Friday, November 04, 2005

Defining Moment

"Either you define the moment, or the moment defines you."

I have received emails by the boatload today wondering whether or not I'm ashamed to be United Methodist, based on the ruling of the Judicial Council reinstating a pastor who refused membership to a man because he was gay.

I'm ashamed of that ruling, but I'm not ashamed to be United Methodist, and let me tell you why.

Because the Realm of God coming into being is going to come whether there's a United Methodist Church or not. I believe there is a Divine call for the mission and ministry of the UMC. I also believe the UMC needs reform, because way too much of our energies is trapped in moralistic or self-sustaining interests, and not embodying the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Neither are we taking seriously the "method" of our faith practice as envisioned by John Wesley.

I'm not ashamed to be United Methodist, because I know what God has done and is doing through the Church.

And, because I know that those who love the Church and dream of what it can be, will not

let this "decision" define them..

will rise up and show another way...

will live out the Gospel with more zeal than ever before...

will stand with our sisters and brothers too long excised from the Body, and will welcome them in .

This is not the time to fold up shop.

The reaction to this ruling is a moment of definition. And it defines those of us who find it repulsive as much as those who think it's an answer to prayer.

Do not go quietly into that good night, my friends.

This is the moment to take up the mantle of the Gospel and show what radical, extravagant love looks like.

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