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Reflections On A Post-Cleveland Church

From: JOELTHORN@aol.com
To: ucmpage@ucmpage.org
Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2000 2:58 AM
Subject: Please Add the Headline You Are Commenting On

i'm so glad to see the methodists take a great stand for christ. the evangelicals need to stay in the meth. church. the pro-gay lobby should leave if they don't like the rules. DON'T HOLD OUR CHURCH HOSTAGE!!!!

From: ZTAmaniac
To: ucmpage@ucmpage.org
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 10:44 PM
Subject: Reflections On A Post-Cleveland Church

Amen to that!

--- Gary Loy, B.A., O.S.L.
Seminarian, Regent University School of Divinity

From: Jeff Uhler
To: ucmpage@ucmpage.org Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 8:06 PM Subject: Reflections On A Post-Cleveland Church

I admit, I wasn't there. I have read the stories from a variety of resources on the net, but that is not the same as being there. So, for those who were there, please forgive me for anything I have a wrong understanding of.

I, too, wonder what the UMC will be like after Cleveland. I was raised UMC, left it while serving in the Navy, rejoined after God's calling me to the active ordained ministry. I have had a love-hate relationship with the institution ever since. I love the Wesleyan heritage and the understanding we have about Grace. I hate the politics which take our focus off of the work of Christ in this world. I love the ability we have to work as a team for the cause of Christ around the world - UMCOR is one of the best things about the UMC!

I've served on teams to discuss the issue of homosexuality in our conference and district. I've argued and discussed the issue for the last 15 years and find that we're no closer to "resolving the problem" now than when we started - and I don't believe we ever will be.

I heard both sides argue that "someone must leave the table" after this conference, that our differences were too great. I've read the work produced last year that actually named the real issue - our understanding of and the authority of the Bible for our daily lives.

What will be different after Cleveland? One thing is more clear to me than anything else. It's time for those of us who claim to be evangelicals to live up to our name. It's time to "be focused on saving lost, hurting, worldly souls, not saving its own sorry institutional self."

What would happen if we go back to our conferences, and our local churches and actually begin to win souls instead of worrying about what our bishop, the District Superintendents, and the Board of Ordained Ministries thought about us? (Some of us already could care less, but we often act like we must do all we can to protect God's Church from heathen!) What if we evangelicals actually worked hard to meet the needs of people in our local places of ministry in such a way that the news reports couldn't focus on portraying us as narrow-minded, hate-filled people, but as truly loving, caring, and compassionate.

There was much pain on both sides of the theological spectrum as I read the reports from Cleveland. But I believe there is also much hope. I pray that we can and will learn to be Jesus even more, now that GC2000 is behind us..

In His Service,

Jeff Uhler, Pastor

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