MORE MUSINGS 6. We sing, "Oh, how I love Jesus". How I wish that the 2 coalition Caucuses (should it be "Cauci?), "Love your Neighbor" and "Renewal and Reform", could find some "ground of unity" despite their differences. The Renewal and Reform Caucus in a statement has said; "Homosexuality is not the most important issue before the Church, but it is the most divisive." Could they stand together on a "ground of unity" that has them uttering a collective "yes" to United Methodist clergy being allowed by the denomination to perform unions and marriages of same sex couples? If the two persons who are partnered as a same sex couples are "persons of sacred worth" as we say in our Book of Discipline, why as the old folk say, must they "live in sin" because United Methodist clergy are not allowed officially to perform their unions or marriages? More and more of our sons and daughters, our grand kids and our nieces and nephews are being "turned off" by their Church because it limits complete ministry to/for them, or for their friends. How, in the name of God can our denomination that is concerned about membership loss in the USA, limit our ministry in those states and the District of Columbia where same sex unions or marriages are legal?
7. "If there is no struggle, there is no progress" (Frederick Douglass). Many of the delegates in Tampa, although they may not be able to express it, are having inner struggles between their hearts and the policies of their church. The Christian Century magazine had/has a series titled "How My Mind Has Changed.” Some of the persons with the finest minds and committed hearts in Christendom have shared publicly that they, in mind and spirit have moved from one place to another, better place. I do not know the name of the street where the GC is being held in Tampa, but I do know the name of the street where John Wesley had his "heart warming" experience, Aldersgate. I, as one who had his heart "changed" at a General Conference, know that the same will happen to some in Tampa. They will not be able to be silent about what happened to them in Tampa.
8. We used to sing on the picket lines of the Civil Rights Movement: "I woke up this morning with my mind 'stayed' on freedom." It is a song from the Church that says; "I woke up this morning with my mind 'stayed' on Jesus." There is no difference between the two. Jesus is freedom, and Freedom is Jesus! May, the hotel rooms of folk in Tampa be filled with the morning sounds of, "I woke up this morning..."
9. Our 7-year old grand daughter, Ashley: I have not understood why when I begin singing "Be kind to your web footed friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother. For she lives in the woods in the swamp, wherever it’s damp. You may think this is the end well it is,” she puts her hands over her ears urging me to stop singing. But, when I sing, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so..." she joins me in singing with a smile on her face. Could it be that she knows there is something special about Jesus, different from the specialness of a duck? Or is it that I reveal my tone deafness in a song she does not like, but she can cover up that tone deafness as she sings with me a song that she likes?
10. As usual, as Grace consistently tells me, "Your essays/letters are too long and besides who reads them? Thus, I am ending this second installment of my "Musings." I am not "together with you one place" (Acts 2: 1). You are there, and I am here (appropriately named, Asbury Park, NJ). But we are "Family", no matter where we are, or how we differ. Let us live and be in "A Family Way", as God's people who call ourselves United Methodists.
See all of Gil's blog posts about the United Methodist General Conference while the UMC legislative body meets in Tampa April 24-May 4.