Jeffrey Walton wrote a great article over at the Institute on Religion & Democracy Blog Juicy Ecumenism titled Oliveto, Tisby and Butler Named Progressive Faith Leaders to Watch. I had a few thoughts on this article which I left in the comments on the blog. Walton’s article is a quick read and will give you a better understanding of my thoughts here.
Progressive or Liberal or Both
A key word that I should define for you is “progressive,” which is code word for liberal, as in far left. Before I get to that, let me explain who Karen Oliveto is. She is the first openly gay woman in a same sex marriage to be ordained and appointed as bishop in the United Methodist Church. Oddly enough, church law prohibits Oliveto’s ordination and appointment as bishop, but that didn’t stop liberals from making the appointment anyway, damned be the law. Article ¶ 304.3 of denominations Book of Discipline and church law says
“The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”Article ¶ 304.3
A Bishop in Sheep’s Clothing?
If anything is done in violation of church law (the discipline), then it’s clearly not sanctioned by the church. That’s easily understood until we get to Oliveto’s appointment which is in violation of church law. Liberals believe her appointment to be appropriate, but the reality is it’s inappropriate and violates church law. Simple reasoning tells me she’s not a bishop at all, but she is getting paid as if she was. Oliveto accepting ordination and appointment as bishop is a sin in and of itself, not because she’s gay, but because her appointment violates church law.
False Narratives Free to Everyone
Second, the notion and false narrative being pushed by liberals in the UMC that whites are racists, plays into another false narrative that is “critical race theory.” If you believe everything that is reported in UMC News, why would you be a united Methodist in the first place? Liberals who control UMC News seem to be trying to convince readers that the UMC is the most racists denomination in the US. This is as false narrative that has been harmful to the denomination.
Traditionalists hate Gays, Bambi, small Children and Puppies
Another false narrative pushed by liberals is that traditionalists have been unwelcoming of gays in the church. They use this line to confuse you, because what they leave out is that traditionalist do not believe gays should be ordained in keeping with scripture. I stated this above and it’s backed up by church law. Now I have pretty much committed the Book of Discipline to memory I’ve researched it so often. This narrative has been particularly harmful to young gays in the church who have parents that are traditionalists. These young gays want desperately to be accepted, loved and welcomed, but when the group they think they can trust (the liberals) tell them that traditionalist are against them and hate them, they are left wondering if their traditionalists parents even love them. Suicide among young gays is very high when compared to the general population, and liberals are contributing to those numbers. The 2016 discipline makes it clear the denomination is welcoming of gays.
¶ 214. Eligibility: All people may attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments and become members in any local church in the connection.
All people, means what it says … everyone. Article ¶ 613 of the Discipline says:
The [conference council on finance and administration] shall have authority and responsibility to …. ensure that no annual conference board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or violate the expressed commitment of The UMC “not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends“Article ¶ 613
Did someone move my rock?
Traditionalists are on record as supporting, following, and living out the discipline. Liberal progressives on the other hand have openly touted their disobedience to the discipline (Oliveto is a good example). This leaves me wondering who are you going to trust, a rock or shifting sand.
Racists are winning hide & seek
In all my years in the UMC, I never saw one sign or even a hint of the UMC being unwelcoming of gays, and we had several in our congregation. Additionally, I never saw signs of racism at any congregation I visited. I had the opportunity to preach at an all-black church where I was welcomed as if I were a long-lost relative. It was the highlight of my time in the saddle as a circuit rider. The UMC congregation I was (past tense) a member of was all white with the exception of the nursery attendant whom every member of the congregation treated as if she was the oldest most loved member of the church. As an active member of Emmaus, I have visited more churches than I can count, and I have yet to find the white racists, liberals at UMC News think permeate the UMC. If all these racists do exist, then I suspect they were the kids that always won at hide and seek.
Break out the scribes
The bottom line for me is that if you think the most read, most printed and most purchased book in the world needs to be rewritten to fit a modern narrative, then possibly you’re the problem, not the book. If you are not a fan of the Holy Bible, then write your own, but please give it a new name (I suggest you name it the Book of Blasphemia). Liberals push another false narrative that Jesus changes everything in the Gospel. What liberals don’t say is that they have omitted the part of the Bible where Jesus said he didn’t “come to change the law, but to fulfill it.” If you prefer a wide path and wider gate, then how could you possibly be walking with Jesus Christ. I have found the narrow path and narrow gate keep me closer to Jesus as we walk together.