Around The Movement - 8.16.19
I love miracles.
I especially love the miracles of the Bible and the way they point to the power of God. The bigger they are, the more I’m drawn to them; from burning bushes and flooding rains to healing of the infirm and water into wine. But when asked which is my favorite the answer is simple: Moses parting the Red Sea – pretty much just like the iconic scene in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film, “The Ten Commandments.”
You know the scene. The enslaved Hebrews are on the run from Pharaoh when they find themselves stuck between the Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. Moses, played by Charlton Heston, raises his hands to God and the waters roll back to allow the safe passage of God’s people. (To be fair, I’m likely partial to this because I have in fact kissed those lips that parted the Red Sea – but that’s another story for another day.) While most would acknowledge that’s a pretty good miracle as far as miracles go, that’s not the only time God parted the waters. In fact, there are five water-parting moments in the Bible: Genesis 1, Exodus 14, Joshua 3, and twice in 2 Kings 2.
Have you wondered how you would respond if you were actually a part of one of those miracles? I’m pretty sure my reaction would be somewhere between gob-struck and terrified, with a bit of pure amazement mixed in. But I hope that I would be able to compose myself long enough to live into the moment and see what comes next. No matter the miracle, there’s always an “and then” moment where the greater purpose of the miracle is revealed. It’s those “and then” moments that kind of bring home the miracle as one of God’s amazing acts.
I believe that we in the UMC are in the midst of a miracle moment of sorts and have been for several years. More importantly, the issue of LGBTQIA+ inclusion has brought us to what I’m calling our very own God-led and God-inspired “water-parting” moment. I thought it may have been in February in St. Louis, but it appears that moment was just an introduction. Now it seems that things are pointing towards GC 2020 in Minneapolis.
There have been, and are still, signs of these leading-in moments occurring all around us. Several of the US Annual Conferences found their voice in ways that many never imagined. Just this week, the committee investigating voting practices at the Special Session found evidence of improper voting practices, and have referred their findings to the Judicial Council to rule on the legitimacy of the Gracious Exit Plan. At the same time, there are diverse groups of Methodists across our denomination diligently engaging in dialogue to craft plans for the future of the United Methodist Church. Each of these actions are bringing us closer to a water-parting moment.
My hope is that each of us will be faithful participants to these moments in our denomination. Notice I said participants and not witnesses. When these moments come, it’s tempting to be “gob-struck” witnesses who are paralyzed by our fears and awe to the point that we don’t step out in faith to see the “and then” moment.
And when the waters are parted, and I truly believe that moment is coming, they will not be parted simply for our amazement; they will be parted to enable us to step into the church God has called us to be.
How about it - are you ready to walk onto some truly holy ground?
In the links below, you’ll find a host of updates and news stories from around the movement, as well as next steps for the days ahead
Weekly Blog Roundup
The Trial of Anna Blaedel
Anna Blaedel’s Case Will Go To Trial - from UMNS
Anna’s Reflection on the Referral to Trial - from Enfleshed
A Call for a Moratorium on Charges - from UMCNext
Hoosiers Support Iowa Pastor Facing Trial - from UM Insight
Statement on the Hearing and Trial of Rev. Anna Blaedel - from Reconciling Ministries
Mainstream UMC’s Grassroots Survey Results
UM Scholar’s Post-Way Forward Gathering
Full Session Playlist - from Lovers Lane UMC
Editor’s Note: There are more than 20 total sessions here. We’ll highlight three of them but I’d highly encourage you to dig into what all is available.
Implications and Consequences of the Process and Results of the Delegate Counts for the 2020 General Conference - Rev. Anne Burkholder, Florida
Am I My Sibling’s Keeper? A Practical Guide to Preserving LGBTQIA+ Life - Rev. Sam Persons Parkes, Alabama-West Florida
Methodism’s History of Rejection of General Conference Actions - Rev. Lovett Weems, Missouri
General News and Analysis
Group Drafts Separation Plan for Denomination (Indianapolis Plan) - from UM Insight
2019 Update: Lack of Membership Audits Question General Conference Representation - from Hacking Christianity
Europeans Give More to Central Conferences than the WCA - from David Scott
The Third Temptation - from Rev. Steve Harper
Hundreds of Alabama Methodists Offer Apology - from LGBTQ Nation
African American Clergyman Critiques Asbury President’s Letter - from UM Insight
Wespath Using Financial Clout for Climate Change - from UMNS
A Call to Discipleship: Living as Disciples of a Non-Violent Lord in Violent Times - from Bishop Ken Carter
A Call by NAFAUM Leaders to Speak Out Against Racist Violence and White Supremacy - from the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists
Regarding Violent Attacks in Texas and Ohio - from Black Methodists for Church Renewal
God Weeps at Congress’s Inaction - from the General Board of Church and Society
If you don’t have one already, order a UMCNextFL T-Shirt
Consider supporting Rev. Anna Blaedel financially
Work through the United Methodist Social Principles
Keep writing and posting articles in our Facebook Group - they may end up here!
Think about one of these 20 Ways to Practice Active Resistance and Intentional Welcoming
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
- The UMCNextFL Team