Baby Steps...

At the end of this month, I will initiate a process which will break with at least five generations of women in my family. I will be taking my first offical steps away from the United Methodist Church. Of course, if you know some history, you know that the UMC has only been around since 1968, but before that, when it was just the Methodist Church, and even farther back-- to the Methodist Episcopal Church, Potter women were there.

My Gram refers to herself as a "dancing Methodist"-- when she was a girl, there were rules against drinking, dancing, and cards. Methodists, and the Methodist Church were very active in the temperance movement in general, and Methodist Women were a driving force in the WCTU specifically.

The history, the liturgy, these are where my heart lies. My very identity as a Christian start here. I have strong spiritual roots in this church. It is not easy to walk away from that.

I wanted to be able to stay and fight. I did stay and fight for a number of years. But when a friend asked me why I stayed and I could no longer answer with conviction, I knew something must change. When we were faced with a pastor who, from the pulpit, disputed the very Gospels he was charged to teach we stayed and fought. When faced with a Bishop who actively flouted scriptural teachings, we stayed and fought. When confronted with the apostasy of our pastor, we followed scriptural instructions and fought. We have no fight left in us. We exhausted ourselves spiritually. It is hard to fight the Adversary when he is in your living room.
A friends told me that "it sounds like this ministry needs to die." I was shocked by this harsh statement, and offended. But now I see some of his point. I do want to state, unequivocally, that I do not think the UMC needs to die. But I do think that some branches need to be culled.

Unfortunately, we have geography against us out here. Check out the Desert Southwest Conference website sometime to see what I mean.

I will miss the liturgy. That is probably the hardest part. But I can continue to follow the RCL in my personal study, and if I really want to, I can go sit in on a service anytime. What I cannot do, is be in full communion with a church which allows the Gospel to be abused and abandoned.

My heart will always be in the UMC, but I am afraid my faith is elsewhere.

April 23 is the day I will be taking steps, but it is my opinion that the UMC walked away from me long ago.


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