I am one small, lonely, lowly voice in a large mass (mob?) of United Methodists. One person cannot speak for the whole, but I want to engage in just such a thought exercise. I want to “test the house,” as it were. Here is my supposition about what WE ALL WANT. Instead of hammering on what we are disagreeing about, and the morass of machinations in which we are engaged, I would like to speculate that there are some things to which we might have at least 98% agreement about.
- We would love for the will of God to prevail. Instead of debating what that will might be, I would love to see us commit to a quadrennium of prayer, listening, and discernment simply seeking/asking/contemplating God’s will for the church, for the world, for the planet, and for the future.
- We believe there is value and benefit to life in Christ. The teachings of Jesus the Christ are a vision and value set that we believe add richness and depth to human life. We want people to experience an abundance and wholeness to life. We feel that Christ offers something that cannot be gained in any other way. We are a gathering that share a single baptism — this should count for something.
- We believe in a loving God. God so loved the world — our world, us — that God sent Jesus, Son and Savior, to save us. We are redeemed, rescued, renewed and restored through relationship in Christ.
- Evangelism is central to who we are as Christians. We want to share the love of God and the redemption in Christ with EVERYONE. We want ALL to know God. We want the grace, forgiveness, and acceptance of God to be experienced by every human being.
- Missions is more than an activity in which we engage; missions is the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual commitment we make to Christ Jesus. We are fortunate beneficiaries of something we neither deserve nor warrant. It is endemic to who we are to do for others in the name of Jesus the Christ. It is never appropriate for us to ask “will we support those in need or won’t we?”. Our only question is “HOW will we help those in need?”
- Social justice is not about politics; it is about being the body of Christ in the world, standing for peace, justice, equity, fairness, mercy and compassion wherever and whenever we can. We are to use every resource at our disposal to make our world resemble as much as possible the realm of heaven. We want what God wants.
There are more, and I see all the ways that people will pick apart what I have written, but I want to believe these are things underneath our disagreements that bring us all here in the first place. I simply wish we could give more time talking about, planning for, and developing strategies around what we hold in common instead of endlessly chasing the minutiae that get us all hot and bothered.