Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Time for a new slogan?

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. This is the current "slogan" of the United Methodist Church. Marketing campaign is more appropriate actually. The six words used seem to convey a spirit of "anything goes," especially the open minds part. Just the opposite is true, but the phrase doesn't really say that.

A more correct version might be something along these lines: Loving Hearts, Thinking Minds, Open Doors. This would give people unfamiliar with Methodism a better grasp of what the current church is all about.
Loving Hearts: Hearts that are willing to embrace you, that shine with the love of God through Jesus.
Thinking Minds: The mental ability to be open to new ideas, yet still able to grasp the truth of scripture.
Open Doors: Welcome! We don't care who you are or where you might be in your faith walk. Our doors are open to you to come in and explore the wonder that is God.

A slogan like this might be a little more in line with the Wesleyan quadrilateral ideas of Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience in looking at things about the church.

Any other ideas anyone? Maranatha.


Friday, January 5, 2007

I've joined the Blogging World

I've oftened wondered about what it would take to create a blog. Well, now that I'm jumping into it with both feet I hope I'll be able to write current, pithy, and (hopefully) upbeat commentary about the world today; both secular and sacred. For those of you that stumble across my "hen scratchings" I welcome your comments and suggestions.

For the first topic on this site: Churches breaking away from their home denominations.

Here in Virginia there have been several Episcopal churches that have voted to leave their current affiliation with the Episcopal Church (USA) over the "left wing" direction the home denomination has taken over the last 30 years. Especially the ordination of gay clergy. There has been a similar battle ongoing since the merger of the Methodist CHurch and the EUB Church in 1968. Every 4 years at General Conference the question is brought to the floor in the manner of a resolution to change the Book of Discipline (the church "law" book) which would relax the prohibition of ordained clergy being gay. And every 4 years the resolution(s) go down to defeat by an average ratio of 2 to 1.

You'd think they'd get tired of being beaten by the majority opinion of the church, but like clockwork bring it back with each Conference. And they continue to be denied again. If this is such a big issue for this minority why don't they simply vote to leave the UMC and create their own denomination? Understand, the UMC doesn't deny the right of gay persons to participate in the local church, the church at the conference level, or any place else except for the clergy. The reason for this is simple, Scripture condemns homosexuality (as it does all sin and bad works) and the church has adopted a traditional interpretation of Scripture. Especially Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and 1 Cor. 6:9. So while we welcome and embrace those who come, we do rebuke the sin in their lives. For it is through the love and sacrifice of Jesus that their spiritual lives are changed and made whole again.

There are several persons in the church where I currently serve who are gay. And those people do serve the ministries of the church. Several hold positions of lay leadership, bringing with them a spirit of cooperation which a model for many of us on how to live with each other. Their service is also an example to the rest of the congregation on what it means to be a follower of Christ. May this spirit of unity be felt throughout the church universal, which would quickly stop all of the "political" wranglings which are bringing schisms within the Body.