Wow. It's been a long time since I've written anything...nearly back in the time of lockdown! In fact, it's been so long that some of you may have forgotten that you subscribed to my blog. If you don't want to receive updates any longer, please unsubscribe via the link in the email that brought you here. You won't hurt my feelings, I promise. Others may disagree with or not want to hear what I'm going to say. If that's you, please also feel free to unsubscribe. While I encourage everyone to read viewpoints that don't align with their own (ask our kids about doing current events!), we're all adults here and all have our own opinions, so you can take or leave that advice let alone anything else I say, ha ha.
So what am I going to be writing about? I'm going to be writing on the happenings in the United Methodist Church, specifically about the last 50 years of debate surrounding biblical authority; the faithfulness of bishops (or not) to uphold their vows to enforce the doctrinal and ethical standards of the UMC; the marks of a true church (according to Methodist theologians); things Christians can agree on and remain united and things that should get us to part ways; and the future trajectory of the denomination and its importance to you and me.
Well, why am I--an ordained Lutheran--doing this? As one who has worshiped in UMC parishes for the last decade or so, it affects my family, me, and a lot of our friends first-hand. Specifically, I am going to start writing again because:
- People are in the dark about the real issues in the upcoming split in the UMC...as recently as a month ago, I talked to a life-long UMC member in our parish who knew absolutely nothing about what has been going on. That's not right.
- People are making all kinds of accusations about 'the other side' and their nefarious schemes...progressive/liberals are accusing traditionalist/conservatives of fear mongering and traditionalist/conservatives are accusing progressive/liberals of creating a false sense of security...stay tuned and you can decide for yourself.
- The issues (and there are many more than human sexuality) are issues that are central to the Christian faith and impact people's souls for eternity.
- People need to know what is going on in order to make informed decisions based on their beliefs...I have no delusions about changing anyone's mind. Y'all know what you believe, but it's important that you know what's happening so you can act on your beliefs.
I'm sure there are going to be lots of accusations made about my motivations and intentions, so let's go ahead and address some of those right now. Here are some things I am NOT trying to do:
- I am NOT trying to split up our local congregation. Like it or not, our congregation will split because of changes coming in the UMC. That's a fact. I guarantee it. We can either talk about the issues now and let people make decisions with their eyes wide open, or we can be secretive and let them understand what happened after the fact.
- I am NOT writing because I'm angry. I've been through denominational splits before. They don't make me angry, they make me sad. The UMC isn't the first denomination to have these debates. In fact, they are one of the last mainline churches to split over these same issues. I'm not mad at all. It's heartbreaking. Depending on what our congregation does, we will either stay or leave. No harm, no foul, no anger either way.
- I am NOT writing because I dislike our pastor. It's no secret that we disagree of many points of theology...we even tease each other in public about it. That's far from sinister or spiteful. At the same time, we worship together, we lead worship together, we cooperate in church planning, and we even spar amicably about theology from time to time just for fun. We're hardly enemies. In fact, I think we're quite grown up about our differences, in spite of the teasing.
- I am NOT writing because I want to take over our congregation. I've heard this at least once already, though no one bothered to ask me. You read the part about me being Lutheran, right? While I am perfectly comfortable worshiping with my Methodist brothers and sisters (and appreciate you tolerating me!), I don't agree with every finer point of Methodist theology. There are many things Christians can disagree on and still worship together, but those disagreements on little things prevent me from becoming Methodist clergy because I couldn't be faithful to Methodist ordination vows that require clergy to teach in accordance with Methodist doctrine. (In case you want an example, I think Wesley got entire sanctification wrong...can we still worship together? I completely think so).
Well, there you have it, the skinny on what's in store if you keep coming back in the short term. All my posts come with a money back guarantee. I'll gladly refund double your purchase price if you're dissatisfied with anything you read here. Where else can you get such a deal?
P.S.--if you got the email notification and don't want them in the future, there's a link in the email to unsubscribe. If that doesn't work for you, shoot me an email at tcjudd AT mailbox.org and I'll remove you manually. We all get enough spam, so I completely understand.