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In the Middle: maybe not for United Methodists only

April 22, 2019

With gratitude to the person who sent this to me and wants to remain anonymous, the following so good I’m just getting out of the way —

Ours is one of the few large congregations in America that still puts its denominational label on the front door. In many congregations today denominational affiliation, if indeed there is any, is hidden and undercover.

Connectionalism has its cost. We contribute over $800,000 a year in apportionments to this denomination. They come from the gifts in the offering plates. With regard to misperceptions, just this week people have told me they thought Methodists were such rigid traditionalists that they were out of touch. Then twenty-four hours later someone said to me, “You Methodists are such liberals; you just believe almost anything.” I am surprised at some of the conclusions people make about us.

Connectionalism has its benefits. When I was pastor of a Methodist church in the heart of Louisville, a large independent church that had fled to the suburbs would meet with us trying to find ways to make a connection where we already were. We don’t have to make connections anywhere in this country; we are already connected. Whether we are talking about Katrina, Rita or any other place of concern, we are already there. That is one of the strengths of our connectionalism.

In an age of extremes, United Methodists are uniquely equipped to stand in the middle, inviting whosoever will to our tables of Holy Communion, acknowledging the grace of God to be active in all waters of baptism, urging all to join their hearts and minds with us in prayer. If your heart is with my heart, let’s join hands. It’s a message that needs to be heard today.

When people are shouting at one another and screaming from the edges, somebody needs to stand in the middle and invite people to the table.

– Whaddya say?

 

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2 Comments
  1. Karen permalink

    The middle covers more than the sides. It is also where most of the work is done. Just happens that the sides show up more cause they are compared to the edge of nothing.

    Like

  2. And Ka-BOOM! Thank you for this, Karen

    Like

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