Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Traditionalists: Lay Down Your Swords

During the spring and summer the debates within the United Methodist Church went silent. Energy was rightly focused elsewhere. Now that's changed. I've been in five different national or international meetings in addition to several phone calls and email exchanges during the month of October as our conversations about the future of the denomination pick up again. 

I'd like you to know what hasn't happened. 

In my meetings with U.S. progressives, U.S. centrists, and people from other countries, I don't recall one time when U.S. traditionalists were insulted, disparaged, or attacked. I don't remember any speculation about future policies or positions a new traditionalist denomination would take. I don't remember any sensationalism. In fact, the only conversations I remember at all about traditionalists are when a friend from another country asked me (my paraphrase), "Did they really just say what I think they just said" and when we talked about what traditionalists may or may not do politically at a 2021 General Conference. 

Our focus has been us. The fight needs to be over. Which is why I am so dismayed in seeing recent attacks from U.S. traditionalists, specifically leadership of The IRD who are part of the leadership team for the formation of a new denomination. 

Lay. Down. Your. Swords. 

We are not fighting you. While you attack us,
  • 225,000+ Americans have died from covid-19
  • 1.1 million+ around the world have died
  • People of Color in the U.S. are facing blatant discrimination
  • Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria are facing intense civil unrest
  • Our U.S. election is impending with undoubtedly some level of unrest to follow

In 2019 you pushed through a plan that has rightly been called mean-spirited. U.S. Annual Conferences responded by overwhelmingly rejecting your approach. They will still reject your approach, which appears to be much more closely aligned with secular politics than Christian charity.

We have too much work to do to fight. The world is too broken and the Gospel needs to be shared. 


  1. Thanks for the post. I’m not fully in the loop on all of the inside workings. How and what specifically are you referring about the traditionalist attacking? What would it look like for the traditionalist to lay down their swords. On a grassroots level, local church laity. I experience both sides still combating each other in a similar fashion as that of Republicans vs Democrats. Thanks again for your post!

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