been a hot button for over two decades divide so many who say they are on the same team. Thank you for expressing the heart of many Jesus-loving, Bible-believing people who stand upon Scripture with love and grace!

    Like

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