The United Methodist Church just wrapped up the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, FL.
You see, our denomination was starting to fray at the edges — and in some places very near the center.
I found myself disgusted by some of the content I’ve been reading in blogs. I’ve been disappointed in clergy colleagues for their snide, snarky, and, in some cases, wrong and disrespectful treatment of others.
One of our problems is that we mistrust our colleagues, our leaders, and our members. I’ve seen blog after blog, tweet after tweet, each proclaiming the willful, organized opposition to the author’s point of view.
Many of our colleagues believe differently, and are just as passionate for their causes as we are. But we must come to terms in our disagreement. We must learn to utilize a common standard for our scholarship and theological inquiry. More importantly, if we are to take each other seriously, and our respective views just as seriously, we must regain an attitude of mutual respect and agape love.
I have to say I’m past disappointed with the racism, sexism, and gender bias I saw from the very folks who were crying out the loudest for equality to finally gain a foothold in our denomination.
Here’s a hint to some of the more outspoken, often younger, and, sometimes, downright rude members of the clergy family. Don’t assume that every white, straight, over-40 male clergy-person is out to a) keep you from having a voice b) stop you from leading the Church and/or c) avoid hearing your points.
When you do that, you sometimes end up offending some not-so-young clergy who were speaking up for your rights before you knew anyone was doing so.
You forget that all of us will be over forty if we live long enough.
Most of all, you seem to forget that by assuming the worst of a person because of their white skin, masculine gender, and middle-to-advanced age, you are stereotyping. And when you choose to act unjustly and justify it with your own sense of righteousness, you end up embracing that which you detest in others.
- Do we understand how the church works? (umc.org)
- Confessions of a Young Pastor: I Love Women, Bacon, and You! (methoblog.com)
- May 3 wrap: Gay rights protest closes morning session (umc.org)
- Urban Ecclesiology:: Clergy Scarlet Letter: I (methoblog.com)
Author: Joey Reed
Joey is the pastor of Grace UMC in Jackson, Tennessee. He and his wife, Laurinda, have two children, Jack and Becca. There’s also a cat named George living at their house. Their idea of a great day usually involves Happy Hour — at a Sonic Drive-In.