The United Methodist Church is rapidly approaching a fork in the road that has enormous consequences regardless of which direction it chooses. For years the church has been embroiled in a controversy of its own making. On the one side are traditionalists who want to turn the church back toward its theology of origin. On the other side are those who wish to set aside traditional ways of thinking for more progressive. And, in the middle are those with their heads in the sand hoping the denomination can continue pretending that all is well.
Those in the middle are in a hopeless situation to say the least. That leaves the traditionalists and progressives to determine the future of the church. Can the two sides be reconciled? Let me answer this with a clear and emphatic “no!” When one side or the other speaks of reconciliation in matters of theology, what they are actually saying is, “Come over to my side and we will be reconciled.”
I, myself, am counted amongst the traditionalists. And, I do think the church needs to split. Staying together like we are is helping no one.
Now, let me speak briefly to something I typed in the opening paragraph. I wrote that this controversy is of our own making and I mean every word of that. Refusing to stand firmly on beliefs only leads to the degredation of those beliefs. The old syaing goes, “If you let the nose of the camel intio the tent, you let the whole camel in.” In the same way, when the United Methodist Church refuses to enforce its own Book of Discipline, it cannot help but to collapse under the weight of all that soon follows. This is where we are now: a camel is in the tent. It is time to either move on, or learn to live with a camel.