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I’m not the best person at parsing through details. Right now I’m in the thick of a new school year in a campus ministry building that is still a disaster after a summer flood and I’m hiring dozens of new student workers, so my mind is swirling with all that. I have noticed a lot of commentary about two proposals for what needs to happen in United Methodism’s future: a UMC Next proposal that is being championed by centrists and some progressives and an Indianapolis proposal that is being championed by traditionalists.
Both claim to have contributions from multiple perspectives. Both seem to lack much input from either LGBTQ people or Methodists from the Global South. Rather than misinterpret or misrepresent either plan, which I’m sure I would do if I tried to critique them, I prefer to state what I think is the essential starting place for negotiating the terms of our Methodist divorce.
Campus - Minister - Lot - System - Basically
Let me say first that as a campus minister, I have a whole lot to lose when the connectional system goes down. Basically, I will lose a little more than $50,000 a year of funding, which may mean that our ministry is just done unless I can get local church members to step up a lot. But whether it’s rational or not, what I’m worried about more than my loss of income is that Methodism will continue to strangle itself with the inertia of institutional preservation and a predictable dysfunctional family system.
We’re caught up in a dance in which the views of US progressives, US conservatives, and Global South Methodists lock us in a torturous self-perpetuating entanglement. It seems like US progressives (or maybe actually centrists) want to preserve as much of the global institution as possible and to invite those who don’t support what has never...
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