Posts Tagged ‘contradiction’

Press Release: MFSA Board Responds to Council of Bishops’ Statement

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In Response to Bishops’ Statement Regarding Bishop Melvin Talbert: This Causes Spiritual Carnage

ATLANTA – October 25, 2013 – The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) applauds Bishop Melvin Talbert in providing pastoral care in blessing the loving relationship of Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince, two children of God, and acknowledging the love of Christ present in their marriage. We are deeply disappointed by the statement from the executive committee of the Council of Bishops which refuses to acknowledge God's presence, beautifully expressed in the joyous experience of two people finding love and inviting their faith community into that celebration.

In their statement, our Episcopal leaders reference their charge to "promote the temporal and spiritual interests of the entire Church," but send the message that certain people are incompatible with Christian teaching and reduces the celebration of their love to a chargeable offense which injures our LGBT fellow members. This causes spiritual carnage. Such actions damage relationships with God and turn God's children away from the Church.  Further, the discrimination inherent in The UMC's policies relating to LGBT persons is then used to provide cover for hate.  The expression of this hate leads to broken relationships with family and with God, to broken lives, and too often even to broken bodies. In clinging to our current policies, The UMC turns the Book of Discipline into a weapon of harm and is complicit in this violence.

As a result, we find the executive committee's actions a contradiction to their professed commitment "to live in loving and respectful relationships with one another and with all United Methodists and all people of faith.”

Therefore, the Methodist Federation for Social Action invites and encourages all United Methodists to join with us in celebrating the love of Joe and Bobby and the prophetic leadership of Bishop Melvin Talbert. We call on the Council of Bishops to fully embrace their charge to care for and promote the spiritual interests of the whole Church with hearts and arms wide open.

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Since 1907, the Methodist Federation for Social Action has worked to mobilize, lead, and sustain a progressive movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace, and reconciliation. As an independent, faith-based organization, MFSA leads both Church and society on issues of peace, poverty, people’s rights, progressive issues, and justice within The United Methodist Church.

The Time is Still Now: the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

There Will Never Be Anything Like The 1963 March on Washington, Again!

I have been "Thinking Out Loud" about why this 50th anniversary time of the March on Washington is so important for me and, I believe, for all of us. One reason: I realize at my age there will never be another time for me when there is such a convergence and acknowledgment of the Black racial journey and its relationship to many of  the tribulations and triumphs of the USA.  We have a way of "paying attention" to significant chronological anniversaries. There will never be another 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which did so much to transform the practice, culture and history of us all. And as well, there will never be another 50th anniversary of what Chris Matthews of MSNBC says was the second most important speech in the nation's history: Martin Luther King's, "I Have A Dream", speech. (I believe Matthews said Abraham Lincoln's 2nd inaugural speech was the first).

Another reason; The role of religion, faith, spirituality (all, or your choice) in the re-shaping and transformation of life in the USA was made manifest by the March on Washington; it is and will be deeply rooted in history. Religion and the texts of religion have been responsible too many times, "used" to exclude rather than include, render some immoral by those who who have not acknowledged their own immorality, and both maintain and sustain the inequities and inequalities of the status quo. In that "Great getting up morning" (The Spiritual), regardless of how your faith views life/existence beyond this life/existence, religion, and we who claim to be as followers of a faith, in some way will be challenged to respond to the question; "Why have I/we worshiped our Holy Script more than worshiping the God who inspired that Script?" And, for those of us who have followed Jesus, we must answer, "Why have I/we used him to justify our prejudices, rather than allowing his life, mission, and ministry to liberate us from them?"

The 1963 March on Washington was like a Holy Pilgrimage, where people of a diversity of faiths and no faith persuasions gathered to celebrate each other, the potential that was ours, and to "Dream" with Martin Luther King about that — that which was not yet, but could be if we had the will and courage to make it, "For Real". The 1963 March on Washington was one of the most significant Interfaith gatherings the nation and world have ever known. What has taken place since then validates its significance.

A final reason: the USA has been able to live and lead the world in believing that we are "much better than the rest of the world". We deplore the current violence in the middle east, while forgetting the violence and the deaths that were the result of our Civil War. Some demean Islam because Muslims are fighting Muslims in the middle east. Were not Christians fighting Christians in the Civil War? We are a nation of contradictions. Martin Luther King at the March on Washington, and the Civil Rights Movement in so many ways, helped the USA acknowledge the gap between our national creeds and our national deeds.

The March on Washington "set the table" as it made visible for the nation to see what the banquet table of the USA ought look like and be. It is time for all of us to sit at that Banquet Table.

"We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right"
                                                            –
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now."
                                             -
James Baldwin

(Quotations are from African American Quotations, Richard Newman, Editor, 2000)

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Rev. Gild CaldwellRev. Gill Caldwell is retired United Methodist clergy living in Asbury Park, NJ. He is former Associate General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race and one of the founders of Black Methodists for Church Renewal.  As a long-time MFSA supporter, Gil's ministry of writing challenges the United Methodist Church to be the best it can be.

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