Category Archives: UMC

UMC: Telegraphing

​It’s called telegraphing….the sending of a message that shows what people are thinking, intending to do, etc.  Sometimes telegraphing is an unconscious messaging the senders are unaware of (but which others can easily detect)….or….a subrosa strategy senders use and can … Continue reading

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Loyal Disobedience

The various acts of non-conformity which have followed The United Methodist General Conference have been swiftly described as acts of disobedience, which are then promptly labeled as manifestations of disloyalty. Various groups and bodies have attempted to frame the issue … Continue reading

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UMC: A New Way

On the heels of General Conference 2016, there are many, various, and legitimate concerns and hopes regarding the Bishops’ establishment of a commission to study human sexuality in ways that take us beyond the current impasse, while at the same … Continue reading

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UMC: A Good Decision

The General Conference’s approval of a plan put forward by the Council of Bishops is already being variously criticized and affirmed–nothing new for us UM’s.  For some time now, I have believed (and have previously written and spoken) that the … Continue reading

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UMC: A New Question

I have waited to write a blog post at the mid-point of General Conference until more was known about what came out of the first week.  I find myself deeply saddened, with words in short supply. For the past several … Continue reading

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UMC: Gender Identity

In anticipation of human-sexuality debates at the United Methodist General Conference in Portland, and in the wake of laws providing for increased exclusivity against LGBTQ people (despite other laws advocating inclusivity), I offer the following reflection…. In recent days, conservatives … Continue reading

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UMC: Let Us Pray

When we speak of our “Methodist DNA” we find six components:  Wesley’s Standard Sermons, Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament, the Articles of Religion, and three documents prepared by the Wesleys to define and direct the movement–‘The Character of a … Continue reading

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UMC: Institutional Memory

In the week leading up to General Conference, in addition to the necessity of scriptural memory, let us pray that General Conference delegates will also have institutional memory.  I note the following as illustrations… (1) We have been here before, … Continue reading

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UMC: The Newness of Oneness

Acts 11:1-18 Revelation 21:1-6 John 13:31-35 The lectionary readings from yesterday should be required reading for every delegate to General Conference, every Bishop, every Board and Agency attendee, every caucus member, and every Conference observer.  They offer us a pre-Conference … Continue reading

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UMC: The Importance of Memory

Years ago, Henri Nouwen was asked to name the key problem in the spiritual life.  He responded, “Amnesia.”  He went on to describe the deformative effects of forgetfullness, and to point out how often the word ‘remember’ is used Scripture. … Continue reading

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UMC: The Power Arena

The ego gravitates toward control and the exertion of power. This is not all bad. Without ego, we would have no will-power, and on our best day, that would neither be a good thing nor a God-thing. Trouble is, we … Continue reading

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UMC: Current Reality

The fact is, we can say without hesitation that LGBTQ inclusivity is possible because we already have it, both in terms of ordination and marriage–and have had it for a long time. LGBTQ clergy (most of whom have not felt … Continue reading

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UMC: Revisiting Human Sexuality

It is incumbent on delegates to discuss any issue with the best and most up-to-date information available.  This is particularly true with respect to human sexuality.  A lot has changed since 1972, and what we have learned since then cannot … Continue reading

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UMC: Loving and Legislating

General Conference faces the challenge of turning perspectives into programs, convictions into content, principles into polity. It is the inescapable movement from beliefs to practices.  Creating the bridge that moves the UMC from one to the other is a formidable … Continue reading

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UMC: Schism

The atmosphere of schism (even when the word is not used) never completely goes away in these days leading up to General Conference.  It most often appears with respect to human sexuality, but it can sometimes be observed in discussions … Continue reading

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UMC: The Pivot

As General Conference approaches, the various plans being put forward regarding human sexuality make it appear that the decisive factor will be which theological view is finally adopted as determinative.  And while I believe theological conversations are essential in a … Continue reading

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UMC: Round Table #4

It would be a mistake to end this brief series on Christian Conferencing (using the Round Table illustration) at the level of practice.  I want to end by remembering why we engage in holy conferencing in the first place. First … Continue reading

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UMC: Round Table #3

In the last blog, I wrote of the “all in” necessity implied in Christian Conferencing.  E. Stanley Jones described this commitment through basic principles required if the Round Table process was to work.      –respectful atmosphere      –no one has … Continue reading

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UMC: Round Table #2

Today, I continue the exploration of E. Stanley Jones’ concept and practice of the Round Table as a model for us to learn from as we move toward General Conference. The first thing Jones noted was that the Round Table … Continue reading

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UMC: Round Table #1

I stand among those who are happy to see the emphasis on Christian Conferencing as the preferred means for deliberating matters at General Conference this coming May. I believe that the future of The United Methodist Church largely turns on … Continue reading

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UMC: They Owe Us Something

Having just read Thomas Lambrecht’s “Methodism at the Crossroads” article (Good News magazine, January-February 2016), I am moved to make an appeal. Each of the major proposals regarding the future of the UMC with respect to human sexuality appears (at … Continue reading

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UMC: We’re Best in the Open

My advocacy of a an interim period between 2016-2020 has been viewed by some as creating a predilection in a particular direction so as to influence what the Plan for Unity (I mentioned yesterday) would contain.  But that is not … Continue reading

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UMC: Prayerful & Paced Decisiveness

Chris Ritter characterized my position as one calling the UMC to a quadrennium of prayer and deliberate action between 2016-2020.  I stand by that conviction, and the more so when I saw that my friend, Bishop Rueben Job, wrote similarly … Continue reading

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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.  … Continue reading

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