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Arkansas Conference A "Mixed Bag", Motions For More Homosexual Diversity AND Historic Faith, Failed

Posted: June 14, 2003, 10:27 am Post subject:


Arkansas united its two Conferences into one in a called session last year.

It is my home Conference that put me on Administrative Location, though I am originally from Northwest Texas, where I currently reside. Still on the excellent e-mail list from Arkansas, thanks to a dedicated layman, Jim Lane, I get all the news from Arkansas.

Here is the report from action taken this past week, concluding today:

Delegates to General Conference are a mixed bunch. Rodney Steele was the first clergy elected and is a quintessential "company man," though no one who is one would admit it, since it is a virtue to be an independent thinker in all matters, right? Also elected on the clergy side were, Chester Jones, brother of the infamous Joycelyn Elders, Bill Clinton's Surgeon General, who preached masturbation as the cure-all for sexual diseases and dysfunction and got herself fired. Chester is currently a resident of Washington, D.C., where he works on Religion and Race; David Wilson, formerly an episcopal candidate and moderate-liberal, a very, very decent man that will vote his conscience; Jack Wilson, also a good man that leans moderate to conservative; Fred Haustien, a very effective Pastor that once described himself as "Evangelical" in a study that John Miles, Jr. conducted of Arkansas clergy, though Fred has never been part of a "renewal group;" and Rebekah Miles, John's sister, who teaches at Perkins.

The lay delegates are the lovely and liberal Lynn Baker, a Pastor's wife; the equally lovely and conservative Carolyn Elias, a Confessing Movement/Good News Board member that we can count on to "hold the fort;" the beautiful and evangelical Karen Millar that will carry the banner of Christ very nicely; Asa Whitaker, a conscientious gentleman, who is very active in promoting evangelism and church growth; Harris Moore and Bill Scurlock, whom I do not know.

Resolutions and Petitions: A motion to petition for greater inclusiveness failed. A motion to petition General Conference for stronger disciplinary statements concerning doctrinal and moral standards, and to focus on mission evangelism passed. A motion to remove oversight of action on the Social Principles from the Conference Board of Church and Society failed, meaning proposed changes in the Social Principles will be locked up in Committee (???). An ad hoc resolution to affirm our historic Faith failed.

So, you can see how "mixed" the situation in Arkansas has become. A lot of it depends not on what you know/think/believe but WHO is behind a motion, even who presents it on the floor of Conference. The lack of consistency and direction in the Area was always maddening to me. The Conference will often vote on wildly divergent motions, just to be "fair and representative" rather than follow conscience or "what's right." Developmentally, it is a 3-A Prime way of doing things, just not quite mature, adult or business-like behavior, for fear of what people will think.

All in all, though, the cause of Christ will be served. I miss many of my friends and acquaintances in Arkansas.

_________________ ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN,

Michael D. Hinton, M.Div., LSW 2804 32nd St., Snyder, TX 79549 (325) 573-9501 MDSH@AmMethCh.org



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