“Time won’t leave me as I am, but time won’t take the boy out of this man”--”City of Blinding Lights”, U2

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Venice UMC – Sheehan Discussion Post Mortem (Part 1)

First of all, let me say, thanks to everyone who read my posts on this subject. In the short life of this blog, I recorded my highest visit total during this time period. During this time I was one of many who appeared on Instapundit’s Hurricane Relif blog-bleg, so I suspect some of the numbers where a micro-Instalanche.

To encourage discussion I tried a new tactic. I checked out every blog that showed up in Wesleyblog’s Methodist bloggers list and created a mailing list from the email addresses that showed up on their blog. I then invited everyone to come in and comment on the issue.

Several folks replied, including one guy who said he wasn't Methodist but had joined Wesley's mother church. But in the end, I got one comment (thanks, Rev. Fife!) and one link to my posts (thanks, John the Methodist (Locusts and Honey!). No link from the Methoblogdaddy, though. Hey Shane! Over here! Look at me! (Maybe if I cut my hair real short and trade my contacts for some metal rimmed glasses and post my picture on my blog so that I look like one of those “Emerging Church” guys, Shane will link to a post of mine, occasionally).

Seriously, though, I hoped this would generate a bigger discussion than this. True, its kind of a pet subject of mine. But I am growing increasingly worried by the mixture of religion and politics in churches today. As our country grows increasingly politically polarized, I’m worried that our pews will become increasingly divided. We just don’t need the extra challenge to unity for temporary political change. (A true revolution in our country, whatever your political persuasion, will come about as hearts and minds are changed, not by the election of political candidates or ratification of political ideas.) Emphatically let me say, United Methodists don’t need the extra challenge to unity. (Consider the bizarre controversy from a few years ago when the Boy Scouts Policy Ban on Homosexual Scout leaders was supported by our United Methodist Men, quite publicly, but opposed by the General Board of Church and Society, quite publicly).

Which is why I hoped for me discussion from the Methoblogosphere. True, many people’s time and attention have been involved in other things (Hurricane Katrina is a once every 50 years kind of storm). Then you have the Lake Junaluska controversy which I didn’t want to blog about. (Heretics in the church! You’re the sodomite ‘cause you like gay people! No, you’re the sodomite because you’re inhospitable!)

Yeah, I think it was provocative for Reconciling Ministries to schedule a meeting (or whatever Dean Snyder says we should call the “Hearts On Fire!” event) in the SEJ and at a United Methodist Conference Center. (After a General Conference where the business meeting was interrupted by a “peaceful protest”, broken chalice, etc., how can you be surprised at the provocation?) I appreciate Dean and read his blog nearly every day (you should too! He's a great guy!). Dean worries about language so let me point out this entry from the Reconciling Ministries Network Blog:

We are evangelical," Preston said, commenting on the hijacking of that word by conservative members of the denomination.
"Hijacking" is a much more inflammatory and pejorative word than the IRD's use of the words "rally" and "jamboree" wouldn't you agree?

I, for one, however, don’t want to open a new front in the war between progressives and conservatives by legislating who should get to use what facility. I said it here and I’ll say it again, for me, the issue isn’t homosexuality but how we can reconcile divergent views about the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in interpreting the Bible. Besides, the only way to really effect change is through changing hearts and minds, not through legislation.

But I digress.

As I reread this entry prior to posting, it sounds so negative, but I don’t mean it to be so. I’m typing most of this with a smile on my face (perhaps because the Tonight Show is on the tube behind me—I love Headlines!). But in my next post, I’ll post my last response to the Rev. Tom Ziegert email as well as a reply to the Rev. Fife’s comment.

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