If you heard a boom last week, it was the explosive notification sent to my email regarding the Traditionalist Plan. In researching and verifying its claims, we’ve found the Traditionalist Plan’s cruel overreach is death on pensions for active clergy, and on the future sustainability of The United Methodist Church.
Traditionalist Plan on Clergy Pensions
One of the major plans for General Conference 2019 (and arguably one of the top two) is the Traditionalist Plan, which strengthens language against LGBTQ inclusion and continues The United Methodist Church on the same course it has been on. But there’s a disturbing novelty in the legislation that bears scrutiny because of the incredible impact it will have if passed.
A key component of the Traditionalist Plan is that Annual Conferences can become a “self-governing church.” This happens either by a vote of the AC, or when the conference is forced out for not agreeing to all the certifications in the Traditionalist Plan (such as “Will you force candidates to divorce their same-gender spouse to be ordained? Will you remove the pension and tax benefits from retired clergy who officiate same-gender weddings?”). Either way, an entire annual conference could be exited to become its own self-governing church.
There’s a lot to this component, but today we are looking at just one aspect: how it affects clergy pensions in the exited conference. To be clear, this is only about pensions as relating to an annual conference exiting the denomination, not individual clergy or churches that exit on their own. Clear? Great.
Exited, Sequestered, and Capped
According to the text of the Traditionalist Plan, there’s two important lines about pensions and exited annual conferences:
- First, the forced-out conference would have their defined benefit programs sequestered. Defined benefit is based on years of service from funds deposited by one’s annual conference. Currently, if an annual conference fails to make a payment on their defined benefit program all the other conferences are made to contribute to cover the deficit so the retired clergy from that conference still receive their monthly support (for example, Detroit had been covering North Georgia’s pension until 1982). Sequestered would mean the end of the other conferences guaranteeing that particular conference should there be a deficit in the accounts or a failure to make a payment. The self-governing church will have to pay for their own benefits (although the costs will be higher because the guarantee is gone) if they are separated.
- Second, the benefits to the clergy would also be capped. Capped would mean that there would be no future accruals to clergy in the program: their retirement benefit would be set at today’s rates instead of at the higher rates when the clergy person retires as is the current program (such as no 2% annual increases in defined benefit payments after retirement, benefits extended to surviving spouses, etc).
In summary, the Traditionalist Plan severs the pension plan of an exited Annual Conference from The United Methodist Church. All the money accumulated from active and retired clergy goes with the annual conference, of course, but protections and benefits previously guaranteed are removed, which raises costs substantially for the exited conference.
Can the exited conference establish a new pension arrangement with Wespath? Yes. But the “sequestration and capping” will impact the benefits earned for years already worked by the clergyperson.
Traditionalist Plan takes $300,000 from the average Clergy
The legalese hides a stark reality: clergy in an annual conference exited by the Traditionalist Plan would lose, on average, $300,000 in benefits.
This is a link to a Wespath (pensions) paper on what this would mean for clergy persons in such a conference that is forced out. While each clergy person would experience this differently, they share a case study based on the
- A 50 year old clergy person who remains in The UMC and retires in 15 years would have a benefit worth $480,473 for the 20 years of service they completed to date under the current program.
- The same person, if they are part of a conference exited to “self-governing” status by the Traditionalist Plan, would have a benefit of $185,815 for those same years of service already completed.
Yes. The average clergyperson loses $300,000 by their conference being forced out. Read the presentation paper to see the numbers. Incredible!
The Money vs. The Rhetoric
While Traditionalist Plan supporters enjoy calling pension concerns hysteria and conspiracy theories, Wespath has now offered hard evidence to back up these concerns.
The Traditionalist Plan supporters within United Methodism have again and again called the Traditionalist Plan a “gracious exit” for conferences based on personal conscience. The Confessing Movement’s January eNews continues this narrative:
[The Traditionalist Plan] “Offers a gracious, non-punitive pathway for annual conferences, congregations, bishops, and clergy who cannot, because of conscience, abide by our shared covenant to exit from the denomination, rather than trying to coerce people into remaining part of a covenant they do not support.”
Gracious? Non-punitive? Such rhetoric is far removed from the actual impact.
As outlined in the previous section, the financial devastation for clergy members of an annual conference is far from “gracious.” The words “gracious” and “freedom of conscience” Obscure that clergypersons would give up $300,000 in average benefits. All because they stayed with an exited annual conference, with their colleagues and region for years or decades, even if they didn’t “violate the Discipline” themselves.
It turns out the Confessing Movement is correct: it’s not a punishment because it hurts people who have done nothing wrong but happen to belong to a separated conference. Is that who we are as a church, punishing innocent clergy?
The Scorched Earth Endgame
The Traditionalist Plan is fixated on punishing people, cruelly casting out entire annual conferences without regard to the innocent clergy affected. But the repercussions ripple far beyond their targets. The unprecedented financial costs of exiting entire annual conferences have serious impact on our ability to do our mission in the near and immediate future.
Let’s say the Traditionalist Plan passes and a newly-retributive UMC casts out the Western Jurisdiction and half of the Northeastern Jurisdiction. The conservative and moderate (and some progressive) members do not leave and remain part of United Methodism—but some without churches or conference appointments. Suddenly the UMC is stuck with a glut of clergy who must be appointed, pension liabilities to be paid, and a dearth of churches to appoint them to (with any level of equitable compensation to a full elder).
Add to this scenario that there is a strong possibility that conservative churches and clergy will find a way to exit United Methodism. When that happens, churches and clergy affiliated with the Wesleyan Covenant Association will leave, removing even more pulpits and churches from paying into the pension pool. Even moderate megachurches who can afford to pay more of their pastors’ pensions—and could avoid paying $1million/year in apportionments—would exit, diminishing revenue streams substantially. The end result is that the remaining pension liability will skyrocket per church that is left behind.
Finally, the Traditionalist Plan will result in thousands of lawsuits. If an annual conference is driven from the denomination and this results in a six figure cost to every clergy person in each of those conferences, a class action lawsuit is inevitable. The funds required for defense or paying settlements or judgments would take even more money from the pension fund and apportionments.
And that’s the end of United Methodism. Without streams of income from pulpits on the left and the right, the mushy middle will collapse under the increasingly self-focused fundraising to honor pensions and fight lawsuits. Without a common mission and without a growing source of funds, United Methodism will fall to a sliver of its old self as its once great mission of “The world is my parish” becomes “The pensions must be funded first.”
And we did it by voting for the Traditionalist Plan.
I’ve been tracking the ways how secular society’s values and practices has infiltrated The UMC (1,2,3,4,5), but this one takes the cake: Wanting to defeat your political opponents so completely that you don’t care about the harm done to unrelated clergy and churches. I thought the retributive aspect of the Traditionalist Plan was limited to progressives seeking LGBTQ inclusion, but it turns out supporters want to shoot through the heart of Methodism to do it.
No amount of “pass it and we can fix it later” pleas can address the inherent problems of exiting an annual conference. And without that component, the Traditionalist Plan is just more of the same policies of the past 50 years.
United Methodism deserves better.
I want to say again these financial concerns and numbers come directly from Wespath. Contact them directly. Talk to your delegates directly. Do not let these claims be dismissed as fake news because Traditionalists hate this blog’s investigative reporting–they must be engaged as a factual concern.
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing this article with your General Conference delegate.
Great writing. I am more convinced than ever that Satan is using the Traditionalists
Wesley R Smith
What if, in the eyes of God, the traditionalists are right? Through prayer & reading the bible I am convinced the traditional view is correct. Even so, I would NEVER refer to the more progressive members as being used by Satan. We disagree, I still love you all. If our church splits, it splits and we will manage financially however we must. God will decide who is right.
Wespath wrote all the language in each of the three Way Forward Plans related to pensions, including the Traditional Plan. One Wespath plan has to end so a new Wespath plan can begin. There is nothing punitive about this. It is just part of the legal process involved. Please retract this misinformation.
One Church plan is the only solution
Chris, ending the current Wespath plan for active clergy means a dramatic reduction in their pension expectations for years already worked. No new Wespath plan can make up for the loss for years worked earlier. Because it is legal does not make it fair or just or Christian. Pointing out the dramatic impact upon clergy for the traditional plan is not misinformation. Wespath is telling us what is necessary legally to protect the succeeding UMC and they are telling us the costs to the clergy in the separated conference.
Clergy in separated conferences face dramatic personal consequences. Let us evaluate the Traditional Plan with fully knowledge of its impact and with a Christian heart.
Ah, so now Wespath contributed to writing the TP? I thought it was AWF. I mean a small unidentified group of bishops. I mean whoever shared it with Maxie Dunnam so he could write a revised version.
The story keeps changing. Looks like trafficking in misinformation is the TP’s practice, not mine.
Given the amount of misinformation and misrepresentation of progressives that Chris Ritter is responsible for, he has limited basis to ask for retractions.
Jeremy: Did you run this analysis by anyone at Pensions? Can they (will they) go on record about this?
Yes. I called them, got the runaround with their customer service, and asked to be called back by an appropriate person. Didn’t happen before publication. I am happy to amend if their own white paper was wrong
Typical of you Jeremy. Facts and truth are unfamiliar to you.
Thanks my Texas friend!
Elizabeth Ingram Schindler
My understanding of this Wespath legislation was that it’s not tied to the Traditionalist plan at all, but would apply if the One Church Plan passed and conservative clergy left, as well. So my read was that it wasn’t arbitrarily punitive against progressives who leave (or get pushed out) but was designed to keep clergy in the connection. Have I missed a big piece that says this is primarily about the TP? Thanks for helping me clarify!
One Church plan is the only solution
Wespath wrote legislation meant to apply to all plans that deals with a departing clergy member (by their choice) or a departing local church. Only in the traditional plan is there text about a departing annual conference. And it is this narrow choice that Jeremy is writing about. see petition #90041 (ADCA page 186) new paragraph 2801.9.b.
Elizabeth Ingram Schindler
One more thing: more info is available about this and all the Wespath Way Forward-related stuff on their FAQ page: https://www.wespath.org/wayforwardwespathfaq/
Hi Elizabeth! The Wespath legislation is separate from the Traditionalist Plan (or what is left from it). This article is specifically about if an annual conference leaves the connection under the Traditionalist Plan. It has a different effect than if an individual clergy leaves or a local church leaves. “Departing clergy” refers to those who are part of an annual conference that leaves, not ones that leave of their own volition.
This is the dumbest article you’ve written. My longest career while running from God’s call to ministry was as a life-insurance actuary. The numbers in your “Wespath (pensions) paper” are obvious, and only relevant to your “case study … agerage UMC clergyperson” if he/she quits working at age 50. For instance, one of my employers while working as an actuary was AIG. (To my own discredit, I have not yet moved my benefits from them to a personal IRA, but that makes my point that much easier). The total of all retirement benefit that I will receive from AIG is LESS THAN ONE YEAR OF THE SALARY I EARNED THERE. Does this concern me? Not in the least. I have worked (other careers, and for the past 11 years, in the UMC ministry) since then. I don’t expect an organization from which I was “exited” to continue to accrue additional retirement benefits.
Elizabeth Ingram Schindler
Randy, it’s not just that an exited clergy person doesn’t continue accruing benefits, it’s that the money already accrued doesn’t continue gaining interest. It goes into an annuity rather than being rolled over into an IRA or somewhere else that it can grow.
Hi Randy, I’m glad to receive the award you’ve just given! Thanks! Your interpretation of the facts is in error, however, though I grieve your experience with other organizations. This is about whether a UM clergyperson continues their career (and retires 15 years from now) under the UMC as it currently is, or as part of an exited annual conference.
To imply that clergy who separate at 50 years old will retire with $300,000 less in total retirement assets than clergy who stays in the current Wespath plan assumes that no contributions are made on behalf (or by) the separated clergy from the age of 50 (when separated) until 65 years old into any (other) retirement plan.
Years ago I worked for General Motors and was eligible for their retirement benefits. I left GM in my 30’s. It is reasonable to assume that I will have considerably less in General Motors retirement assets when I retire at age 65 than someone who worked for GM for 40 years and retired from GM at age 65. However, I have participated in several employer contributed retirement plans at the other companies for which I have worked since leaving General Motors and I am confident (I did the math) that I will have more total retirement assets than I would have had I stayed with GM until age 65.
It would be more accurate to say that the aforementioned 50 year old separated clergy’s retirement assets will have @ $300,000 less in retirement assets generated from the current Wespath Plan than clergy who stay in the same plan 15 years longer, but said separated clergy will have considerably more assets from other retirement plan(s) than those clergy who did not separate.
Your last sentence is confusing to me, Don. Are you saying separated clergy will be better off than UM clergy, despite the losses in defined benefit? I’d be very interested in those numbers, because if true, then why aren’t we all doing it? 😉
No Jeremy. I am saying that during those 15 years (from 50-65) we cannot assume that the separated clergy (in your example) will not invest in other retirement plans. If the separated clergy do invest in other retirement plans during those 15 years, at 65 years they will have retirement funds from multiple sources while the person who retires from the current Wespath plan will (theoretically) have funds from one source of funds. Both clergy should have relatively the same amount of retirement assets at age 65 they would have had regardless of the plan in which they (or their church/conference) invests.
One clergy person (non-separated will have more in Westpath (one plan) while the other will have more in in multiple plans
Thanks Don and Katie. Length of service matters and compounds differently in one pot than in two. So to say one will be higher than the other seems too speculative. But to compare no current plan with a determined plan like Wespath did is valid comparison.
Wow, Jeremy. You accuse those who disagree with you of being “too speculative.”
You use a form from Warpath projecting benefits, comparing apples & oranges (One pastor who continues in an organization that contributes to Wespath and another who does not) and then refer to those who point out that this will not be the sum total of retirement benefits for the general “exited” pastor (who will contribute to some other plan), and then complain about “too speculative.”
I used to respect your opinions; while I generally disagreed, they were at least reasoned opinions. You’ve lost that respect.
I agree with Don here. Any person who changes jobs would have less in pensions benefits from their former employer than if they had stayed. What your article (and Wespath’s numbers) don’t account for are the additional pension that would be accumulated in the new church and/or other work.
A piece that is important is that length of service matters. To say there is NO impact is inaccurate, also, because essentially you are starting from scratch and the way our defined benefit works, the longer you serve, the more you get. Even if the plan was identical, it would be two smaller portions added together rather than one large portion. But Wespath can’t give you those numbers, because they can’t imagine or forecast what a new pensions plan would look like in a new church that doesn’t yet exist.
One Church plan is the only solution
Katie – If you are 50 years old and you open your pension statement on the value you’ve earned so far in retirement, that statement will read $480,000 if you’re in a conference that stays in the UMC and it will read $180,000 if you are in a conference the traditional plan forces out of the denomination for taking steps of inclusion. Yes, a person has 15 more years to work and add pension. But that is immaterial to this analysis. The clergy in the pension plan that has been frozen starts their final 15 years of work in a dramatically disadvantaged position. the analysis compares only the 10 years ALREADY WORKED and has nothing to do with what might happen for ages 50-72 or what plan might be in place for those years. For some people their first 10 years of service will be $200,000 less than the same 10 years of service worked by someone else. People struggle to accept the reality of this because it’s so cruel it is hard to imagine that is in the plan. It is. Jeremy is right.
One Church plan is the only solution
Don, i understand your point about the value of future years of service. But i think you continue to overlook the impact of freezing a defined benefit program and eliminating future accruals as proposed by the traditional plan. allow me to put some numbers on this as an explanation (and i’m drawing from the document in Jeremy’s link.
The example is a pastor who works between 2007 and 2018 (let’s say 11 years). In a frozen plan, when the clergy person retires they will receive 1.25% of 2018 denominational compensation for each year worked between 2007 and 2013 ($877 times those 5 years) and 1% of 2018 denominational compensation for each year worked between 2013 and 2018 ($702 times those 5 years). this totals $7,897 each year for as long as the clergy person lives starting with their retirement year 2033. Now, let’s compare that to the benefit a clergy person receives if they stay in the UMC in a non-frozen plan (which is to say, the benefit people expected when they worked). They receive 1.25% of the 2033 denominational compensation (the year they retire) for each year they worked between 2007 and 2013 ($1,335 for those 5 years) and 1% of 2033 denominational compensation for each year they worked between 2013 and 2018 ($1,068 times 5 years). this totals $12,017 each year for as long as the clergy person lives after retirement.
When a plan is frozen the pension is calculated at today’s rate per service year, not the rate for service year in the future. And this is a benefit calculated on the years you’ve already worked and future employment has no bearing on it.
Add to this, and i’m getting this from the linked sheet, in a frozen plan there is no death benefit for clergy or spouses, a $36,824 loss for the clergy person in a frozen plan relative to a non-frozen plan.
I read your post to say that a person with 40 years of service will have a higher pension than one with 10 years of service. that’s true, certainly. but by making the plan a frozen plan, the payment per year of service is cut steeply. and that’s something delegates should know before voting for the traditional plan. frozen plan clergy will get $700 per year of service where not frozen plan clergy will get $1,000 for the years they worked between 2007 and 2018 – no matter where they work in the future
Death benefit is not part of the pension plan. Death and disability are part of CPP, a completely separate program. Your new employer/denomination/church would have to option of setting up a death and disaiblity program for you if you leave the UMC. True now, true later, true in the business world, and not in any way a conspiracy.
Wespath has proposed drawing a line in time at which the defined benefit plans will be fully funded and then converted to a defined contribution plan. This is the way out of the mess of having annual conferences, churches, pastors in constant motion. Each clergy person will have an account that they own…just like in the private sector….that follows them wherever they end up. The sooner this happens the better.
Taylor W. Burton-Edwards
Not really how that works, Henry. It’s only while under appointment by an eligible UMPIP plan contributor that you or a UM employer (can contribute to your current PIP. Yes, that money is yours (sort of), but not as in a traditional or Roth IRA that is wholly owned by you. Because it’s not a traditional or Roth IRA. It’s a pension fund tied to a particular pension plan that restricts who can contribute to it, how much, and under what conditions.
Trust me– this is my situation right now. I CAN contribute to UMPIP now, because of where I am appointed.
But if I were not under appointment to an approved UMPIP plan sponsor (and if congregations or conferences leave or get cast out, they’re no longer UMPIP plan sponsors) then I can’t contribute to that plan any more.
Don’t believe me? Read the eligiblity requirements that have ALWAYS stated this on Wespath’s website: https://www.wespath.org/retirement/plans/umpip/
I think Henry’s point is that, if you leave to UMC, you can rollover your UMPIP to the pension of your new employer, or to an IRA. That is true now.
Jeremy, great work. Thank you for sticking with it until you had some numbers. One bit of feedback about language: I think you got it right at the end of the post when you talk about “unrelated clergy and churches.” Earlier in the post you used the language of guilt and innocence (innocent clergy). I think this piece will be stronger if you edit to unify the language and get rid of the idea of guilt and innocence (regarding positions taken on inclusion) in this analysis. There are many obvious reasons why that language is problematic, but the pressing reason I have for this post is that it distracts from the new information you are delivering by introducing polarizing language (that I believe is inconsistent with your actual position, but that’s irrelevent for thinpoint) to factual analysis. Thanks again!
There doesn’t seem to be any “boom” to Wespath’s information, nor extra sinister plot by traditionalist. If I leave the denomination if the One Church Plan passes, it appears I’ll be in the same pension situation as those who leave because the Traditional Plan passes. Obviously, I’d be in better shape staying in the organization from a pension standpoint. I don’t know what is so devious about this.
J David Trawick
And where is the analysis explaining that if the OCP passes and many of us evangelicals leave, there are also pension implications for us??? But we are the ones who took our ordination vows seriously, have upheld the rules of the church as expressed in the BOD (and the BIBLE, btw), and have provided leadership for the only portions of the UMC that are growing! Meanwhile, libs who crossed their fingers when ordained and/or consecrated are whining about what will happen to them if they refuse to live by the promises they made??? Seriously?
Jeremy you are assuming that the conference forced out will not have a pension plan for their ministers or use Wespath which I believe the proposals still give all access too. But you make the case for several issues. 1. We need to get rid of the pension plan, all of which are pyramid schemes and replace them with 403B’s which are what our PT locals are on. A much better idea for the conference’s and the pastors. 2. Your case for how the traditional plan will cause the pension plan to crash is also the case for why the OCP will cause the pension plan to crash. The OCP will cause many of the large evangelical churches to use their financial power and mortgages that the conferences can’t afford to assume to negotiate an exit. They are the “fatted Calves” of the denomination and without them the pension plan and conference budgets will crash. Most of the smaller churches are rural and conservative (the laity nationally is much more conservative than the national clergy). Reason and the experience of other denominations has taught us that these churches will loose members at a rapid rate, especially in the first five years. As these churches loose members they will go into survival mode and payments of apportionment’s will dry up. It may not be a lot from any one church, but as a group it will be significant and again the pension plans and the conference budgets will suffer. You will also have far fewer churches that can afford an elder, which is already happening today. The only solution is an amicable split that allows churches and pastors the freedom to decide what group to associate with and that provides for any former UM group to continue to use Wespath and continue to add to their pension plans or 403B’s. Quite frankly the TP, OCP, and Simple plans will lead to chaos and the death of the UMC without providing for healthy successor denominations.
This article completely misses the point. Why did Wespath create and distribute the brochure the author references? To point out how the current system works. This is not about ANY plan; it describes the current system, and what the effect of potential actions would be under that system.
What is RECOMMENDED is that DB pensions be converted to a current market cash value, and paid to departing clergy. It’s all in Wespath’s proposal. The brochure was created to document why converting to a cash basis is desirable.
Nothing hidden, nothing secret. Clear facts that apply to everyone equally, and a recommendation to mitigate the negative impact.
You obviously “adapted” the Wespath graphic to conceal the facts, thus falsifying your argument. This is what you cut out, the comparison is based on these two hypotheticals:
Example Benefit Comparison
Age 50 clergyperson
Age 50 clergyperson
who remains in the
UMC and retires
7/1/2033 at age 65
The discrepancy in retirement benefits occurs purely due to shorter service for someone leaving at age 50 vs. someone leaving at age 65. Such a discrepancy would occur in any pension plan at any organization. If a pastor leaves the UMC due to disagreement on any issue, the same situation would occur. This has nothing to do with the adoption of any one of the proposals at hand, yet you insinuate that it is the Traditional Plan’s fault. Your obvious bias and ignorance of facts cause me to disregard any of your arguments; you do a disservice to your cause!
One Church plan is the only solution
No. you are wrong.
in the example, the clergyperson does not terminate conference membership. they retain their conference membership as the conference is sent out of the denomination.
the example compares the same 11.5 years of service for each clergyperson, working from 2007 through 2018. It has nothing to do with pension earned for service after 2018.
what changes between the two is the rate at which those 11.5 years of service earn pensions, not the number of years. When a conference is sent out, the pension is frozen at the rate of per year of service the year of exit, 2018 in the example. The CRSP plan allows for inflation and sets the rate per year of service at the denominational average at the year of retirement. in a frozen plan there is no inflation in the rate per year of service that is what is meant when the traditional plan requires “accruals and benefit improvements under the CRSP shall cease…” One clergy person enjoys adjustments for inflation. the clergyperson in the frozen plan does not. it will add up to a lot of money.
He is correct.
Thank you for confirming my position (even though you tell me I’m wrong…) Like I said, the clergy member who leaves the UMC loses earnings during the 15 years that the other one continues to work. That is what WESPATH’ S chart indicates, just like any pension plan anywhere at any organization.
I am not wrong; a reduction in benefits occurs to any departing clergy no matter which plan is selected, if no plan is selected, or to any random person working at any company with a pension plan. It has always worked that way at any organization at any time throughout history (how can you not understand that?).
If you depart the UMC, you will forgoe pension benefits. Jeremy is implicating the Traditional Plan as the only plan that punishes departing clergy unfairly but that is patently false.
One Church plan is the only solution
Great. we agree. if an annual conference departs there is a “reduction in benefits”. it is not benign. And only the Traditional Plan contemplates an annual conference departure (by force or by choice). the outcome would have a cost impact on the pension expectations for clergy persons. Clergy voting for their conference to leave face an immediate “reduction in benefits”. And when an annual conference is forced out that “reduction in benefits” is realized upon all clergy in that conference.
Jeremy isn’t wrong to point out this circumstance.
Great, let’s agree on what we both know to be true; isn’t is great when two people can come from different opinions and find agreement.
The reason that is possible is because we looked at the facts and left them to speak for themselves. Jeremy, on the other hand inflames and distorts facts to meet his world view. In the process he alienates others and plays the “Victim” card, which is distasteful and a road to self-destruction. Should he vacate the UMC, he should do so with his head held high, knowing that he made the right choice, and looking to the future rather than looking backward at “How those people cheated me”.
Jeremy, I suspect (hope) you are reading this and find a better path in your search for truth and serenity. Peace to you.
Well, it seems we have our own version of Buzzfeed and MSNBC and CNN on this blog. Hair-On-Fire Fake News attempting to scare people and manipulate them to act in a particular way. OR maybe this blog is the UMC version of “The Onion?” OK, then everyone should just relax and laugh at the parady and satire disguised as “news.”
Sadly, even though Rev. Smith’s blog has been documented in these “comments” as, at best, woefully misinformed and intentionally alarmist, he retracts nothing. His misleading and harmful title remains, and his inaccurate information is still up. It may be that we are well into tabloid journalism here. I guess when you are in a “holy war” you can justify any lack of truthfulness and veracity.
Perhaps the title of this blog should be changed to “Hatchet Christianity”.
Derek, conversations are happening offline and I’ll offer a follow up when I’m able, naming what i got wrong and what continues to be true. Until there is clarity and permission, posting a follow-up is not helpful.
Leaving this misinformation up while you know it is not so isn’t helpful either. Take it down while you regroup. I can’t tell you how many questions I am fielding about this.
Oh the inaccuracy is in the $300k number—that has gone down a bit in some cases, about half in others. The rest of it (forced expulsion from CRSP, sequestering and capping, etc) are all accurate.
So your calls are worried about appropriate things if the Traditionalist Plan is passed and I hope you are doing your job to offer informed responses. You work for the conference, not the General Board, and your responsibility is to your conference clergy first. In my opinion.
Last time I checked, my responsibility is to my God. God’s people were well taken care of long before there was ever a UMC, UMPIP, CRSP, WXYZ… If pension plans and death benefits are among our top concerns for the church and society, the maybe we deserve to fade away as a denomination.