April 03, 2007
UM and Christian Churches Together
I just received an email from Dr. Riley Case in which he expressed a concern that we United Methodist practice a selective ecumenism based on his understanding of our decision to not join the new Christian Churches Together. Usually I stay out of this kind of church argument but on this issue I disagree with Dr. Case’s interpretation; because I have been apart of this dialogue. I have just returned from a meeting of the Pan Methodist Bishops (this includes African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, United Methodist bishops). This issue was discussed in great detail in a small group meeting and later in our plenary. Our Historically Black Methodist Bishops were very adamant that we (United Methodist) not join Christian Churches Together because they have some serious concerns. One of the concerns is that this group CCT was formed around the same time that Bishop Thomas Hoyt of the Christian Methodist Episcopal became the president of the National Council of Churches and believed we should be supportive of his presidency. Secondly, they expressed grave concern about the direction of CCT and preferred to wait until this is clear.
Thirdly, CCT offers denomination many membership options. Many of the Pentecostals and others have taken advantage of these options as we have. I realize that many desire to make life a simple issue of black and white but even the CCT recognized that there would be times that the various denominations would have different reactions to whatever CCT was engaged in and thought it best to have the various denominations at the table even when they disagree.
I understand from the Weather Report this morning that winter is not ready to leave us. The report is that we will experience dramatically colder temperatures. The temperature will be dropping from the high 70s to the possible the 20s this Easter Weekend. There is very little in life that is predictable. I remember watching my cousin Helena bake a cake. She did everything just right and placed it in the oven to bake. But her brother made the cake fall. It was an ugly site of a cake but the cake sure tasted good to me. Sometimes what looks like a bad situation turns out all right and sometimes what looks good turns out wrong. It is a person’s ability to adjust to circumstances and the inconsistence of life that often determines success or failure. You can not guard against all the adversities of life but you can learn not to let your reaction to those uncontrollable events be apart of the problem. You can learn to place those things in the hands of God who has declared that we are loved either protect us, deliver us or give us internal and external resources to not only survive but to thrive.