Recently, the Commission on a Way Forward, a 32-member team tasked with discerning the future of the United Methodist Church, released its initial proposal aimed at resolving questions within the church regarding homosexuality. This team has worked since the middle of 2016 on a plan, which will need approval by a called General Conference in February 2019.
According to the United Methodist News Service, the options on the table include:
- Keep the Book of Discipline language regarding homosexuality, and place an emphasis upon accountability.
- Remove language regarding homosexuality from the Book of Discipline in order to allow for contextualized ministry. The plan would also protect those who would not be comfortable with ordaining or marrying LGBTQ individuals.
- Would provide a unified set of doctrine, services, and Council of Bishops, while also paving a way for different groups within the church to have its own values, accountability, and mission.
As is often the case, when receive new information on something that is unknown we want to know more. What does this mean for Ogden Memorial? What does this mean for the Kentucky Annual Conference? What does this mean for the church as a whole?
Many of those questions we cannot answer, at least not yet.
That becomes the struggle of living into the unknown. We want to have all the answers before we take a bold step into an unknown future. The same is true for us, as a local church, as we discern where God is leading us within a changing culture and ministry context. We want to know what will happen, when it will happy, and how it will happen.
I get it, because I am just like that. Sometimes I am more like the Israelites walking with Moses than I care to admit. I want to be like the disciples who dropped everything to follow Jesus. More often than not I ask questions, want all the information, and hesitate to act before I am confident I know what is going to happen and when, just as the Israelites questioned Moses’ leadership continually, in part, because they weren’t sure what would happen next.
Faith, however, is the willingness to see the unseen and trust that God is at work, even when we do not have all the answers. No matter what happens within the United Methodist Church, there are some constants that will not change.
We will love Jesus.
We will love our neighbors.
We will make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our world here in Princeton.
So, even though we don’t have all the answers we know where God is calling us to go and who to be: love the Lord, love our neighbors, and make disciples. That is our greatest purpose as we walk into a new future.