If you are reading this, it might be because you are looking to learn more about our church before you come visit. Or you might be a regular reader of our updates because you find our pastor an amazing writer. Maybe you’re here because the United Methodist Church is in the news again, as we are just finishing our General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
Not to sound anti-media, but good news is not usually the first thing that the media likes to report on. What attracts the most interest these days is irony. So, while a lot of good news was celebrated in Portland, what drew the most attention was the disharmony among people who all claim to believe the same things.
For United Methodists, most of the disharmony revolves around matters of human sexuality, and the General Conference has moved to let our Council of Bishops take a broad and deep look at the issue, with the hope of bringing the United Methodist Church to a just resolution that allows us all to move forward in the task of sharing Jesus Christ with the world.
I know this lack of resolution is painful to many, and puzzling to others, who can’t understand why we haven’t just decided already (one way or another) like many other denominations. But just as every family resolves its issues in its own way, the United Methodist family is resolving it in its own. So if you aren’t a United Methodist, why not learn a little more about us before being too critical of the puzzling (even to ourselves, sometimes) way we work to resolve disagreements. And if you are a United Methodist, pray for our bishops as they begin work on this commission, and trust that, though we might not be where we want to be, we are where we need to be.
People who know me, know that the story of Jacob wrestling with God is one of my favorite metaphors for the church. Like Jacob before us, the United Methodist Church continues to wrestle with God and Humanity, and I believe like Jacob before us, we will ultimately receive God’s blessing, even if it comes with a dislocated hip.
And in the meantime, won’t you join us in serving God and serving the Oxford community?