• The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has made it's decision, and it's sad.  You can check the details out for yourself on the denomination's news sites. 
  • The response to my Sunday letter was the most I have ever gotten.  And many have written back and indicated a readiness to do something healthy...and strategic.  I have created a new website those those interested in working together...and hope that you will help me...and join me in moving forward.
  • Click Here for the website.
  • We also have a FaceBook Page to spread the word and encourage participation...check it out at "resistance-oasis"
  • The letter below consists of followup reflections on the actions of the General Conference, which has dramatically decided against an open door relationship with LGBTQ+ persons.

February  26, 2018
Special Report:  What Next?
In the pre-WWII days in China, there was a sign on the U.S. embassy in Beijing that said,  华人与狗不得入内!   "No dogs or Chinese allowed."  That was the dehumanizing arrogance of  the powers that be ...back then...and people just accepted it.
When the constitution of the United States was finally written in 1787, it's framers decided to count black slaves as 
three-fifths human...and American Indians as zero percent human.  That was the arrogance of  the powers that be ...back then...and people just accepted it.
Today the General Conference of the UMC has strongly affirmed that LGBTQ+ persons are  maybe  three-fifths human.  The conference declared that we will love  them , but we will not let our United Methodist Church be soiled by the inhuman ways they love  each other .  Unlike the dogs in our neighborhoods, we  will  let LGBTQ+ persons in our buildings... but we will not extend to them the full pastoral services of the church; nor will we allow them to perform any ministries to which God has called or equipped them. That is the dehumanizing arrogance of  the powers that be ...today...and people are not so likely to just accept it... I hope!
We will be told that the General Conference was guided by the Holy Spirit, and we should not question its legitimacy or its authority.  And we will be reminded over and over that bishops and superintendents and boards of ministry are obligated to abide by the rules of the General Conference.  The folks in such positions who willingly took those jobs must now relentlessly enforce the rules of the system.  They will even ask us to feel sorry for them.
People will say that the General Conference was only following the teachings of the Bible and that the  powers that be  really do love people...all people.  I'll not review the scholarship here, but it is disingenuous to blame the Bible for this when one has taken its verses out of context.  

And it is simply hollow to say that bishops and the leaders of the church really do love those who are  different  or who 
differ.  There are many definitions of love, but this kind of "rhetorical" love is certainly not the kind Jesus exemplified or taught.  But nevertheless our authorities will profess their love for LGBTQ+ persons and their loyal friends...(mostly in order to keep us from walking away?)
At the moment, the United Methodist Church has morally decapitated itself, and there is no credible leadership anywhere on the horizon.  But this vacuum at the top didn't just happen all of a sudden...this weekend. It's been decades in the making.  All the rulers of our church have now become a parade of emperors who have no clothes.  
What shall gentle and kind and thoughtful people do?  We do not want to become as mean-spirited as the majority of General Conference delegates. We do not want to become as impotent as our bishops and boards of ministry...all words and no substance.  Nor do we want to let the sun set on our anger without making some resolve to let the Holy Spirit gather and comfort us.  
A year ago, I resigned from the Board of Ministry in the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. This has left me in a position where I will not have to violate the leading of the Holy Spirit in my ministry. As a pastor, I am still prohibited from performing same sex marriages: but this is an artificial constraint, and it won't be that hard to follow the letter of such a mean spirited law...while sabotaging its ungodly spirit.  
Free from my previous obligations, I'm writing to offer you this:  a chance to pause, reflect...maybe not quit the church quite so fast...gather with others who need nurture and direction at this time...and see what this seemingly awful action of the General Conference has at long last freed us to do.
Perhaps this is a time to retreat to a spiritual wilderness, not abuse the system;

A time to resist, maybe not quit;

A time to follow our best thoughts, not our most impulsive emotions

A time to pursue new visions and relationships, not busy programs and discredited church politics.

A time for pastors to keep our day jobs, and offer ourselves gladly in service that will take us far beyond our job descriptions.
If you are interested in being part of something new, gentle, and powerful, please check out the new website by clicking here.
It is a new website, just going online today. So forgive the lack of polish.  We will be offering people some creative, non-cynical alternatives to the "fight or flee" impulses that many of us are feeling right now...and have been feeling for some time.  As one of our recent first ladies said, "When they go low, we go high."  We're going to move fast on this...and we need your help as we grow this "oasis" from the ground up.