Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two Amendments

I just wrote this post. And then I deleted it, by mistake. Nothing is ever the same when you try to reproduce it. Sigh.

Five amendments to the United Methodist Church's constitution came to the floor of annual conference for approval. I want to focus on two of them today.

Amendment 1: As the Holy Scripture reveals, both men and women are made in the image of God and, therefore, men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. The United Methodist Church recognizes it is contrary to Scripture and to logic to say that God is male or female, as maleness and femaleness are characteristics of human bodies and cultures, not characteristics of the divine. The United Methodist Church acknowledges the long history of discrimination against women and girls. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of women’s and girl's equality and well-being.

Amendment 2:  
In the 2012 Book of Discipline, Division One, ¶4, Article IV, amend by deletion and addition as follows:
After “all persons” delete “without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition”. After “because of race, color, national origin,” delete “status,” and add “ability”. At the end of the paragraph, add “nor shall any member be denied access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church because of race, color, gender, national origin, ability, age, marital status, or economic

I worry that in my annual conference, there were many people who voted against these two amendments. The first one is designed to help women and girls who are being oppressed - for the church to take an official stand against it. Those who voted against it will do so because of the language that God does not have a gender. The second on is to ensure that those who are differently abled or who are not men have equal access to the church. Judging from the comments made, those who vote against it will do so because some time in the future, gender might mean more than two - male and female, even though that is how it is defined in the Discipline.

I don't understand how we can let these concerns stand in the way of opening the church or protecting those who are oppressed. My heart hurts.



Blogger birdwatcher said...

This poem from poet Edwin Markham speaks for me today.

“He drew a circle that shut me out- Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win: we drew a circle and took him in.”

And as followers of Christ, aren't we supposed to be all about love?
Yes, my heart hurts, too.

7:48 AM  

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