Which of these things is not like the other?

Our poor Council of Bishops… Having only had 44 years’ notice, how could they have possibly foreseen widespread ecclesial disobedience after they kicked the can labeled “LGBT controversy” down the road last May at General Conference? Back then, they said they would convene a specially appointed commission to recommend splitting up our denomination a way forward on the issue at a called General Conference some time before 2020.

They’re still working on it, as they say in this statement, even as the Western Jurisdiction and several annual conferences are breaking church law.

Still, you have to admire the diplomacy of the following sentence, which goes out of its way to blame both sides for this present crisis. Let’s see… Which of these three is not like the other?

“The reported declarations of non-compliance from several annual conferences, the intention to convene a Wesleyan Covenant Association and the election of the Rev. Karen Oliveto as a bishop of the church have opened deep wounds and fissures within The United Methodist Church and fanned fears of schism,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Council president, in a detailed statement outlining the actions taken.

Please note: The convening of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a new organization of like-minded evangelical United Methodists, which was formed in response to the ecclesial disobedience of the Western Jurisdiction, does not break church law.

12 thoughts on “Which of these things is not like the other?”

  1. I’m not sure I even understand that statement. It might be because I am not privy to the actions mentioned, or the positions of the players on both sides.

    1. Electing a gay bishop in a lesbian marriage who has repeatedly presided over other gay weddings and ordaining practicing homosexuals to ministry break church law. These are decisions made by church leaders in the past two months that have brought our church to the brink of schism. The Wesleyan Covenant Association, by contrast, made up of evangelicals like me, are merely having a meeting. Yet Bishop Ough’s “fair and balanced” statement implies that evangelicals are also to blame.

  2. Wow! I just Googled it. I had no idea. How can that happen when the Book of Discipline forbids it???

    I thought that it was “under discussion/study” for action later.

    1. We assume that the UMC’s “supreme court,” the Judicial Council, will rule these things unconstitutional when they meet in October (I think). It’s majority conservative, supposedly. We’ll see.

      Yes, this specially appointed commission is supposed to come up with a recommendation for a specially called General Conference (in 2018). This recommendation, I hope, will include some kind of split. I’m a proponent of a split. I’m happily schismatic! It’s time.

      Still, that the progressives aren’t willing to wait for this commission shows a lack of good faith on their part. Of course they had no intention of abiding by the Discipline until the next General Conference, although many bishops evidently thought that this would be the case.

      1. I agree. A split is the least contentious route. Some things just aren’t up for negotiation. Both sides are dug in here and will never agree. However, the actualization of the process will be hurtful beyond imagination.

      2. Supposedly, there’s this large group in the middle who believe we can “agree to disagree” on the issue. I don’t believe there is a large group, but inasmuch as there is, they don’t understand why this issue isn’t negotiable. They don’t understand what’s at stake. I’ve said this before, but I actually have more respect for progressives than Methodist “centrists,” because at least progressives understand what’s at stake. To their credit, they don’t want to live and minister alongside people like me, and I can’t blame them. I’m not going to change. I think they preach a different gospel. I think that presiding over same-sex marriages is grave sin.

      3. Some things cannot co-exist. When you try, you get ambiguity. That’s what we have on the abortion issue. On fundamental moral issues, it’s better to take a stand.

  3. Can’t wait to see the makeup of the Commission. My nominations for the “facilitator? Cardinal Robert Sarah; Kallistor Ware; N T Wright. Any of the above will do.

    1. When the split comes, the name “United Methodist Church” will have to go. I suggest “New Age Methodist Church” and “Foundational Methodist Church”. 🙂

    1. What about “Reconciling Methodists”? That name is already in fairly wide use (as these things go), yes?

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