Dissident Group Promises ‘Disruption’

Fred Brewington speaks on the issue of inclusiveness in The United Methodist Church. A UMNS photo by Kathleen S. Barry.

Fred Brewington speaks on the issue of inclusiveness in The United Methodist Church. A UMNS photo by Kathleen S. Barry.

Acknowledging that “usual approaches … have failed to end the discrimination that is destroying our church,” the group “Love Prevails” has announced a new campaign to secure “the complete removal of all discriminatory language against LGBT people in The Book of Discipline.” In a flier distributed at the Council of Bishops meeting at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, advocates charged that “for longer than the Israelites wandered in the wilderness the United Methodist Church has systematically and categorically denied the full humanity of LGBT people.”

Love Prevails is a program ministry of Kairos CoMotion that was founded out of the support team for the Rev. Amy DeLong at her June 2011 trial in Wisconsin for performing a same-sex union and being a self-avowed practicing homosexual. Love Prevails is the same group that organized and prosecuted the demonstration on the floor of General Conference 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

Love Prevails is proposing a three-part strategy “to abolish the policies of discrimination against LGBT people.” The strategy is to disclose(t), divest, and disrupt.

Disclose(t). The group promises to “speak out publicly about our lives, our families, our friends, and our ministries” and “claim equality for ourselves and our LGBT brothers and sisters.” They also plan to “no longer self-censor” when they conduct same-gender unions and weddings. They will thereby increase their public advocacy and disclosure of acts of disobedience, as well as continuing to forcefully lobby for a change in the church’s teaching on homosexuality.

Divest. In a break with tradition, Love Prevails pledges to “redirect our time and treasure to efforts aimed at ending discrimination against LGBT people,” forsaking their “loyalty to the institution.” In supporting the church with prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, they believe they are “complicit with policies and practices [they] believe to be both un-Christian and unconscionable.” Thus, they plan to withhold apportionments from parts of the church they deem to be discriminatory.

Disrupt. The final prong of the Love Prevails strategy is to “protest and disrupt local, national, and global events” and “undermine all policies that limit or deny the full participation of LGBT united Methodists in the life of the church.” “The time for polite persuasion has passed,” they believe. They plan to “stand in the way of business as usual,” including a pledge to disrupt the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.

The Connectional Table (CT) this week felt the first application of this strategy of disruption. As the CT began its meeting, members of Love Prevails sang and spoke over those who were leading the meeting. Love Prevails would not allow the meeting to continue until the CT had changed its agenda to create time for discussion on the issue of LGBTQ inclusion. (It is difficult to see how one could call what took place at the CT meeting “Christian conferencing.”)

Bishop Bruce Ough, CT chairperson, is quoted as saying, “There are many places where we have not created the settings where we can listen deeply and profoundly enough” and get a “sense of what God is calling us to do.”

With all due respect, we have had many years of studies, conversations, dialogs, and times of holy conferencing. All of this discussion has bent over backwards to include GLBTQ persons and even at times been rather one-sided in presenting a more permissive viewpoint (such as at the recent CT meeting). Despite all the discussions and dialogs, The United Methodist Church has remained consistently opposed to condoning homosexual behavior.

However, those promoting the acceptance of homosexual practice will not accept the outcome of decades of holy conferencing. In their minds, they have the only right answer, and they are going to keep pushing, by force if necessary, until the church agrees to their demands. Friends, it is not that we haven’t talked about this issue enough; it is that some people don’t like how the conversation came out.

If it were evangelicals who were advocating the withholding of apportionments and disrupting meetings to try to force our viewpoint on the church, we would be roundly (and rightly) condemned by the church. However, because many of our church’s leaders favor the LGBTQ cause, they are not speaking out against the bullying tactics being employed by groups like Love Prevails. There is a difference between convincing people and intimidating people by force to attempt to change their minds. As long as our church leaders allow this coercion to continue, our church will be held hostage to an ideological agenda that is a distortion of the Gospel.

One mourns the loss of church time and resources because some people are unable to live within our United Methodist covenant. They should have the freedom to practice ministry however they feel led — outside The United Methodist Church. However, they do not have the right to force their opinions on the rest of a global church, simply because they disagree with Scripture and 2,000 years of Christian teaching. For all our sakes, it is time for our church’s leaders to stand up with clarity and firmness to prevent our church from being hijacked by an intolerant and divisive ideology.

Comments

  1. Karl Baumgardner says:

    Amen!

  2. David Trawick says:

    I’ve engaged in many of those conversations, and when I talked about Scriptural teaching and its interpretation I too often got name-calling, broad generalizations and angry slurs in response. At a certain point, it’s time to stop talking, shake the dust from your feet, and move on.

    I’ve long prayed they would be convinced and convicted by Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Now I pray they would just leave the UMC and migrate to other mainline denominations that have gone down their preferred path, so the rest of us could stop having to deal with this distraction and give our full attention to bringing the love of Christ to a lost and dying world through word and deed.

    The Enemy has found a way to drain energy and attention and slow the advance of the Kingdom. I find my hope in knowing Jesus wins in the end!

  3. George Stadler says:

    Amen! The church is not holding them hostage, it is time for them to honorably give up their credentials and practice their ministry in a church that approves of their misinterpretations. Either you accept the doctrines and belief of the church or you don’t. If you don’t, you are welcome to leave without pregidence.

  4. I think the Good News movement is overly focused on sex. Surely there are more pressing matters that they can disagree over.

    I think their interpretation of scripture, and their use of it to support denying love to those LGBT people, is wrong. It does not fit with what Jesus taught us.

    • Sue, I love the idea that the Good News movement is overly focused on sex. I can turn on my TV, radio, and news media sources and get inundated with sex and sexual references from every sector of society. Then those voices (which are roundly criticized and marginalized) that say “hey, there might need to be some healthy boundaries on our sexual behavior start speaking up, and they get called “overly focused on sex.” Whatever. You have no further to look than our society where my eight-year-old comes home asking us what sex is to see that we have gone down some unhealthy paths. I would like to talk a LOT less about sex. But since it is part of the Imago Dei in us, and I see society going down very unhealthy roads, I have not choice but to speak up.

      Jesus would teach us to love homosexuals. Absolutely. But love does not condone sin!

    • Ms. Ogden, you obviously must be focused on sex too much as well or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Lambrecht is simply contending for the “faith once delivered to the saints” (cf. Jude 1:3). My question is, where does Jesus teach us that homosexual practice is a part of God’s creative purpose for humanity? But I do recall him saying, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19-20). In case you miss the point, Jesus upholds the moral Law found in the Old Testament. The clear teaching in the OT is that homosexuality is not a part of God’s creative purpose. So it is clear that Jesus upheld the moral Law found in the OT. The church has followed suit for 2,000 years. The Apostle Paul foresaw our current situation in the church when he wrote, “For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas” (II Timothy 4:3-4).

  5. Dorothy shepherd says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed.

  6. It is time for the LGBT community to go and step into its promised land. The waters of the Jordan have parted and the UCC, Episcopal Church, and the ELCA are all hiring!

  7. Tom, the irony of your last statement speaks for itself.

  8. Simple solution to the disruption of meetings. Have them arrested and press charges, both in the church and outside of it.

  9. The church, for 40 years, has done far much more than necessary to accomodate this movement. And, by reaching out and bending over backwards, General Church has ended up with a disproportionment number of supporters and advocates of this. Consequently, the agenda persued by our boards and agencies are too progressive, left leaning at times are ignored, resisted, feared, or not taken seriously by many conferences and churches. Trust has taken a major hit. In fact, there is virtually no trust across the denomination. Everything is filtered. My church NEVER mentions anything coming out of General Church with the exception of UMCOR occassionally.

    It is obvious now that these people could care less about the UMC. All their rhetoric about love and inclusiveness is nothing but a disguise for their self centered, totally selfish , one sided agenda. In fact, it is now approaching the appearances of mass insanity.

  10. .Maurice Haynes says:

    We all must live by the organization we belong to. Obey the rule or get out.

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