As Seth Godin has written, you need a telescope to look at a vision (to get it clearly into focus so you can better approach it) and a microscope to look at problems (to analyze their interconnecting pieces and fix them one at a time).
The following are both vision and problem pieces looking at United Methodism. There are 400+ posts on United Methodism on this website since 2010, totalling about 400,000 words (that’s several books! What am I doing with my time?), so this is a sampling of the most relevant arranged by category if you want to delve deeper into any of the underlying issues and the different visions for United Methodism as General Conference looms.
There are summary and GC2019-specific ones first, and then the rest are topical but relevant to how we got here and where we can go.
Summaries & Primers
Single posts that detail or summarize a lot of history or current struggles.
- What’s going on in The United Methodist Church in 1000 words
- The #UMC is a Train Wreck, but who are really the Conductors?
- The Old UMC is Dying. The New UMC cannot yet be born.
- 9.5 Theses: Why advocate for United Methodism?
Orthodoxy used to mean you held a set of beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. But in recent years it has expanded to include opposition to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ persons–which is not written anywhere in the creeds or councils! Take a read on the disturbing undercurrent to today’s debates on who is “in” and who is “out.”
- Orthodoxy: It doesn’t mean what you think it means
- Are We Reframing Long-held Basic, Orthodox, and Other Christian Beliefs?
- Orthodoxy Purity Tests, from Karl Barth to the Internet Age
- Unity requires Flexibility, Not Rigid Orthodoxy
- Fearing Theological Innovation, Clinging to Orthodoxy
- The Paradox of Generosity and Orthodoxy when Reforming Christian Systems
- The Playground Problem for the Country Club of Orthodoxy
- How “Historic Christian Teaching” became a lever for Schism in the #UMC
On a Biblical Hermeneutic for LGBTQ Inclusion
Not Methodist-specific but important to understand how and why faithful UMs can embrace LGBTQ inclusion.
- The Church, not the Bible, determines Sin
- What if the Church is Wrong on Sin?
- Will Better Catechism stop LGBT Inclusion?
Inclusion of LGBTQ Persons
Posts advocating for LGBTQ inclusion in The UMC.
- Better Together: The Good News and the Bad News at #GC2019
- Tearing People to Pieces #GC2019
- The Sin of Patience at #GC2019
- United Methodist Church: Care for the Children! #GC2019
- GC2019 Delegations Restructure to be more LGBTQ inclusive
- 12 Things Clergy can do to be good LGBTQ Allies
- Western Jurisdiction Laying Our Body Down in the Door to Let More People In
- Sowing Seeds Upon Thorny Ground in The #UMC
- Hoping for a Moratorium to Heal the #UMC
- Two Ways #BlackLivesMatter informs LGBT inclusion in the #UMC
- The Spong book that was axed by the #UMC
- Stopping the #UMC Roller-Coaster
- Echoes of Jim Crow in the United Methodist Church
- Non-Violent Resistance leads to hope, not schism, for the #UMC
- Don’t let the left hand that honors prophets know the right hand is still stoning them
- The Biblical Definition of Marriage? [Guest Post]
- Has the #UMC gone about as far as they can go?
Idealistic posts seeking unity.
- Better Together: The Good News and the Bad News at #GC2019
- United Methodism shouldn’t be a Big Tent? History says otherwise.
- Schism, Expulsion, and Diversity: #UMC Unity’s Varied Definitions
- Methodists: BOTH-AND People in an EITHER-OR World
- The #UMC may be hollowed out, but new life is possible
- Dear Methodosia, What To Say To You?
- If a Bishop can be redeemed, can The #UMC?
- Ancient Sibling Rivalries Playing Out in The #UMC
- Boy Scout Solution: A way forward for the #UMC?
- About that UMReporter Article…[response]
Unity In Diversity
Realistic posts about life together in a diverse UMC.
- The necessary end of a one-size-fits-all #UMC
- Minority Mania or Unity in Diversity in the #UMC?
- Diversity doesn’t break the United Methodist Connection [Guest Post]
- The UMC is at its best when Brady and Ashland fight
- A Conservative Proposal with a Progressive Soul [3of3]
- Creeping Congregationalism in the Hamilton/Slaughter Proposal? [2of3]
- Two Visions for the future of the #UMC [1of3]
- The Release of Methodism 2.0
- What is wrong with a theological buffet?
- George Takei on the Starship Methodism
- You need two wings AND understanding to fly #UMC [2of2]
- You need a Left Wing and a Right Wing to Fly #UMC [1of2]
- Is the #UMC the Rebellion…or the Empire?
- Outsourcing the Message: Fragmenting or Unifying?
Plans for GC2019
Here we go: One-stop shop for all the commentaries on the plans before us. Vote down the Traditionalist Plan!
- Who will have Power of Attorney to care for an ailing #UMC?
- The Betrayal of Good News: How a 2004 Blueprint created the #GC2019 Endgame
- Gerrymandering the #UMC: Behind the Traditionalist Plan Power Grab
- Wespath study reveals Traditionalist Plan cruelly targets Clergy Pensions
- Confirmed: Pensions Board issues Traditionalist Plan concerns, Wespath updates FAQ
- General Conference and #MLK: A Way Forward [Guest Post]
- Even Unconstitutional, the Traditionalist Plan Still Threatens The #UMC
- Traditionalist Plan: More of the Same for The #UMC
- Grocery store marketing explains the WCA’s Plan of Dissolution for the #UMC
- Resurrecting the UMC: The Simple Plan
- Rage Against the UMC: The Traditionalist Plan
- Realigning the UMC: The OneChurch Plan
- Reversing the UMC: the Connectional Conferences Plan
- The Odd Persistence of Ritter’s Two-Class Methodism
- United Methodists need One Way Forward, not Three
Wesleyan Covenant Association
Posts related to the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a renewal group dedicated to preserving global LGBTQ Exclusion in The United Methodist Church and, failing that, siphoning off the capital, property, and people from The UMC to a new Wesleyan denomination.
- The WCA is just an insurance policy in case their #UMC takeover fails.
- United, Asbury Alumnae Opposing Seminary Support of WCA
- Selling “Confidence,” the WCA reframes the UMC crisis they created
- Three Takeaways from the Wesleyan Covenant Association Founding Document
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA / 05: Being what they claim to hate
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA / 04: Bearing False Witness
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA / 03: Creeping Orthodoxy
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA. 02: Anti-Institutionalism
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA. 01: Partisanship
- The One Thing You Give Up to Join the Wesleyan Covenant Association
- In the Meantime or “Mean Time” of The #UMC?
- What Trump’s Election reveals about the Wesleyan Covenant Association
- Wesleyan Covenant Association: Gathering Storm or Aftershock in The #UMC?
The Folly of Schism
Schism is a sin, according to John Wesley. Here’s some examination of how The UMC seeks schism at its own peril.
- As Go The Mormons, So Go The Methodists?
- UMC Schismatics are now in Plain View…but Why?
- 10 Minutes after Progressives are Exiled from The #UMC
- I know the pieces fit: Tool, Schism, and United Methodist Heartbreak
- Mistaking the Symptoms for the Cause of #UMC Schism
- Schism in the #UMC = Another Round of Oppressing the Minority
- 10 Minutes After the #UMC Splits…
- The Church of Illusion: Framing the Schism spectacle
- Schism? Where do the Progressives go? Nowhere.
- Tom Oden’s Two-Point Test for #UMC Schism
- To Avoid Schism, Let the #UMC Play It Out
- A progressive argument against #UMC Schism
- The Rise of Tea Party Methodism?
- Top 10 Reasons Why Schism Solves Nothing
- Reply to Ted Campbell RE: #UMC Schism
- Schism? Please. Mergers actually solve #UMC controversies.
Scripture, Methodist Beliefs + Practices
Catch-all for various Methodisty qualities not found many other places.
- Methodism: Crowdsourcing before it was cool
- The 53% Problem in the United Methodist Church
- Variety of Membership Vows in the #UMC
- Secret, Private, or Public Evaluations of #UMC Clergy?
- By Whose Authority? Interpretation and the #UMC [Guest Post]
- Methodist Kudzu – The Problem of Beth Moore
- Denominations are Dinosaurs, except when Disaster Strikes
- Seeing Communion Again for the First Time
Correcting Traditionalist Propaganda
Through data or argument analysis, popular appeals are found wanting.
- Three misleading claims in WCA/Good News’ book for GC2019
- The Fake News Epidemic in The United Methodist Church
- Debunked: The bias of the Connectional Table #UMC
- Church Flipping: Who really bought, broke, and wants to sell the #UMC?
- Sleight-of-Hand in a #UMC Unity Plan
- What are #UMC seminarians worth? What cost is acceptable?
Opposing Predatory Methodism
Two practices that Make Methodism Mean Again.
- A Way Backward: The CUP Plan of insufficient grace for the #UMC
- 2/3 of the Via Media Methodists wrote a letter to Remove a #UMC Laity from Local Church Membership
Big Data and Church Metrics
The UMC collects data on their churches obsessively, so what do the data and metrics mean for us?
- When it comes to Race, #UMC Big Data collides with Good News Movement spin
- Comparative Vitality Often Leads to Trouble
- How Big Data disrupts Narratives of #UMC Decline
- Membership Audits call into question General Conference representation
- Debunked: The West costs the #UMC too much
- Which Nation really rules the United Methodist Church?
- A Tale of Two Churches under One Metric
- The #UMC in the False Proxy Trap
Top 100 UMC Issues
The large churches in The UMC seem to operate in their own universe. Here’s some reflections on how that feels to the rest of the connection.
- Three Problems with the Top 25 Growing #UMC List
- Why is a Top 100 #UMC “recruiting” their new Senior Pastor?
- Why do the largest #UMC’s not have female pastors?
- Buyout Power: Will Large Churches trump #UMC Bishops? [2/2]
- Buyout Power: Will Large Churches trump #UMC Bishops? [1/2]
- When Large Church Pastors take the #UMC hostage
- Yes, We ARE your grandmother’s church
- Why do the Top 100 #UMC’s shun Methodism?
- A Dystopian Future for the #UMC 01 – Vulture Churches
- A Dystopian Future for the #UMC 02 – Franchise Churches
- A Dystopian Future for the #UMC 03 – Production Churches
- A Dystopian Future for the #UMC 04 – Caste Churches
- Resisting Dystopia: A Simple Multi-Site Proposal for the #UMC
- FaithfulUMC.com – Holding the Church Ransom?
Young Clergy Issues
I used to be young clergy and here’s some reflections on those experiences.
- Young Clergy Exodus – Stories in the #UMC
- Church Metrics = Young Clergy Brain Drain #UMCYCI
- The Other ‘Death Tsunami’ in the UMC
- “Here, There Be Dragons” for Young Clergy
Inclusion of Women
The UMC is the largest denomination that ordains women, but it still has a long way to go.
- Is United Methodism a Complementarian church?
- We Pray With Her…and you should too.
- Gay Panic harms Women and Equity in The United Methodist Church
- What happened with Women’s Health in The #UMC?
- Guest Post: Trials and Misconduct within the United Methodist Church
- Abusers of Confidentiality and Ambiguity in the #UMC
- Single, Female Pastor? “It’s Complicated”
- In Her Words: Reflections by Clergywomen on Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Church
- Clergywomen are not equal to men
- Clergywomen Wage Gap
- Empty Vessels no more: defending women in the abortion debate
- Personal and Political in the Abortion Debate
On Social Issues
Catch-all category for various social questions, not a full list!
- The Refugee Crisis brings out the best–and worst–of the #UMC
- The Empire can’t handle the Embodied Witness for #SandraBland
- When someone says “The Church is Behind Culture…”
- Seek justice through divestment, not charity through ethical options
- #UMC resources about #Ferguson for churches
- Social Principles = Law in the #UMC?
- Over Age 45? Texas UMC doesn’t want you in ordained ministry
- The UMC doesn’t need Celebrity Culture
The largest growing segment of The UMC is found in Africa, which merits scrutiny and reflection.
- GC2019: May They Be One as We Are One [Guest Post]
- African Bishops and the Leadership We Need in the #UMC
- Zimbabwe loses General Conference 2024 bid due to Anti-LGBT policies
- Time is Ticking on #UMC Tipping Point
- A Missiologist on the UMC, LGBT, and the Africa Question
About General Conference
Correcting assumptions and offering descriptions of what GC really is.
- We Elected Delegates, not Representatives, to General Conference
- 2020 Vision for General Conference 2016
- Why Straight White Men want to close General Conference #UMC
- Dear Media, General Conference is not Popular Opinion. It’s Congress.
- Do #GC2012 Delegation Endorsements Violate ‘Holy Conferencing’? #UMC
- Time to Break Up the UMC Discipline?
About Episcopal Leadership
Bishops are a class by themselves in The UMC: how are they doing?
- The UMC is Hanging by a Thread from the Bishops’ Robes
- Are Bishops Thermometers or Thermostats in the #UMC?
- Who do Bishops Think They Are? #UMC
- What Birthing Assistant does the UMC need?
PlanUMC and the Call To Action
Back from 2010-2016, another effort to centralize and cut out diversity was launched. Here’s our historic and unprecedented opposition to this ultimately failed effort. Yes, keep scrolling! Whew!
- PlanUMC: A Flesh Wound or a Final Blow?
- From a Majority to a Hegemony in the #UMC
- Primer on Structural Proposals for #UMC General Conference 2016
- PlanUMC: Executive Overreach in the #UMC
- PlanUMC: The Phantom Menace in the #UMC
- Would Judicial Review have saved the #CallToAction’s PlanUMC?
- Response: Scott Campbell – PlanUMC was Unconstitutional
- Essay: Lonnie Brooks – PlanUMC was Constitutional
- Plan UMC Fails, Pass the Agency Petitions!
- PlanUMC: Process or Product? #GC2012
- Long Live the Zombie Church? #CallToAction
- Plan B’s Focus on Money in #CallToAction Conversation
- Plan B is Enforcing Plan A #CallToAction
- A Picture is worth $250k #CallToAction #UMC
- No Large Southern Church Left Behind #CallToAction
- Blowback: Lamenting an Open-Source #CallToAction
- #UMC Bishops Question #CallToAction Governance
- #CallToAction enters Spin City
- Where are Young Adult Voices in the #CallToAction?
- Lost Values of the #CallToAction 02: Togetherness
- Lost Values of the #CallToAction 01: Humility
- #CallToAction Roundup for Concerned UMC Folks (There’s like 10 more in this category, so this compilation post handles the rest of them)
Failing to uphold Covenant
Conservatives accuse progressives of failing to uphold the Clergy Covenant, but there are other covenants about missional responsibilities and tithes that conservatives love to ignore.
- A Hostile Takeover during a #UMC Ceasefire
- Quick Update on Breakaway #UMC church case
- The #UMC Covenant will be Stronger in #NextMethodism
- Practice the #UMC Covenant Before You Prosecute
- As goes Mississippi, so goes The #UMC
- As goes Mississippi, so goes The #UMC, Part Two
- What really happens when a church leaves the #UMC
- The collateral damage of withholding tithes #UMC
- Faceless Accountability is no way to save the #UMC Covenant
- While the #UMC was distracted by Covenant, Wesley Church broke the Connection
- When Churches withhold tithes, they only hurt themselves
- Star Trek: The Prime Directive and Clergy Covenants
- The Error of Divesting from the UMC, Progressive Edition
- Violating the Discipline to show violating the Discipline is wrong
- Top 25 ways United Methodists don’t uphold the Book of Discipline
- When Covenants Compete in the #UMC, Which Do You Choose?
- Wisconsin: Clergy Covenant is a Practice not a Punishment
- Did your Pastor break the Covenant on Sunday?
- Holding the #UMC Hostage 01 – The Setting
- Holding the UMC Hostage 02 – The Blueprint
- Holding the UMC Hostage 03 – Collateral Damages
- Holding the UMC Hostage 04 – The Conclusion
- Response to “Hostage” series by Andy Langford
Brief category on technology–and since this is a UMC post, it’s mostly about failures.
- The sad tale of the free Book of Discipline
- Why Cokesbury Failed 01: Automated Catalog
- Why Cokesbury Failed 02 – Over-Centralization
- Movement or Institution? Towards A Third Way for United Methodism
Wesleyan Accountability and Accuracy
Folks love to quote John Wesley, but what did he actually mean by his theology and his writings?
- Wesley Didn’t Say It: Persistence and Preaching
- The End of Wesleyan Accountability in the #UMC
- WWJWD? The Problem of Wesleyan Originalism
- Chiming In on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral
- What North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Alabama reveal about the #UMC
- Reversing Wesley: Wesleyanism in an Upside-Down World?
- Rewarding False Proxies for Discipleship in the #UMC
- John Wesley thought the Nicene Creed was Weaksauce
On Progressive Methodism
Methodism is a big tent and sometimes you have to really focus on what progressives really teach and practice.
- The Battle for Middle Methodism Has Begun
- Progressives and the Uniting Methodists 03: A Hundred Blooms
- Progressives and the Uniting Methodists 02: Biblical Reflection
- Progressives and the Uniting Methodists 01: Fault Lines
- Where do Progressives go if the #UMC Turns Against Them?
- The Othering of #UMC Progressives in a Church called to Love
- Non-Conformity and Hope from Creative Minorities in The #UMC
- Seeking the Expulsion of Progressives from the #UMC
- The Nazarenes are running off their progressives. Is the #UMC next?
- 3 Ways the #UMC gets Progressive Methodism shockingly wrong
On Western Methodism
A special place in my heart for the West because I moved here in 2012 from the Bible Belt, and now I advocate for our scrappy region.
- Will the Scrappy West Overcome The #UMC With Love?
- Has the #UMC abandoned Discipling Resources for the West & Northeast?
- Followup: Is Cokesbury better resourcing the West and Northeast? #umc
- Doing Away with the Western #UMC?
- The West Will Resource the Rest #UMC
Whew, congrats, your scrolling wheel or fingers are now broken. Thanks for reading and sharing!