Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth?... Or Kansas City?

I have been present for most of the plenary sessions and a few of the legislative ones (I am a first reserve delegate). I have also tried to keep myself abreast of all the Facebook and Twitter feeds. I must say... there is a lot of hostility and fear out there.

Adam Hamilton got up and spoke eloquently and pointedly about the state of our denomination and current trends. While actuaries are hard to argue with, some of us can still place our heads in the sand and argue semantics, stances, and make horrible generalizations about those we don't really know that well. Adam got hammered tonight by many - and in the end, I was very sad. I don't think Adam is Jesus (and I don't think Adam thinks he is, either). But because he is a "megachurch pastor", some seem to equate that with being the anti-Christ.

Is this how we speak of fellow Christians? Fellow Methodists? Whatever happened to, "Whoever is not against us is for us?" Whether you agree with him or not... he poured his heart out. Those that disagree could simply say, "I disagree." But much of what I witnessed and read on Twitter feeds and Facebook postings were less than civil. They certainly were not our best.

So I pray that we might be tolerant - even with those whom we do not agree. I do not think God is pleased with our snide remarks and snarky posts. Is this our best for the Lord? Have we become those in the Temple that Jesus had to drive out?

Almighty God,
Forgive us when we can't agree to disagree agreeably.
Forgive us our pride and our arrogant presumption.
When we want to label the other side "bad", remind us that
the log in our own eye blinds us to our own iniquities.
Help us to see our brothers and sisters as blood kin,
related by the blood of Jesus.
Before we cast our votes and opinions, help us to weigh them
by your love, wisdom, and grace,
and by doing so we may know what is right and faithful.
We pray in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.



i liked what i saw happening at CoR when i was there some years back. and i find Adam to be a fine teaching pastor.

my beef with mega-church, is that it seems to flow away from the organic & radical DNA of the methodist movement which i bought into at confirmation.

i also believe in the Rule of St. Benedict which is pretty clear on the need to be smaller in order to be community.
Bill said…
Challenging question, "Are we the ones...?" Respect for differing views is essential to spiritual discernment. Like you quoted in the previous post, "perfect love casts out all fear."
John Meunier said…
Sky, thank you for this. My experience is that Rev. Hamilton acts out of sincere belief for what is right and proper. He is a salesman at his heart (as he writes himself in one of his books) and he used those skills very well.

He made the case for something he believed in. I do not understand why anyone would call that manipulative. The people who disagree with him do the same thing: Make the best argument they can for why their ideas are better. They would never call themselves manipulative.

I find the personal attacks beneath the high calling of Christianity. I hope we do better than this as the GC goes forward.
Sky McCracken said…
I screwed up, and hit 'delete' instead of 'publish' on moderating comments. I'm posting them individually. My bad!!
Sky McCracken said…

I have often said that General Conference is the opportunity for we UMC's to look like idiots and in-fighters every four years. Rather than disagree with civility and respect we demonize anyone who does not line up with our agendas. This is another example of people who are scared or who disagree utilizing sarcasm and cynicism instead of discernment.

If the question is "are we yet alive?" The answer may well be, "we are but we are doing our best to make sure we aren't for long." Let us "do good; do no harm; and stay in love with God!"

Sky McCracken said…

There was a plenty to disagree with last night, and overall, I think the tone wasn't terrible. Twitter's not the best place for discussion anyway. Wouldn't it have been great to do organized viewings like they did for CTA in the first place?

I also think there were some mistakes made in terms of presentation and communication, and there were many people who seemed to believe that the Christian thing to do was to not criticize the plan, or the presentation.
Sky McCracken said…

Thank you for this!
Sky McCracken said…

I didn't hear Adam's comments to GC. However, I have heard him in person 3 times and had a couple of conversations with him as well.

I am sorry there was negative feedback but I am not surprised. Change, truth and reality bring about well....fear in some. I submit that Adam brings hope. I'm sure the changes won't all work or be positive. I am also sure it will be a step in the right direction. Individual agendas need to be set aside.