Point of Disorder

Those who know me well will hopefully be able to tell you that I seldom get angry. For whenever I am confronted by rude or selfish behavior I try to check my reaction by simply stopping to remember that I have no idea what may have happened in the other person’s life to make them act so inappropriately.

Today, however, I actually got a bit ticked. For though I have grown accustomed over the past twenty-eight years to the peculiar dysfunction that United Methodist General Conferences often fall into, today seemed to be a particularly potent illustration of Methodists Behaving Badly.

Don’t get me wrong. In general, I like our bishops. Even thought of being one myself once, though apparently no one else was thinking along the same lines. But the recommendation that came from our College of Bishops today to defer dealing with any of the sexuality issues before us as a denomination seemed not only disingenuous but downright duplicitous and even destructive in its implications.

To be sure, the move not to move ahead was at least done in the open this year, as opposed to four years ago when a backdoor deal was struck with a few that essentially killed all resolutions still in the queue, including the one I was sitting on the platform ready to present next.

But the recommendation also means that for the second time in two conferences we will have effectively set aside and silenced the voices of numerous individuals who in good faith researched and wrote their petitions, argued them before their church or conference to get them approved, and then dutifully sent them in according to the timetable and instructions provided, only to see them tossed away without so much as the courtesy of a vote, or in some cases, even a hearing before a subcommittee.

Full disclosure compels me to say that I am one of those individuals, for I and others produced a resolution that represents a genuine compromise between progressives and conservatives meant to bring a little breathing space into our seemingly unending sexuality struggles. But I think as well of the Connectional Table, our highest council of leaders from across the church who spent several years, tens of thousands of dollars, conducted hearings around the world and crafted a proposal that now will never even be presented. (It makes you wonder what the point of another study commission is going to be, thus, if their work too can be so easily ignored.)

And I haven’t even mentioned the horrendous ad hominem attacks on the presiding officer which took place, or the fact that when the first proposal to adopt this plan from the bishops was voted down, a second and virtually identical one was allowed to be presented, an action that should have immediately been ruled out of order.

I’ll get over it, of course. I always do. But today I will freely admit that I’m more than just a little peeved. For I can’t get past the sneaky feeling that once again, we’ve been manipulated by those whose agenda may not reflect that of the majority of either our delegates or the church.  Even those from across the globe noticed that there was something wrong and emailed their astonishment, much to my embarrassment as a delegate.

Vote me up or vote me down, thus, and I’ll accept it as it is. But don’t try to maneuver me out of a vote or deny others the right to even express an opinion on a vital issue confronting the church.  For God may indeed want to say something to us from them and I’d hate for us to miss it.

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17 Responses to Point of Disorder

  1. Jonathon Hunt says:

    You state – “To be sure, the move not to move ahead was at least done in the open this year, as opposed to four years ago when a backdoor deal was struck with a few that essentially killed all resolutions still in the queue, including the one I was sitting on the platform ready to present next.”
    To be sure, this was also a “backdoor deal”. Don’t you find it a little strange that there was a meeting, the next morning the Bishop comes out and says there is no plan for splitting, then Hamilton presents his plan (for splitting), gets voted down. Then, they IMMEDIATELY have the vote for kicking the can down the road (to a special GC which will probably not have the number of African delegations the normal GC has) which will be facilitated after “special meetings” which are sure to be stacked with liberals like Hamilton. Do you really think the “secret meeting” they had was not to plan this very thing?
    Face it , the denomination is dead. What comes out of it will be a successful part that follows the Bible and a quickly failing part that follows their new god, Hamilton.

    • Richard Haase says:

      Why the liberal comment? Are we not all Methodist Christians? I suggest that we not let the dividers get their wish and divide.

  2. Jerry Vaughan says:

    Amen!

  3. JoLynn Daugherty says:

    Well, only thing I did know is it would be hard. Not easy.. Sorry it is so upsetting. But I’m certain, if there, I would share in your frustration and anger. Brion has been listening to much of it live, and while I sat and worked in the office yesterday, I shared in the listening. Not surprised by any of it. Breathe in. Breathe out. God is certainly in control. And He will truly have the last word. Thanks for the updates.

  4. Brandye Scotton says:

    Your frustration is palpable and understandable. I, personally, need my church, denomination, to take a stand. Then, I can prayerfully determine where I need to be. Revelation 3:15-16 comes to mind. Being neutral is not really an option. Praying for peace and guidance. Thank you for all you do.

  5. Dan Wilson says:

    The session certainly started going down hill quickly. I lost confidence early on the presiding bishop and thought was long before he cut off a woman making a speech in favor of the motion, saying that if it was a speech in favor it did not make sense to him. I am sure he did not mean to be so patronizing to this female delegate but it told me he had lost focus. What followed was one out of order move by him after another, including not letting the presenter of the motion speak to plus allowing the same exact motion to be voted on a second time after it had been voted down.

    Lord help us.

    Having said that I am thankful that in the end we have found a way to stop the hate speech that has been occuring in discussions around human sexuality. We say all people are of sacred worth but evidence for that has been hard to come by. Maybe now we can focus on all the wonderful things the church is doing and can do that we all agree on.

  6. Joyce Wilkinson says:

    Using Shakespeare’s Macbeth rather freely, I ask whether the GC is “But a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage …… full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

  7. Kathe Behrend says:

    That is frustrating and a bit heads in the sand.

  8. Melissa Garza-Allen says:

    I vote you up. And Jason. And Bruce. And Jim. And Ernie.
    Peace

  9. triciabrad says:

    Stay strong. Everybody sing. ..And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love….

  10. Georgia C. Trudeau says:

    That was righteous indignation. God is angry at how the militant LBGT lobby and its sympathizers has “robbed” the delegates of their freedom of speech through their right to vote. Here’s what I believe Jesus Christ would have done and said: Matt. 21:12-13.

  11. Richard Haase says:

    Dr. Temple, there is so much hate and divisiveness in America at this time. I do believe the hate and divisiveness orchestrated to create issues for us, so that, we do not see what is really going on, how that the real power games are being played (the Historic Banksters). A part of that divisiveness game is controlling other people’s bedrooms. No, I do not believe that anyone who is not in line with God’s Teachings on this matter should be Ordained or in a leadership position. Outside of such a role, why do some want to dictate how others or who others love? Yes, I am hetero and therefore, I believe am in line with biblical teachings. However, to tell someone else who that they can love is IMO a height of arrogance. All of which leads me to an understanding of maybe why that the church did what they did. If you realize that you are being played as a distraction to other bigger games and actions (again, the Historic Banksters), the best response may be simply to not play. By not being pulled into this game of distraction that has been thrust upon the American People, is to say “Mr. Rothchild, I will not play your game; leave my people alone”; or, “Illuminati, let my people go”.

  12. Becky Monto says:

    I am so sorry. It breaks my heart to see this happening in the church that I love. It seems like instead of bringing God to the world, we are bringing the world to the church. We are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. Jesus loved and accepted everyone, all sinners, even me. But he told us to repent and change our ways. The second part seems to be left out of the equation these days. It’s a very sad time.

    • Richard Haase says:

      Becky, well stated. This is what happens when we lose the division of church and state. The state will destroy the church, sooner or later.

      • Becky Monto says:

        This is not quite what I said. I think we will self destruct if we follow the world. Maybe this is clearer.

      • Richard Haase says:

        Agreed. I was adding to your statement. Let me try and bring us together in a clearer way. I also agree that we could self destruct if we do not follow the word. IMO, the world does not follow the word and the State that is part of the world has not historically followed the word. Therefore, IMO, the more politicized that we become or the closer that we are to the State, the greater our potential to self destruct. As an example, the politics of today are of hate and division (a dialectic game of the powerful), neither of which are of the word. Therefore, IMO, we must maintain our separation of church and State or risk loosing the church, an event that would lead to an eventual loss of the State, as well. I agree with you, we must follow the word.

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