Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Roll for Public Pressure 

The Methodist Reporter Interactive has an interesting article on paying apportionments vs. agreeing with Church Administrators out of a church in North Carolina:
We believe that the General Board of Church and Society and the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries — by co-sponsoring the March for Women's Lives on April 25, 2004 in Washington, D.C. — blatantly acted against the Discipline [The rule book of the Methodist Church]. The March for Women's Lives was a pro-choice (actually a pro-abortion) political rally that promoted all abortions in all circumstances, no questions asked. The United Methodist Church, on the other hand, states in its Social Principles (Paragraph 161J) that while we recognize "tragic conflicts of life with life" that can result in abortion, abortion is not acceptable in all cases.
So, in protest against such liberal decisions like the March for Abortion (which are growing rampant under the Global Ministries) this church started funneling money away from church administration (apportionments) and into areas of ministry opposed to abortion. Now, though, they have decided to take a new tack:
For three years, St. Peter's UMC paid apportionments in part and protested in private. In 2005, we will pay apportionments in full and protest in public. We choose this alternative as a way to be obedient to the baptismal covenant and to remain subject to the Discipline, by which all United Methodists are bound by God's grace.
Catholic parishes, of course, are filled with the same humans that fill the Methodist pews. Even though I've only been in our parish for a year or so, I have heard many people disagree with the Church or with a decision of the priest and say, "Well, they won't get another dime of my money." This is a hard decision and it's one I've made myself in the past: if you believe the church is on the wrong path and nobody will listen, what power does one person have but the power of the dollar.

Well, there is prayer. And there is the path of public pressure, which is the path St. Peter's United Methodist is taking. Religious blogs seem, to me, to be overwhelmingly Catholic. I sought long and hard for places on the Internet to share Methodist discussions (I have a couple on my link table to the left), and was surprised and pleased to find the Catholic world of blogging so full and diverse and lively. As the Pope said the other day (in "The Rapid Development" of technology in the media),
“A great many wonderful things are to be hoped for from this familiar dialogue between the laity and their spiritual leaders: in the laity a strengthened sense of personal responsibility; a renewed enthusiasm; a more ready application of their talents to the projects of their spiritual leaders. The latter, on the other hand, aided by the experience of the laity, can more clearly and more incisively come to decisions regarding both spiritual and temporal matters. In this way, the whole Church, strengthened by each one of its members, may more effectively fulfill its mission for the life of the world”
The spiritual leaders of the church can take strength in the fight against the cultural revolution from the new media feedback (blogs) of the great (no longer) silent majority. At least that's my take on it.

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