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A Deeply Disturbed Bishop’s Observation

May 14, 2019

“I find it deeply disturbing that The United Methodist Church is considering forming new denominations,” wrote Bishop Kenneth Carder yesterday, “defined by such ambiguous secular ideological labels as Progressive, Traditional, and Centrist.

“Political Ideology has supplanted lived theology!”

And then he launches this: “Institutional triumphalism has superseded forming people who love one another as Christ loves us.”

My question: whaddya say to this?

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  1. Christine Sarah Lippert permalink

    There are people who want to find a common ground rather than see our church torn apart. But where is this said ground? Politics are nasty, not nice, business. Yet, here we have entered the arena. If you ask my humble opinion the message of the Bible, the message of God is LOVE. He formed us for relationships. All kids of relationships! It’s hard not to get defensive when having this heartfelt, passionate talk with someone who has different beliefs. Why? Because it seems so simple. We just want to love everyone. All sides must remember what being a Christian is. How we act and how we treat others when we are having these conversations and truly listening to one another. We can’t go into it thinking this one conversation is going to change the others persons mind. It’s a hard conversation for both sides. We all believe we are right. We are all passionate about how we feel. We have one book, one Holy book that should have all the answers. Yet, I believe God did expect us to question. I just wish we could stop acting like attacking politicians running pre-election ads and get back to being loving Christians in our words and actions.


    • Thank you for this. Especially like how you conclude: “I just wish we could stop acting like attacking politicians running pre-election ads and get back to being loving Christians in our words and actions.”


  2. Gary W Cox permalink

    My problem with splitting into different branches of Methodism is which branch will each conference or local church choose. I don’t think the plan for different branches takes into account the many United Methodist Churches that may be the only UM church in a small town like Sparta. We have traditionalists, Progressives and Centrists in our congregation in our church I’m sure. But if three (or more/less) branches are formed I don’t want to be in the discussion of which branch my local church goes….


    • Thank you, Gary. And Sparta is far more typical than many realize. My experience, like yours, is that most United Methodist Christians line up with Mr. Wesley: if your heart is as my heart, let’s agree on what we can and let’s work together for Christ’s Kingdom. Sounds kinda like that guy in John 17:21.


  3. Rebecca Weatherford permalink

    I’m reading 1 Peter for Disciple…perfect timing. If I understand correctly, Peter says don’t waste time on wicked people who slander you. Show sincere love and serve each other, b/c love forgives. Don’t be surprised if there are fiery trials….He never fails…you are blessed, for the Spirit of God rests on you. Clothe yourself with humility to pray and listen to God. He will restore, empower, strengthen and establish you.
    The Bishop sure has a way with words! I do not. These words from Peter strengthen my heart. I can not stay if others are not affirmed and celebrated. Is that what he means by institutional triumphalism? Idk, but it leaves me w/o a church and not feeling so triumphal.


  4. Ashley Broom-Hardison permalink

    There are a few things that disturb me reagrding which direction the UMC is headed. My main concern, with not only UMC but EVERY OTHER DENOMINATION might I add, is as Ms. Lippert mention, it has become SO political. I think we’d be foolish (now and forever more) to believe that every one person is going to agree with the person sitting next to them, on every topic that’s voiced. Our humanness doesn’t allow us to do that (think pride, experiences, opinions etc). Grace, however, does. Grace (as we know) only comes from the Lord and in vast amounts, when we ask for it and it is practiced. Part of the problem, in my humble opinion, is that our nation has become grossly “politically correct” and quite honestly, I feel that is an understatement (and a massive one at that). Our churches are unfortunately not immune to this mindset and thus, have also been affected. I say all of that, to say this: There is ONE doctrine. There is ONE law. There is ONE Christ Jesus that died on the cross for all of our sins. Not ten. There may be ten or more interpretations (I know there are many many more) of the Bible, but yet many miss this one simple concept – every interpretation teaches the same things. I believe now, and have always believed, denominations will be the fall of Christ’s church. Denominations are (*gasp*) MANmade institutions (surprise surprise)…such as in this particular situation with the United Methodist Church. In conclusion, I feel if the UMC were to form new denominations, they aren’t helping to solve a problem, but contribute to it on a much larger scale. Thank you for listening.


  5. bob permalink

    ‘Every organization is perfectly aligned to the results it gets.’ For the American UMC, that is 50 years of sustained decline, complete with multiple rationalizations. The former Souther Illinois Conference has more than completely vanished from the former two conferences merged to synergies ministry. Lyle Schaller, at the end of his career, concluded the UMC couldn’t change, not so much wouldn’t change. And it ain’t about the sex. Split, schism, division with guns blazing is not an answer; it migrates the multiple dysfunctions to the 2-3 new groups. An intentional multiplication-mitosis that lays serious groundwork to address issues of trust-demographics-theology-appointments-apportionments-boards/agencies-etc-etc…that’s the only alternative to slow US death and the eventual independent departure of healthy congregations that no longer see any meaningful advantage in being part of the American spiritual version of Sears…


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