If I were a United Methodist I too would be seething about these decisions. But I am a member of a denomination that won't even address the issue. So who am I to complain about these religious cousins?
What if the heirs of the Wesleys' hadn't even considered the matter because they had decided that their Conference should not even hold votes on controversial issue? So they would meet every four years to hear sermons and receive reports. Ah, but their members would be forever free of having to take a position on the war, civil rights, torture, economic justice, women's rights, justice for farm workers, on and on and on. How peaceful! How deadly!!
In recent months various voices within the Christian Church (DOC) have started pushing to have "Sense of the Assembly" resolutions off the agenda. Opponents suggest that such resolutions are too divisive to be considered, because they may further rupture the already fragile state of the denomination. The grumbling began when a large congregation in Oklahoma raised the issue before the denomination's General Board. At this point the leadership of the Disciples has the matter under discussion. While no decision has been made, there is more than a straw in the wind to tell us this is the way much of the movers and shapers are thinking of going.
The focus of the Oklahoma church's anger is a resolution adopted in last summer's General Assembly titled, The church's response to the war in Iraq. I was at the Assembly and was part of the debate, and frankly, the meeting being held in Fort Worth, Texas, I was mildly surprised that it was adopted--by what seemed to be approaching a two-thirds margin. The resolution was a clear statement opposing the war as being contrary to Jesus' clear perspective on violence, as well as including a handful of other reasons, most of which came from a clear theological imperative.
According to a letter I received from one of the congregation's elders, among the reasons for objecting to the Assembly even considering such resolutions were:
- The resolution was made up of assumptions that may or may not be true.
- It would comfort those who wish to continue to kill our troops.
- And finally, it was seen as a "liberal political statement."
Had the resolution failed, while those who supported it would have been deeply disappointed, nobody would have suggested that therefore we no longer take a position on such things.
DPF (Disciples Peace Fellowship), GLAD Alliance (Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples) and DJAN (Disciples Justice Action Network). While I doubt if these groups would officially boycotte assemblies, many of us would just not find it important to attend, and the economic investment by these groups would be substantially paired down.
But that's just my opinion. What's yours?
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