UMC: Theme Introduction

The Rev. Chris Ritter has done us a good service on his blog ( by providing helpful overviews and summaries of key issues in The United Methodist Church today, and particularly with respect to the upcoming General Conference next May.  His posts contain numerous links to his thoughts elsewhere and also to ideas and documents from other people and groups.

Today (11/21/15), he posted his take on the four options he believes are most likely to influence the UMC as we head toward Portland.  It is a good review of current reality.

As I read it, I was surprised to see myself mentioned as an influential voice.  I also found Chris’ brief summary of my position to be essentially accurate; that is, that I am trying to be a moderate voice in the conversation. But like everyone else on the spectrum, my position is not a static one, but rather one that is developing (I pray, is maturing) as time goes by.

Being referred to as a “voice, I have decided to begin an occasional blog here on Oboedire entitled “UMC.” I am entitling the posts this way to differentiate it from the larger mission of Oboedire, which is to be a site to assist any Christians in their spiritual formation.  When you see “UMC” you can know I am addressing something in my denomination, and if you are not United Methodist, you can skip that post, or read it, as you like.

I thought about starting a separate blog, but decided to put “UMC” within Oboedire because it is an established site you already know about, and you will not have to subscribe to yet another blogsite to follow my “denominational” thinking.  Also, this will allow a simple archiving of posts in one place as they are written.

These posts will be occasional, and not on a scheduled day of the week. I have no intention at this point to continue them after General Conference next May.

I am hesitatant to even do this much, because I am not a delegate to General Conference–I have no official role at all.  But if I am viewed as a “voice” by some, I do not want to be silent, but rather contributive to the important discussions taking place right now in the UMC. 

As Christians in the Wesleyan tradition, we believe that Christian Conferencing is a means of grace.  And as some of you will know,I have been emphasizing our need to converse together and to talk more, not less.  I suppose I must must do as I say.

Nothing I will write is intended to ignite reactions or further widen gaps that already exist.  We have too much of that already. I have only one aim: to enrich the conversation for the sake of our denomination and more importantly, for the glory of God.  There is nothing good to be gained if we hold our respective cards to our chests and hope for some kind of last-ditch effort within the ten-day period in Portland next May.

So, as you like, I invite you to follow this new thread of posts.  And if you wish, invite others to do so and/or share these writings through your social media.

Come back this coming Monday for more.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to UMC: Theme Introduction

  1. Looking forward to the posts Steve

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