It’s very likely that you will be seeing some news articles in the coming days saying that the United Methodist Church is about to split. My friend Sky McCracken, the pastor at First Methodist Downtown in Jackson, TN, recently posted about this and I can’t it better than he, so here I’m sharing his words.
To First Methodist Downtown Jackson, and other United Methodist folks:
Our news media and social media will soon be blowing up about our denomination being “expected to split” over gay marriage (sound familiar?). The latest will be around this document that was released today (I’ll post the link on the first reply below).
Keep in mind while this is an important document and signed by many influential people in our denomination:
- Half of the signatories are from bishops, who have **no** vote or voice at General Conference.
- Other signatories on the document REPRESENT various caucus and interest groups in the UMC, but their groups may or may not be in total agreement with their leadership. It’s been my experience that few, if any, of these groups are monolithic in belief or sentiment.
- This document may – or may not – be legal according to our Judicial Council.
This is not the first document to gain recent media attention; a few months ago the Indianapolis Plan was released, with a similar goal in mind.
Yogi Berra’s advice may be helpful here:
1. It ain’t over until it’s over.
2. When you get to a fork in the road, take it.
I have intentionally not made a particularly big deal about United Methodist political stuff in the wake of the St. Louis General Conference last year because I believe that there isn’t any value in worrying about “what if’s” until something firm is in place. I also believe that we have enough work to do in making City Road Chapel a place that welcomes all people, inviting them into a relationship with the one who created us. So, while this is an important development, it honestly makes little difference in our day-to-day lives at this point in time. Yes, I believe that it is very likely that there may be a split in our denomination, but until we know more about what that looks like I am placing it in God’s hands for God to work out.
I’ll post some links to articles and the documents below.