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CLUB 444: Why Stay?

January 18, 2023

Scott A. Duell, a friend IRL as well as online, has graciously given me his expressed permission to share this with you here. I’ll be doing that in four parts —

There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty right now around what’s happening in and around the United Methodist Church, and all the buzz about disaffiliation. I am not qualified to explain the details. And honestly, much smarter people than me have written exhaustively about that subject, so I won’t attempt to add to that. I am also not a bible scholar or church historian. But since the debate has reached the doors of my own home church,

I feel like I need to say something. And with the initial straw vote coming in less than three short weeks, now seems like the right time to say it.

Before I begin though, don’t be deceived; regardless of what anyone says, this whole debate begins and ends over the topic of human sexuality. Whatever your view on the subject, that’swhere it began and what continues to fuel it.

So, here it is: Why I Have Decided to Stay United Methodist:

TRADITION. I was raised United Methodist. I was confirmed, baptized, married, and chose to raise my daughter in the same small rural Southern Illinois UM church. I left briefly when I was a teenager to explore other, more exciting church options, but the shine quickly wore off. I came right back, and soon after became a lay speaker, an Annual Conference delegate, and a lay leader, and I currently serve as the chair of the Church Council.

None of this is a good reason to not want to leave – but it does illustrate my connection to the church I consider home tradition emphasizes prevenient grace, justification, and sanctification – as well as mission, service, and the primacy of scripture (which I’ll talk more about later). These principles are the basis of the theology and doctrine of the UMC, as well as my own personal worldview. So the question is, will that change just because a group of people or churches decide to leave the denomination? Of course not. Those roots are much deeper than that.

Let me state for the record, there are aspects of the United Methodist Church that I’m not entirely crazy about or don’t completely agree with. But I can undoubtedly say that I agree far more with it than I do any other major denomination. And one of the primary reasons is that it has always been considered a “big tent” church. What that means is that if we agree on the big stuff, regardless of those little things that we will inevitably disagree on, we can still worship, study, and serve together as one body – one family. Conservative, liberal, republican, democrat, evangelical, social justice centered… whatever. Our individuality, uniqueness, and diversity are exactly what make us stronger.

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