Finding Hope in the Middle Way

by Jacki Bogolia

middlewayThe world-wide United Methodist Church (UMC) meets every four years for a General Conference to discuss matters that are important to the denomination and our communities.  This year General Conference (GC2016) was held in Portland, Oregon.  Many issues were lifted in prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Proposals were made, discussed and debated. Votes were cast. Legislation was passed.

One topic that garnered much attention – and is viewed from many different perspectives – is legislation about LGBTQ persons being allowed (or excluded from) full participation as clergy and in leadership roles in the UMC.  Near the end of GC2016 the Council of Bishops proposed that a special commission be formed to analyze and review every reference to homosexuality in The Discipline.  The Discipline is the official “rule book” of the UMC.

Questions being asked include, can the UMC remain united as one Church?  Or, are our views so opposed that the denomination must split into separate organizations?  This is a very serious matter.

Watch and listen to Rev. Adam Hamilton’s remarks about Biblical interpretation, disagreement within the UMC, and finding “the middle way”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HjsHqeLghs

Learn more about the proposal from the Council of Bishops to appoint a special commission to examine references to homosexuality in The Discipline:  http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/bishops-ask-for-hold-on-sexuality-debate
Christianity is a faith tradition based on resurrection hope and salvation; new life, forgiveness, a clean slate, and a new way of living and being in community. Through prayer, fasting, sacraments, Christian conversation, and studying scripture, United Methodists try to discern God’s will and live God’s Way.

Is there Resurrection Hope buried deep within all the arguments and debate? I believe there is. What is God’s Way through this legislative tangle? We don’t know. Yet.

Loving God first and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is always a good place to start.

Let us pray for help loving and listening to the other perspective as much or more than we expect
“the other” to listen to our views. Can we do that?

We can try. And trying is doing. Perhaps by seeking the Middle Way we will come closer to discerning God’s Way.

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