Wednesday, November 29, 2006

my withdrawl from The Methoblog

Today, I withdrew from The Methoblog. I think Jay Voorhees is providing a wonderful ministry through The Methoblog and his other site, and I plan to still read them and benefit from them.

My main reason for withdrawing at this time is that is appears that my views are a shade or two more conservative than most of the other folks on the blogroll. Although I respect their right to post their views and comment passionately on mine, I don't blog primarily for the purpose of debate. Debate is important and necessary, but too much can make a person spend a lot of energy feeling as though he has to defend himself and justify himself. This kind of debate is not where I feel I need to be putting my energy right now.

I will continue to blog and offer what I consider to be my theologically conservative evangelical views at this site. Another blogger and I are currently tossing around the idea of starting an "Evangelical Methodist Blogroll." This would not be in any way to compete with or take the place of The Methoblog. Rather, as we all feel strongly about our convictions, I feel strongly about mine. I would like to have a list of like-minded evangelical United Methodist pastors and lay people to offer.

While I respect the views of people in the more "centrist," "moderate," or "liberal" camp, I don't agree with them about many faith issues and they don't agree with me. Rather than pretend that I have so much in common with them, I would rather focus on providing meaningful blogging for those who are committed to the conservative evangelical position.

In the meantime, thank you to Jay Voorhees and everyone at The Methoblog. May God lead us all in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

If anyone is interested in being the part of the formation of an Evangelical Methodist Blogroll, let me know your thoughts.

I'm sure the question will arise, "How do you define 'evangelical'?" This is a necessary discussion and I'm sure I'll blog more on it later.

18 comments:

Daniel McLain Hixon said...

gosh, I wasn't really even aware of "Methoblog" - I could have perhaps joined with you in being criticized from time to time. Too late now, I suppose? I would be interested in an Evangelical Methodist Blogrole (especially if it means I get more hits, mwahahaha!); I consider myself evangelical, but other evangelicals might think of me more as a traditionalist? Or a charismatic? I dont know. All these labels are so confusing; ha!

CSDL said...

I can't believe I'm the first commenter on this.

While I feel a little hypocritical saying this (as I myself have not joined Methoblog, nor am I planning to), I think you really should reconsider withdrawing from the Methoblog. At the least, its a good way to keep your blog visible to the community of Methodist bloggers. You are by no means the only 'evangelical' that is on the blog.

Please reconsider your withdraw.

That being said, should you really create a "Methodist Evangelical Blogroll?" Why would you want to stratify the community in that way? (As you said, what is evangelical) The UMC is an open and welcoming community (with open hearts, minds, doors, and blogrolls)

Jason, don't leave the blogroll to create your own. Help keep the blogroll diverse :-)

God Bless!
CSDL

j2 said...

Count me in as a reader and commenter certainly. Blogging hasn't been a high priority in my life yet.

You know Jason, it is uplifting to me to see you take a stance, and I support you in this. I recently withdrew from the UMC congregation I had been involved with for only a year for exactly the same reasons. On paper and historically Methodism is a direction of faith that I agree with and would like to follow. Unfortunately, I found out that UMC has lost its salt and is too dangerous for me personally. I need a group that has convictions and lives by them. It was a very sad realization for me.

If I had been a long standing member of the UMC it would make sense for me to stay and defend truth. But I am new(as an adult) to committing myself to a church of any kind. The UMC will have to save itself without me! ;) So I am on a search for a more healthy church. Maybe Wesleyn or other alt varieties of Methodism. Maybe some kind of Pentacostal or even Catholic. I don't know.

Thank you for saying enough is enough. Lead your flock with strength and courage to be well disciplined and salty as all get out. I look forward to seeing what you may help produce on the blog scene to support your beliefs and mission.

gavin richardson said...

hi jason,

sorry to be absent these last 24 hours. things have been rather hectic in camp gavin of late. if i could i'd like to respond to your email and response to withdraw from the contributors to the MethoBlog.

the intent behind the Methoblog project is to lift up all voices within the methodist blogging community so that all can be heard. your voice as well as others from a both sides of a theological spectrum perspective are essential to the project (that is why i asked you to be a part of it). the grandest vision being an example of honest conversation & community despite difference for much of the church to see that this is possible (even if it is a odd relationship). unfortunately i think that jays response, and his credit with making the site happen (granted it is on his server and he has worked very hard on it, it is still not just his vision and his work), has made his critical response to what you brought up seem more hurtful than it needed to be (i say that knowing full well i don't know exactly how hurtful it might have been for you). still, it is a place where we try to work through this as we cultivate relationship as brothers and sisters in the methodist church.

i understand your desire not to get into debates, that is taxing (part of the reason shane has taken hiatus). you wouldn't need to engage or get into debates (and i can expand on my ideas over an email if you wish), but your viewpoint and those who are similar to you are essential to the conversation.

i would hope that i am not too late to encourage you to continue to be a part of the project, at the very least allow us to include you into the blogroll and keep you as part of our contributing editors. to not have you, and those from across the spectrum of viewpoints and contexts, feel uncomfortable being a part of this community would be against the original vision, and we might as well just shut the whole thing down.

shalom
-g

Stace said...

If I may, I'd like to add my two cents worth. While I have totally disagreed with some of your posts, I still believe you have something to contribute, both here at your own blog and at the Methoblog. How can we learn from each other if we do not engage one another? You have stated before that you appreciate the dialogue, so why take yourself out of it now? I understand how taxing it can be to feel like you're always defending yourself, but separating yourself from those that do not share your views is not the answer, in my humble opinion.

Why does there have to be this polarity between the "right" and "left"? Or should I say why do we allow it consume us? What does it matter that I may view things left of where you see things? In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it will matter a hill of beans. I know Jesus won't care if we're on the "right" or "left", he will care if we clothed the naked, fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger, visited the sick and imprisoned. In the end, I believe, this is how we will be judged, for as he said, as we do this to the least of these, we did unto him.


All that being said, I do believe the Spirit is moving within this Methoblog because the dialogues/disagreements contained within have retained respect for each other and each other's viewpoints as well as a general feeling of Christian love and support for each other. Let's continue this, Jason, and show those other blogs, groups, etc.
that a loving dialogue can take place between groups that don't necessarily see eye to eye.

2 Tim 3:16-17 Methodist said...

If you want to entertain Christian dialogue between liberals and conservatives why don't you start out by leaving off from the personal attacks? Why can't people just leave their differing opinions without tearing the other person down? If the Methoblog wants to have a diverse group of Methodists participate then there needs to be a moderator who will insist that the commenters be kind enough to disagree without resorting to personal insults.

Andy B. said...

Jason, don't go! You are an important conversation partner, and I value your input.

Larry B said...

Honestly, I agree with your decision. While I respect the methoblog project, it does have a tendency to cause what I would call "pile ups" on certain issues and it becomes difficult to maintain a reasonable comment thread.

I personally continue to lurk as a commenter to try and control the amount of time I spend dwelling on an issue and time spent debating it. I'm grateful to bloggers who keep putting the conversation items forward, but I like being able to go to a site and having the general character of the site be the same relative to the bloggers personality.

Having disparate voices in a conversation may be helpful, but eventually the conversation should lead to a point. The methoblog format will have a hard time leading conversations to a point in its current form, which is ok for what it sets out to be, but for those who understand their points and want to express them to others, it's not the best forum - I think individual blogs serve these best.

Count me in as a reader and commenter for your site and I appreciate your blog ministry.

Joel Thomas said...

Jason,

Even when folks don't have a lot in common theologically, they can still have a lot in common in other areas. I think we can grow from interacting with people we disagree with.

If you want to avoid interaction with centrists and liberals on your blog, how are you going to react if you become a senior pastor and have to work with liberals in your church? Even most conservative UM churches have a smattering of centrists or liberals who will not support inerrancy as a UM doctrine. Yes, Wesley's sermons are part of doctrine, but as Bishop Jones points out, Wesley was not entirely theologically consistent in his different sermons and used the word inerrancy in a different context than is often used today.

I consider myself evangelical, but I won't agree to listing inerrancy as a requirement for the faith simply because I see the term as too often distorted.

The real challenge is whether we accept the Bible as authoritative, which I do believe is necessary. However, I see as many conservative evangelicals ignoring large chunks of the Bible in their ministry as I see liberals questioning the interpretation of other chunks. Before I was a pastor, I heard some conservative UM pastors who never preached about exploitation of the poor, who never supported an AIDS ministry, never spoke about Apartheid in South Africa, never questioned business corruption and so on. They are just as guilty of failing to accept the Bible's authority as more progressive Christians are if they interpret the Bible too freely or loosely.

I haven't joined Methoblog simply because I don't have time to get involved in something additional.

I do understood how easy it is to feel slighted. When I attended a GCFA training event in Providence two years ago, many people from regions outside Nashville complained bitterly that the UMC increasingly favors the Nashville folks. The response given wasn't helpful, for the answer was that Nashville was an inexpensive area to live compared to the West Coast, East Coast or Chicago area and that saving administrative dollars was more important than spreading the church administration over the country.

Lorna said...

staying or going isn't actually the main point here - it's being obedient to God. Where does he want you to focus your time right now?

We are called to be a voice in the wilderness -and yeah help fellow disciples along the way.

Being conservative is ok :) (and so is liberal) provided we follow HIM and refuse to allow politics to side track us.

end of sermon :)
Be blessed

Art said...

Jason, I could comment for DAYS on all that has been said. Instead, I'll just wish you good luck in your endeavors.

I had hoped, though, that you would continue on the Methoblog because one of the things that I love about our denomination (and the Methoblog) is this diversity of opinion and theological thought.

You were a part of that on the Methoblog and your absence will, ironically, make the Methoblog a less diverse forum.

It is your decision to make, of course, and I respect that. I won't beg you to stay nor will I gloat over your departure.

I simply wish you good luck and God's blessings in what you feel led to do. I hope it works out well for you.

gmw said...

Hate not to see you at the Methoblog, but I'll continue to enjoy post-methodist.

John B said...

Jason,

Anyone who's read my blog knows that I take a conservative, evangelical stance on almost every issue and have engaged in some lively debate, (as Joel T will testify to). However, I can't say that I am in favor of being a part Evangelical Meth blogroll.

I understand you're weariness over the continual disagreements, but I believe we conservatives must make our voices heard in a broad arena. If we separate ourselves off into our own group, we will lose whatever influence we have. Besides that, once in a while the libs have some very valid points and we must be willing to listen and learn from them as hopefully they will listen and learn from us.

scmethodist said...

Jason, I hope you will reconsider leaving the Methoblog. A conservtive pastor's voice is needed there. I was somewhat surpised and delighted when after reviewing your blog, I saw how orthodox your views were. Quite frankly, from what I had heard I didn't think there were any Methodists outside the Souheastern Jurisdiction who were orthodox any more. The fact that you are where you are gives me hope the demoniation can be saved. Please stay, even if you avoid debate in the future. May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Jason Woolever said...

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the encouragement and counsel. I don't want to say anymore on the blogosphere about why I chose to leave The Methoblog, and why I don't think I can be a part of it at this time.

However, if anyone feels like they have questions about it, feel free to email me. Thanks again!

Brett said...

I appreciate your posts, and I will continue to read. I don't have the blogroll currently running on my site, but I do have you linked.
I enjoy your thoughts.

Jason Woolever said...

hey thanks man. back at ya.

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