Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Respecting the Alter 

I've been to quite a lot of Methodist meetings: Finance meetings, Sunday School planning meetings, Bible School planning meetings, Church Council meetings, Pastor Parish Relations meetings, etc. One thing that often came up was youth not showing respect for the church building or the alter. But what outward evidence did I ever see of grown up Methodist reverence? I compare this to my experience in my Catholic Church, where I see things like this: genuflecting, making the sign of the cross, the priest holding the gospel up high and making a procession to the reading, kissing the alter... the Methodist church has none of these outward signs of reverence. Just what is it that the children are supposed to take away from a Worship service?

The 2004 Methodist General Conference sounds like it's becoming a very interesting conference:

The day began with gay advocates marching to the convention center where the meeting was being held and dropping to their knees in prayer.

The activists then took their protest inside the meeting, standing silently, praying and holding up colorful stoles that are the symbol of their movement. They began singing "Amazing Grace," as the votes were tallied. Some wept when the results were announced.

The quote from conservatives in the article below ("unity be damned") is interesting. The unity being sought was to put a statement into the Methodist law that the church is divided over the issue of homosexuality. Don't gloss over that... wait and perceive it: "unity" means issuing a statement saying "we are divided." If you don't agree, then you are dividing the church. If you agree the church is divided only then you are seeking unity. Here's a quote:

Halfway through the 2004 General Conference, efforts at creating and sustaining unity are being assaulted.

Or, as one conservative source said in effect: Unity be damned.

A disturbing series of events hints at unsavory behaviors in pursuit of legislative “victory:”

A reserve delegate made illegal motions regarding the Women’s Division during a Global Ministries legislative subcommittee meeting. When her ineligibility was discovered, the committee had to re-vote several pieces of legislation.

Intimidation and bullying over votes occurred to such an extent in Church and Society that written ballots were required to vote on adding language to the Social Principles that acknowledges the deep divisions within the church over homosexual behavior. The measure was sustained by one vote, 49 to 48, setting the stage for a major floor battle.

An Asian-American delegate was denied permission to speak during the Church and Society legislative committee, although she had earlier been promised an opportunity to speak by the chairwoman. Afterward she was chastised by another committee member for having challenged the issue. This behavior was brought to the attention of the full General Conference at Monday morning’s session.

Monitors reported incidents in which racial/ethnic delegates were ignored in other committees as well.

Click on the articles for more.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

powered by FreeFind