(This piece is entirely satirical with a dose of sarcasm. This is written expressly for Traditional Orthodox United Methodists who have not yet disaffiliated and/or believe there will be room for them in the Post-Separation United Methodist Church. Any resemblance to the underlying truth is strictly intentional.)
(From the WHY News Network) On November 19, 2022 a hostage situation happened as the afore unknown terrorist group calling themselves The Arkansas Annual Conference took and held hostage 3 congregations in Arkansas. These churches, Jonesboro First, Searcy First, and Cabot United Methodist Churches, are now known as The Arkansas Three. After meeting all of the requirements to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church, they were denied the right to exit. Not much as been heard since then. (You can read our previous news article here)
Yesterday, December 16, a dramatic and forceful turn of events occurred that leaves this reporter wondering if The Arkansas Three will ever know freedom again. Ayatollah Gary Mueller, head of the terrorist group, released a Weapon of Mass Destruction on Jonesboro First called Paragraph 2549.3. Ayatollah Mueller declared “exigent circumstances” and seized all property and assets of Jonesboro First; effectively taking control away from the congregation and its leadership.
In an attempt to maintain control, Ayatollah Mueller also released another Weapon of Mass Destruction known as Paragraph 362.1d against their pastor, Rev. John Miles. This weapon not only removes him as pastor of Jonesboro First, but denies him the right to function as a United Methodist pastor. This weapon was unleashed against Rev. Miles by 5 of Ayatollah Mueller’s clerics known in the terrorist organization as District Superintendents. There will be an impending trial against Rev. Miles.
This reporter has learned of the events that have led up to the escalation of this crisis situation. Leaders from within the congregation approached Rev. Miles with a request to hold a public meeting concerning this hostage situation. Apparently, upon learning of this meeting, Ayatollah Mueller informed Rev. Miles that no such meeting should occur and ordered him to announce the cancellation of the meeting. Rev. Miles allowed the meeting to occur. During this meeting, the congregation selected an ad hoc committee to represent all of the church to negotiate a resolution to this hostage situation and allow Jonesboro First to be set free. Instead of dialogue, Ayatollah Mueller unleashed those weapons of Mass Destruct the day after the Forbidden Meeting. Questions from this reporter have gone unanswered. However, Ayatollah Mueller did send out this press release.
While seeking the rationale for this decision, someone close to the headquarters of the Arkansas Annual Conference, and to Ayatollah Mueller, was willing to talk freely about the unleashing of these Weapons of Mass Destruction on the condition of anonymity. This anonymous source said: “It is the belief and conviction of the Ayatollah that we just can’t allow congregations to think for themselves. It’s crucial to “The Cause” to maintain complete and absolute control over both the situation and the narrative. WE know what God wants. Jonesboro First is just a bunch of ignorant and uninformed group of trouble makers. WE had spoken a resounding NO to their disaffiliation and they just needed to get in line. And because they were unwilling, it became necessary to use these Weapons of Mass Destruction. We are hopeful now, that any other congregation, including the other 2 of what you call The Arkansas Three, considering disaffiliation will shut down the process immediately. These exigent circumstance were necessary since the provisions of Paragraph 2553 cease to exist after December 31, 2023. After then, we will have absolute control.”
When asked why the Ayatollah had not sought that other groups within the United Methodist Church abide by and enforce the Book Of Discipline, the anonymous spokesperson replied, “Those paragraphs are old and obsolete. They needed to have been removed a long time ago. Ayatollah Mueller and other Ayatollahs have determined they need to be removed. So, there is no need to enforce those rules. Those rules hurt other people’s feelings. And we just can’t allow that.”
The irony of Ayatollah Mueller’s press release is that he stated: “I want to ask you to pray that hearts of peace will prevail and a positive way forward will be found.” Apparently the only positive way forward for Jonesboro First, and other like-minded congregations, is to bow in submission to his agenda. He opted to release upon Jonesboro First Paragraphs 2549.3 and 362.1d rather than find a positive way forward. Then Ayatollah Mueller signed his declaration with the words peace and grace. It is rather obvious to this reporter that his actions, and those of his Always Agreeing With Him council offered neither–to Jonesboro First nor any other congregation under their control. It is indeed a sad day when dialog is denied. What happens next? Personally, I shudder at the thought. I will be watching this hostage situation closely and will inform you of any changes. This is Randy Burbank, reporting for WHY News Network.