The Truth Shall Set Us FreeTuesday, May 8th, 2012 9:00 am
If we as United Methodists are serious about "Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World," we must prayerfully and with courage (and without condemnation of each other). We must acknowledge that in 2012 we have seen the "coming together of our (negative) bones" Ezekiel 37:7.
There is a correlation, some might say a symmetry, in the Biblical interpretation, understandings of Jesus, mission and ministry, equality, and justice that have initiated, supported and sustained the attitudes and actions that have led some Methodists to support divisive issues of our past. Issues around Colonialism, Slavery, Second Class Status for Women, Racial Segregation, the creation of the Central Jurisdiction, Prohibitions against the ordination of women, reluctance to merge the racially segregated Central Jurisdiction with the geographical Jurisdictions, and now since 1972;
"The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."
"Our Chickens have come home to roost."
We have fooled ourselves into believing that there is no relationship between what we now admit, were narrow, shallow, unfair and unfaithful expressions of Biblical interpretation in the past to the present.
But, today there ought be without a doubt, a recognition that what Methodists once did to people of African descent and to women, United Methodists in 2012, are doing to same gender, lovingly committed persons.
George Santayana might have been speaking of Methodists and United Methodists when he wrote: "They who do not remember their past, are likely to re-live it in the present." (paraphrase)
It is truth and truth alone, that will make The United Methodist Church free. Many of us continue to pray for a "United Methodist Pentecost." We believe it is possible, if we develop the will. All around us and among us, "The storms of life are raging." But the God that Charles Tindley knew so well, will "Stand beside us," if we ask.
Gilbert H. Caldwell
Retired United Methodist Elder
Asbury Park, New Jersey