Bishop Jones on Unity in a tense time

If you follow "church news" and "church politics" you know that the last few months have been a very tense time in the life of the global United Methodist Church.  Clergy, even a few bishops, who are frustrated with The United Methodist Church's teachings on certain issues (particularly our upholding traditional sexual morality, but usually there are others in the mix as well) have threatened to openly break the law and teachings of our church as found in The Book of Discipline.  Some have followed through with these threats.  Other clergy (including some bishops) have stated that they will not pursue church trials or impose any serious discipline or accountability for those who break with church law.   

Many are now speaking quite openly about the risk of a church schism.  One clergy friend of mine has suggested that the 2016 General Conference (the decision making body for the global church) will be "a knock-down, drag-out fight."
The church and her leaders could use your prayers in the coming months and years.

One of our really wonderful bishops, Bishop Scott Jones (formerly a professor at my seminary), addressed this tension head on in an address to his clergy in the Great Plains Conference.  He asks how we can "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:1-3) in the midst of this tense time.  What he says is a refreshingly straightforward call not to political maneuverings but to integrity (keeping the commitments we've made) and honesty (only making commitments we plan to keep) as essential for holy living.

You can read the whole address (it is not all that long) HERE, and I hope you will because I believe his words are an important call to "recenter" ourselves as a church during this tense time.  We must remember that there can be no unity and no trust built upon broken promises.

May God give us all the strength and patience we need to bear with one another and keep our covenant oaths, for the good of the church, and the world, and our own souls.  Kyrie Eleison.

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Blogger Craig L. Adams said...

Thanks for the link to that address, Daniel. I had heard it quoted, but had never before read it in full.

6:20 PM, April 07, 2014  

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