Are You Either Or?

“You are either part of the problem or.part of the solution,” goes the cliche.

The only hope for The United Methodist Church is that we insist on being both.

The cacophany of blaming others is deafening. Local churches blame Boards and Agencies. Bishops blame elders. Pastors blame congregations and District Superintendents.

Whatever any task force or outside consultant tells us, we will not change the direction of our denomination until we move from casting blame to accepting it.

I did not begin to actually tithe until 10 years ago. I have looked past people I did not think belonged in my church (they wouldn’t feel at home here, I would rationalize). I have argued and condescended on theological points rather than showing the love of Christ.

If you cannot admit you have been part of the problem, you will not be part of the solution

6 thoughts on “Are You Either Or?

  1. Have you looked a for the Girardian reflections on the lectionary? It has been a life-changing perspective for me (that I frequently fail to live up to). Steve, thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. I know that I often blame and distance in response to what I perceive as a threat. I find some strong connections between Girardian philosophy and family systems, which means that managing myself and my responses can go a long way toward changing a system.

  2. Jesus is a big fan of “Mama Mia”?

    Sorry. I understand the authors to use ABBA rather than Father because our English terms for our heavenly Parent are inadequate to describe the relationship between Jesus and God (Father can be too formal, Daddy too informal; Parent too abstract). The Aramaic helps us to think about the relationship beyond our cultural conceptions of it. I could be wrong and am open to other’s understanding of the term.


  3. God is not our heavenly parent. I actually find that language to be offensive, because it is not only non Biblical, but also non historical. Now, that is not to say God is with gender, God is of course without gender. I have never heard God preached as having gender anywhere, and I find that sometimes we build up a strawman argument about this matter.
    God is always Father, because of His relationship with Jesus who is His Son. Perhaps we lose something in Protestantism by our almost complete aversion to Mary, the Mother of God, or the Theotokus as the Eastern Churches would say. But God is always Father because He is very clearly the Father of Jesus. Jesus is our brother, and we His brothers and sisters. We are adopted into the family of God based on the person and work of Jesus, and so He is our brother in this manner and not in another.
    I especially find meaning in the answer to question 26 of the Heidelberg Catechism which states this about God the Father, “That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ his Son. I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and he will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world. He is able to do this because he is almighty God; he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.’

    To answer the question Steve proposed about being part of the solution and the problem. I agree. I am as much to blame as any individual for the current situation in the UMC. I have been in the UMC since 1976, which is for most of it’s history. So, I take blame and responsibility both for it’s current situation, and now for it’s future. Let us heed the movement and leading of the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to the work that God will do through us IF we are an obedient church.

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