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June 11, 2014

The United Methodist Churchhas about 12 million members across the world. In the United State, United Methodist ranks as the largest mainline denomination, the second largest Protestant church, and the third largest Christian denomination. It’s founding is traced back to John and Charles Wesley and the Church of England according to Wikipedia.

          Today the church is facing a possible split in its clergy and membership over the handling of gay issues. The conflict pits traditional preachers against more liberal ones, many who have officiated at same sex weddings. Also in question are Bishops who some think have not appropriately enforced the “Book of Discipline”  in these cases.

          On May 22, a group of 80 Methodist ministers issued a press release suggesting there be an “amicable separation” within the church. One denomination would be the conservative Methodist churches and the other well “everyone else.”

          But, a recent poll taken by a reputable research firm found that 90% of respondents said “The United Methodist Church should not split over issues related to human sexuality.”

          Adam Hamilton is the founder and Senior Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City and a noted leader of Christian beliefs.Hamilton released this week an idea to hopefully fix this issue called “A Way Forward for a United Methodism.”  It is described this way:

“The ongoing debate over homosexuality continues to divide the United Methodist Church. We believe that most of the denomination’s pastors and laity do not want to divide over this issue. The signers of this proposal offer it as one possible way forward, focusing on what United Methodists share in common, and then offering a way to allow us to live with our differences over how we interpret scripture regarding homosexuality, and how we will be a church in ministry with gay and lesbian people. It is a conversation starter, not a perfected conclusion.”

          It calls for a local option for churches within the denomination, but it would take a super majority for a church to adopt.

          Release of this idea has met with much debate with vocal opinions on both sides.

          I’ll end with a thought found in a response to Hamilton’s idea. It should give you “Something to think about!”

          A blogger suggested “you would not find Jesus anywhere near you if he were walking the earth today. He would be with us the ones being snubbed and condemned.”

          Your “something to think about” is:

What would Jesus being saying about same sex marriage if he were here today?

          I’m Steve Sauder