The United Methodist Church, according to some, is a denomination with a clouded future. The recently concluded 2019 General Conference did very little to ease the tension and anxiety within our family. Folks on all sides of the theological spectrum are wondering what the future holds for the people called “United Methodist.” One thing is certain, we are clearly not united around issues of ministry as it relates to our LGBTQIA sisters and brothers.
When you're feeling stressed, it's common to "carry stress in your body" in the form of tense shoulders, a stomach "in knots," through shallow breathing, or in other ways. When people carry stress in their bodies, they're often not even aware of it! When we're really stressed, we may be feeling physical discomfort but not connect it with our emotions. A body scan meditation is a practice that can be performed daily or even several times a day and can help you learn to identify what you are feeling and where you're feeling it, and learn to release the stress in your body and mind. The body scan meditation is effective in relieving stress not only because of the mind-clearing aspects present in all forms of meditation but because of the physical component as well. Research shows that there are physical and psychological benefits to relaxing the body and relieving tension. Relieving physical tension, for example, has been shown to lead to a decrease in psychological stress, even when no psychologically-based stress relief efforts are made. Tension relieved in the body can lead to lower stress levels and lower reactivity to future stress, which can, in turn, lead to less physical tension as a result of stress.
I love my son and he’s gay. I don’t love him because he’s gay and I don’t love him despite his being gay. I love him because he’s my son. Being gay is not all that he is, and he didn’t choose to be gay. Being gay is an integral part of who he is however, and I love all that he is, so I love his gayness as much as I love his irritating sense of humor that he got from me.
Being a Process Oriented or Outcome Oriented person doesn’t make one type better than another type -- it means there are two ways to be oriented to challenges and BOTH are important because both bring different gifts to the table. Are you an Outcome or a Process person? The Process is the way we go about getting to the outcome. In sports terms I would say: “It’s not about who wins the game, it is about how the game is played.” Some say, “the joy is in the journey, not the destination” and others may talk about “the end justifying the means.”
Her smile was infectious, and her laugh was contagious. Everywhere she went there was an outbreak of joy, compassion, and concern that was openly shared with others. She was the “real deal” and she not only talked about her faith, she lived out her faith on a daily basis.
I sit here in mourning and confusion for my church. I don’t know what is happening in our future. The plan we passed still awaits a declaratory decision from the Judicial council. Many reconciling and LGBTQ+ persons and churches have shared that they may be leaving or at least continuing to work in ways that would go against the plan which was passed. We have to move forward, but many of us simply don’t know how.
A majority of our 874 voting delegates have decided that Our Way Forward will begin with plans for a more conservative pathway. The decision, while clearly disappointing to many, reflects the global nature of our worldwide denomination.
As the numbers came on the screen, a stunned silence fell across the room. For a moment, it felt like time stopped. Like me, most people assumed the One Church Plan would at least make it out of the legislative committee for a vote on the Conference floor. It did not, although it will likely come before the body today as a minority report. The chair of the proceedings, Rev. Joe Harris (who did a phenomenal job all day and should be recommended for sainthood), quickly continued with the next item on the agenda, but most of the room were still reeling, trying to make sense of what this now means. In ways many did not foresee, the United Methodist Church took a historic turn in that moment. It could be called a tipping point. We discovered we are no longer an American denomination.