The UMC Must Change

The United Methodist Church, must, I believe, acknowledge the multiplicity of challenges facing the USA and the world.  While we as United Methodists fiddle with our long history of focusing on only one concern that we claim is "incompatible with Christian teaching," our country and the world burn with issues of human survival.  [Editor's Note:  We think the prohibition against cooking a lamb in the milk from its own mother should be at the forefront of everyone "sin list."  It's in Deuteronomy three times.  Yes, we know someone that counted.]

National and worldwide poverty with the powerlessness it creates is breaking the world apart.  Terrorism, limited healthcare, greed, political polarization, gun violence, the trafficking of girls and women, drugs, racism, sexism, income and economic imbalance, joblessness, and other problems are issues and concerns that cry for the attention of The United Methodist Church.

We as the Church in response to same gender loving persons appear to be, "The Republican Party at Prayer."  There have been times when I registered and was active as a Republican; in Massachusetts in relation to the candidacy of Senator Ed Brooke, and in Chester, Pennsylvania, when I sought to be a Frederick Douglass-like Republican.  I am saddened today in a nation that needs so seriously the best of Democratic and Republican Party ideals, which the Republican Party seems to want to return to "old occasions" rather than the new occasions presented by the 21st century.  It appears some in the UMC wants us to do so as well!

A relative of mine invited me to attend a meeting of the Ethical Culture Society, and I did as one who believes we who are Christians must "hear" what those  who are not, are saying.  This is what I heard; "The reasons for the disenchantment with  religion, especially among the young, are several.  Perhaps the most compelling is a negative reaction against the power, rhetoric, and bombast of politicized fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity."

I consider myself an evangelical Christian.  I seek to be a follower of Jesus and be informed and shaped by what God has done and is doing in Jesus, my Christ.  The rhetoric, bombast, and power display since 1972 of those who have held the UMC hostage with their anti-gay language and legislation have made so many young people disenchanted with The United Methodist Church.

May those in the future that write the history of 21st century United Methodism be able to say that the Commission on a Way Forward in its language and legislation made The UMC a church for the 21st century, rather than seeking to keep alive the distorted,
dishonest, Bible-based bigotry of other centuries.

I, as an 82 year old African American United Methodist clergyman, have yet to observe that my denomination in its language and legislation has said, "The practice of anti-black racism is incompatible with Christian teaching" with the consistent fervor that we have seen with "the practice of homosexuality."  I believe there are many United Methodist African Americans and United Methodists
in Africa who wonder, why?

All Lives Matter, United Methodist Church!  I hope and pray that the Commission on a Way Forward will bring much needed change.

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