Wednesday, May 30, 2007

UMC Follies

There are times when I'm not incredibly proud to be known as a Methodist.

The reason for this is one affecting most of the mainline Protestant denominations anymore. Theology and action twisting apart traditional biblical values seem to rule the day.

Case in point: There is a UMC pastor in Maryland who used to be a woman, and the change was made during this person's time as pastor.

It goes without saying, but I find this to be an incredible faux pas for church leadership. And yet, the regional leadership there found there to be nothing contradictory with church rules in appointing him/her to another term as pastor.

I should note that the majority of the UMC does not think like this. As with the Episcopal church, the majority of faithful members and leaders don't agree with decisions like this. The aberrations, however, make for much better headlines.

My pastor has discussed this with me before. I figure he'd be in a good position to offer an opinion on matters like this, knowing something about church structure and authority. His theory on how we ended up in this place is interesting. Since the 70s or so, the trend has been that conservative leaders spend their time and energy serving their local congregations, while the more liberal leaders focus on politicking and gaining broader positions of power. Eventually, one mindset took to important leadership positions nationally, including at the seminaries, while the other found itself on the outside looking in.

This makes some sense, and does a decent job of explaining the current situation. I can't say whether his theory is right, but he'd be in a better position to say.

This story about Reverend "Drew" makes me sad, but don't think it indicative of the entire UMC.


Nicole said...

So, you suppose the thing works on hydraulics now or something else?

yeah, that seems pretty messed up.
Perhaps she loves God and loves being a man.

Hal said...

Perhaps. But for a church to keep her as a pastor is simply unacceptable.

And you Nicoles are going to have to come up with a way for me to distinguish between who's leaving comments.

The Expert said...

My issue with this pastor is not so much that there is some subsection of UMC rules and regs that would prevent such a pastor from pastorship, but what implications it means for that person. Questions I would wonder would be "If God created you a woman, why did you think God was wrong?" That is the biggest contradiction that I see here.
-- brandon

Dr. Church said...

Not at I agree with this argument - but perhaps they could respond to you by saying that their mis-gender-ation was not God's mistake - but rather a perversion existent in the world as a result of the Fall. Just a thought.

Dr. Church said...

Here's a well written discussion on the matter...

Hal said...

Er, Dr. Church . . . that link you gave? It's the one I linked to in my post.

Dr. Mohler actually brought up that same argument on his radio show. And I'm not sure how one could argue for such a self-mutilation without ignoring scripture.

I mean, goodness, Paul describe people who did circumcision for legalistic reasons as "mutilators of the flesh." He also described sexual sin as the worst kind because it was sin against one's own body. Something tells me that, despite no mention of gender-swapping surgery in scripture, Paul might not have been too keen on the idea.