Monday, June 12, 2006

diversity at annual conference

Thanks for the encouraging comments that everyone left on my previous post about annual conference. Its such a mixed bag of feelings. Its great seeing friends and having a good time with them. But then there's the frustration that goes with the "housekeeping" side of things.

One of the interesting dynamics at large United Methodist gatherings has to do with the incredible degree of diverse opinion. Every year there are a number of people who wear yellow-orange-pink sashes that let everyone else know that they are in support of the ordination of self-avowed practicing homosexuals. For some reason, they want everyone to know. I'm not sure how helpful it is for them to do this. Sure, its good to stand up for what you believe in, but it seems divisive as well.

It seems that part of our "marriage agreement" as members of a theologically diverse denomination is that we will respect one another's opinions and agree to work and live together. I was wondering if I should make a big sash that had a Bible on it to let people know that I'm a conservative near-fundamentalist evangelical? Would that help promote unity? Would that persuade people that didn't support my view to support it?

Even with the strange sashes, I find it pretty awesome that I can be in relationship with so many people who have a different theology than I do. I found out that one pastor who has been a friend of mine for some time is very theologically (not necessarily politically) liberal. When I admit the fact that I like having friendships and working with people I disagree with, its an indicator that I am still called to be a United Methodist.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Like you, Jason, I tend to view those who try to advertise a "statement" with a little suspicion. I have a very hard time trusting those whom I perceive to have an ulterior motive. The sash-wearers are, in my opinion, bucking for a fight and not seeking to engage anyone in dialogue though I admit I could be wrong. It has been my experience that those who advertise conservative or liberal causes are not geared for "discussion".

But if being in disagreement is the mark of a "united" Methodist, then I guess we are all about as "united" as we will ever be!