“So, let us not talk falsely now for the hour is getting late.” That line was written by Bob Dylan in the late 60’s. But it is apropos for The United Methodist Church in 2014. The hour is getting late. And it’s time to speak the truth.
The truth is we may not be able to live together as one church. The truth is if our bishops do not act swiftly and decisively to uphold our process of holy conferencing and enforce our Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church will be lost. God’s church will continue and the Gospel will go forth, but we will have squandered the beauty and the power of Wesleyan Christianity as embodied by the UM Church.
Knowing that they will not be able to change our official UM positions regarding human sexuality and marriage at the next General Conference, progressives have begun a campaign of disobedience and are now publicly performing services of holy union for homosexual couples. How our bishops respond will determine if this defiance is the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end.
How might our bishops respond and what will be the result of their actions?
They might choose to do little or nothing. This has been the course of action chosen by the majority of our bishops. Some who are left of center, many who see themselves as centrists and most of those who are conservative have refused to make public statements or take decisive action regarding the most divisive issue the church is facing. Wanting to appear as statesmen/women, they tell us that the church should major on the majors and focus its energies on making disciples for Jesus Christ. Agreed. And the crew of a ship should focus on keeping its engines running well and making certain that it’s on course. But when a vessel begins to take on water, at some point the leaks must be repaired or the ship will eventually find itself submerged at the bottom of the ocean.