Disconnect at the Connectional Table

Recently the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church engaged in a dialogue over human sexuality. I was under the impression that the purpose of dialogue was to increase understanding, and perhaps even reach consensus. Apparently I was wrong. According to an article on UMC.org,

The Connectional Table, one of The United Methodist Church’s governing bodies, has decided to draft legislation that could change church law “to fully include LGBTQ persons in the life and ministry of the church.”

The draft would be brought back to the Connectional Table at a future meeting for consideration. The April 29 decision to draft the legislation came the same day the Connectional Table began a series of three public discussions on human sexuality.

Wait a minute…. The decision came the same day as the Connectional Table began their discussion? Doesn’t this type of legislation presuppose the outcome of the discussion? If this is how we’re going to operate, why even have the discussion at all?

In 1957 Rudolf Bultmann wrote an essay titled, “Is Exegesis Without Presupposition Possible?” In this essay he argued that all of us bring certain presuppositions to biblical exegesis–this is in fact unavoidable. Nevertheless, we must avoid wholly predetermining the conclusions of biblical exegesis. We reach these conclusions only after rigorous investigation.

The Connectional Table could take a lesson from Bultmann here. We all come to the questions around homosexuality in our denomination with presuppositions and biases, but if our common discussion is to have integrity, we must not presuppose the conclusions of our common inquiry.

The same article continues:

San Antonio Area Bishop James E. Dorff opened the discussion with a Bible study based on Jesus’ prayer for his disciples’ unity in John 17:20-26. Dorff told those in Chicago and online that Jesus prayed for unity so that Christians can be a witness to the rest of God’s people.

“What is our end game?” Dorff asked. “Will we be of one mind? I doubt it. Will we all be of one church? I sure hope so. Will we all be brothers and sisters in Christ? I hope so.”

Sadly, the chances of our all being of one church have never been slimmer.

24 thoughts on “Disconnect at the Connectional Table

  1. Marriage is a blood covenant, and as such, cannot be recognized by the Church between same sex couples. This forced tryst is the work of the devil to destroy the church of late, the big push commencing about 50 years ago. One of my points is that women should not have been allowed to govern the church, as long as there were men of Christ able to do so. The example was set with the deception of Adam. Spiritual discernment in leadership appointments and enforcement of discipline has been lax. There is no way that UM will remain united over this. I have so indicated renunciation of my membership should acceptance of this false doctrine occur. Most individuals who decry equality base it on emotions, including those connected to LGBT relationships. Even our federal government, where satan loves to be enthroned, has pushed this disunity and laxity. Sexuality and equality is taught in the Bible, but with implied moral and physical responsibilities/roles. We are sworn enemies of the world of darkness, so continue the fight!

  2. The same tactics used here common now within the USA concerning religious and political issues. Loud mouths with practiced agendas are often accepted as the easiest route, however more often with destructive finality. FUMC has strong members and these must pay attention and take over where necessary where leaders are too complacent or agreeable to sympathetic “feel good” pushers. Stick to the Bible. Liberals are doing the same thing against the US Constitution by reinterpreting it. Monte Swatzell FUMC member Cleburne, Tx

  3. Pingback: On Two Injustices #UMC | Unsettled Christianity

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