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Old 01-04-2020, 01:20 AM
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The Methodist Church is splitting


According to this news article the United Methodist Church is splitting into two parts: A conservative anti-gay marriage and gay clergy half, and an inclusive half. The United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant congregation, and the fact that they couldn't come to an agreement over this doesn't bode well in my opinion.
All opinions welcome, but I wouldn't mind hearing from Methodists about this.
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:07 AM
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the fact that they couldn't come to an agreement over this doesn't bode well
Bode well ...for who?
It's an internal issue,let 'em decide it for themselves.

Nobody is forcing you to be a Methodist, and nobody expects that Methodists will force their policies on the wider public.

Like Catholics or Orthodox Jews not allowing women to be clergy.
I don't like it,so I don't join 'em.
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:14 AM
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I'm formerly a Methodist, in both liberal and conservative congregations, as well as varied religious genera. I note that religions, sects, and congregations fissure and schism for many reasons, from theology to funding. Seeing Welseyans scatter hither-thither is no surprise. I suspect those holding outdated views will go extinct, like Shakers. Survivors will find something else to bifurcate over.
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:28 AM
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As a kid raised partly Methodist, until my mother had a fight with some other Methodist woman and decided to go Disciples of Christ (which was right across the street so we could still park in pretty much the same place), I learned there were two kinds of Methodist. There were the sort of high-church Methodists, who were okay with sprinkling people instead of dunking them entirely in water and who didn't care if their church members danced, and who were on the whole pretty liberal--which is the kind of Methodist we were. And then there were the other Methodists, who most emphatically did not dance, and who seemed to me almost like Baptists. (The DC seemed like somewhere in the middle. Dancing okay, but dunking not sprinkling, and they did not say the creed during the service.)

(Note that while most Methodists seemed pretty liberal and also none too hearty about religion in general, I mean, they believed, but they didn't go all crazy about it, my mother was kind of crazed and born-again, so I'm probably lucky she didn't go straight evangelical and try to raise me in some snake-handling sect.)

Anyway I wasn't paying a lot of attention but it seems I recall hearing that there were various Methodist churches, which had various schisms over the years, and some were reunited in the 1920s under the name Methodist Church. (There were also Southern Methodists, who did not unite with the rest of them.) And then at some point after we left the Methodists merged with the United Brethren and became United Methodists--but not all Methodist churches did that. It seems to me that the Methodist church was very much "pick what you like from the bible and find a church that agrees."

So Methodists have a long history of splitting, then merging, then splitting. Sometimes over issues of theology and sometimes over other issues. Slavery, temperance, and now LGBT issues.

Nothing to see here, just Methodists being Methodists.

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 01-04-2020 at 02:30 AM. Reason: repetition
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:31 AM
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Bode well ...for who?
For gay people, both in and out of the closet, who are Methodists and who thought that progress was possible. If the Methodist church they belong to decides to join the Conservative branch their choice will be to either live a lie or abandon the community they were trying to bring into the 21st century.
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Old 01-04-2020, 06:50 AM
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:46 AM
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There are so many Methodist Churches (let alone Christian Churches of all sorts) in the USA and all over the world that a new schism will barely change anything, imho.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:30 AM
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I take the other view -- it is a good thing. Because clearly enough people care about LGBT rights to make a split work. It also exposes the ugly bigotry of the stayers, and offers a real choice to people who want to stay Methodist and be gay or gay-accepting. It will make the power of the bigoted-Methodists smaller.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:52 AM
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My question is, will one of the parts still call itself "United"?
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:06 AM
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United, except for those splitters.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:19 AM
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United, except for those splitters.
"Northern Conservative Baptist Methodist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912"*

I agree with the above posters that this is ultimately a good thing for LGBT members, in the US at least. They can go where they are welcome and accepted, and the bigotry of the splitters will be exposed for all to see.

In other countries, where the Bigoted Church of Methodism probably dominates, it will be much more troubling for LGBT church members, I imagine, because now their pastor's hatred and bigotry will be obvious to them, and they may not have other options. It was probably obvious before this anyway, though.

* Credit to Emo Philips for that quote above
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Old 01-04-2020, 10:08 AM
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For gay people, both in and out of the closet, who are Methodists and who thought that progress was possible. If the Methodist church they belong to decides to join the Conservative branch their choice will be to either live a lie or abandon the community they were trying to bring into the 21st century.
I'm queer and I take the opposite view. If the status quo was that Methodists weren't homophobic and always supported marriage equality, then this would be bad news. But until very recently, Methodists were officially homophobic and felt that marriage should be reserved for straight people. Now a significant number of Methodists give enough of a shit about not being hateful bigots that they're willing to break ranks with the hateful bigots. I'd say that bodes very well for queer people, and very poorly for the bigots.
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Old 01-04-2020, 10:56 AM
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My question is, will one of the parts still call itself "United"?
Just change it to "Untied Methodist Church."
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:44 PM
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I'm queer and I take the opposite view. If the status quo was that Methodists weren't homophobic and always supported marriage equality, then this would be bad news. But until very recently, Methodists were officially homophobic and felt that marriage should be reserved for straight people. Now a significant number of Methodists give enough of a shit about not being hateful bigots that they're willing to break ranks with the hateful bigots. I'd say that bodes very well for queer people, and very poorly for the bigots.
Yeah, that's my point of view. It moves things from discussion of exclusion to a place where inclusion is valued. That's a net improvement in the overall situation. Just because it isn't universal doesn't mean it's of no value.
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:46 PM
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I'm queer and I take the opposite view. If the status quo was that Methodists weren't homophobic and always supported marriage equality, then this would be bad news. But until very recently, Methodists were officially homophobic and felt that marriage should be reserved for straight people. Now a significant number of Methodists give enough of a shit about not being hateful bigots that they're willing to break ranks with the hateful bigots. I'd say that bodes very well for queer people, and very poorly for the bigots.
Yep. Wheat from the chaff. A lot of people said enough is enough and split from the intolerance. The rest will live for the rest of their lives knowing that they chose bigotry.
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:53 PM
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I'm surprised, I had thought (at least from last year's news) that it was the liberal branch that was splitting off. Now it's the conservatives who are branching off.

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The rest will live for the rest of their lives knowing that they chose bigotry.
That's not how they will feel about it. They'll go the rest of their lives feeling, "I chose truth, morals, principles and the right thing versus those godless heretics."
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:10 PM
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I suspect those holding outdated views will go extinct, like Shakers. Survivors will find something else to bifurcate over.
If by "outdated views," you refer to the anti-gay-marriage faction, this is almost certainly wrong.

The consistent pattern of the 20th century is that churches/denominations that liberalize decline, and conservative churches either grow or at least decline less. The Episcopalians are pretty much dead, and the liberal Lutherans (ELCA), Presbyterians (PCUSA), and Baptists (American) are right behind them. The conservative branches of those denominations (LCMS, PCA, Southern Baptist) have done much better.

The pattern holds across pretty much every Christian denomination you want to name, including the Catholics. Individuals, congregations, and sometimes whole denominations do drift theologically leftward ... but those groups tend to do poorly in both recruiting new members and getting the next generation to stay in the church.

It may seem intuitive to liberals that since young people are more pro-LGBT, churches that are more pro-LGBT do better with young people, but it's more complicated than that. Tell a liberal millennial that the church down the road has a lesbian pastor and they may think that's cool ... but it doesn't mean they're going to attend and get involved.

The Methodist situation is complicated because the two factions are heavily divided by race and money, with the pro-gay-marriage being much richer and whiter and controlling more of the physical infrastructure, (which matters a lot in church splits).

But the much more likely scenario, based on history, is the liberal churches continuing to decline and the conservatives holding steady.

Last edited by furt; 01-04-2020 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:10 PM
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I'm surprised, I had thought (at least from last year's news) that it was the liberal branch that was splitting off. Now it's the conservatives who are branching off.



That's not how they will feel about it. They'll go the rest of their lives feeling, "I chose truth, morals, principles and the right thing versus those godless heretics."
They'll be wrong, of course, and it would be weird for them to refer to their just separated fellow parishioners as godless. Anyway, it would be wise to remember what Jesus Christ said about homosexuality:

<404 Not Found>
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:46 PM
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Good for the liberals.
But don't you think it is time that God issues a Bible rev 2 (or 3 if you prefer.) If computer manuals were written like the Bible, we'd be having long threads about the placement of the CTRL key.
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:13 PM
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If by "outdated views," you refer to the anti-gay-marriage faction, this is almost certainly wrong.

The consistent pattern of the 20th century is that churches/denominations that liberalize decline, and conservative churches either grow or at least decline less. The Episcopalians are pretty much dead, and the liberal Lutherans (ELCA), Presbyterians (PCUSA), and Baptists (American) are right behind them. The conservative branches of those denominations (LCMS, PCA, Southern Baptist) have done much better.

IMHO, two factors are at play:

1. There has been rapid Christian growth in Africa and Asia, two traditionally conservative regions. It was mainly Africans and Asians who voted for traditional marriage in last year's United Methodist schism conference (if I recall right,) while the Americans and Europeans were liberal and pro-gay.

2. If someone is liberal, and supports LGBT, they don't need to come to a liberal Christian church to hear a pro-LGBT, liberal message - there are countless atheist/non-religious political groups, social groups, organizations, etc. that are liberal and pro-LGBT. What's the purpose or need of the Christian church in that situation? It's people who want to hear something different than what the rest of the society is saying, that would come to church. That means conservative, anti-gay churches, and that is why they are likelier to have growth while liberal churches undergo contraction.
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:49 PM
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This bears a lot of similarity to the 'splitting' of the Episcopal Church fifteen years ago over the consecration of Gene Robinson. The resulting Anglican Church in North America still exists and is roughly a tenth the size of its parent. The parent Episcopal Church appears to be doing just fine in comparison to other Christian sects, occupying a niche of liberal social values with relatively formal ritual services.

Last edited by Some Call Me... Tim; 01-04-2020 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-04-2020, 03:28 PM
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The consistent pattern of the 20th century is that churches/denominations that liberalize decline, and conservative churches either grow or at least decline less. The Episcopalians are pretty much dead, and the liberal Lutherans (ELCA), Presbyterians (PCUSA), and Baptists (American) are right behind them. The conservative branches of those denominations (LCMS, PCA, Southern Baptist) have done much better.
Episcopalian
Episcopal Church( US ) - ~1.8 million members( out of an estimated 3 million American Episcopalians )

Lutheran:

ELCA - ~3.3 million members.
LCMS - ~2 million members.

Presbyterian

PCUSA - ~ 1.4 million members.
PCA - ~ ~400,000 members.

Baptist

American Baptist - ~1.1 members
Southern Baptist - ~14.8 million members.

*****

I won't entirely disagree with your thesis as it is possible, particularly in the United States, that conservative churches have a better retention rate and liberal church goers slide out of observance more easily. The number of non-religious people( distinct from atheism )has grown enormously over the last 30 years - it is entirely possible, probably likely, that has come more at the expense of mainline denominations.

But I also won't entirely agree either - as above your estimates of mainline vs. conservative protestant sub-sects in the US are mostly off. The single, but massive exception are the Southern Baptists, a huge denomination that heavily skews those numbers. But If mainline churches do in fact decline faster than conservative ones, it doesn't seem to correlate with conservative churches winning the ideological fight relative to their own confession. In mainline churches that have split, it looks like the mainline sect is still usually the largest. The Baptists being as above the glaring exception.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 01-04-2020 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 01-04-2020, 04:12 PM
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When I was young the Methodist Church got into politics, and one thing it decided was that guns were evil, so I split off from it.

But churches having a split is nothing new.
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Old 01-04-2020, 04:18 PM
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I'm queer and I take the opposite view. If the status quo was that Methodists weren't homophobic and always supported marriage equality, then this would be bad news. But until very recently, Methodists were officially homophobic and felt that marriage should be reserved for straight people. Now a significant number of Methodists give enough of a shit about not being hateful bigots that they're willing to break ranks with the hateful bigots. I'd say that bodes very well for queer people, and very poorly for the bigots.
Let's not use that word "homophobic' on something which may be simply a matter of doctrine (altho certainly many people who hold that gays shouldnt marry are homophobic, not all are). The Methodist Church used to be one of the "love the sinner but hate the sin" churches, which had no real issue with gays as members.

Altho yes, Paul taught that gay sex was a sin, he also taught adultery, drunkenness, and fornication are just as bad. If you just cherry pick 'gay sex' out of that and accept the rest as "OK" then you might be homophobic. If you think all are sins- then you might be a blue nose but not necessarily homophobic.
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Old 01-04-2020, 04:37 PM
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[b]In mainline churches that have split, it looks like the mainline sect is still usually the largest. The Baptists being as above the glaring exception.
You might also want to consider church attendance instead of membership. My impression is that the conservatives are more likely to attend church weekly while the liberals are more likely to attend church only on special occasions.
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Old 01-04-2020, 04:58 PM
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Let's not use that word "homophobic' on something which may be simply a matter of doctrine (altho certainly many people who hold that gays shouldnt marry are homophobic, not all are).
It is possible for the doctrine itself to be homophobic.
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Old 01-04-2020, 05:15 PM
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IMHO, two factors are at play:

1. There has been rapid Christian growth in Africa and Asia, two traditionally conservative regions. It was mainly Africans and Asians who voted for traditional marriage in last year's United Methodist schism conference (if I recall right,) while the Americans and Europeans were liberal and pro-gay.
Yes, but bear in mind that even in just in the US, the broad pattern has been mainline/liberal decline, and evangelical growth or at a minimum stasis. Data below.

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2. If someone is liberal, and supports LGBT, they don't need to come to a liberal Christian church to hear a pro-LGBT, liberal message - there are countless atheist/non-religious political groups, social groups, organizations, etc. that are liberal and pro-LGBT. What's the purpose or need of the Christian church in that situation?
I think this is very accurate.



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But I also won't entirely agree either - as above your estimates of mainline vs. conservative protestant sub-sects in the US are mostly off.
You’re looking at the static membership numbers; I was talking long-term trendlines. The story over the last ~50 years has been

- Mainline denominations that have attempted to modernize, softened moral stances, etc. have been in decline
- Evangelicalism has been rising, though it seems to have plateaued in the last ~10 years (with Mormons showing the same pattern)
- Charismatic/Pentecostal churches growing even more than evangelicalism; they are something of a mixed bag, but on the whole the lean conservative on moral issues.

https://ifphc.wordpress.com/2017/05/...-pentecostals/

https://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/...on-of-the-u-s/

http://www.bradbridges.net/2016/01/1...erican-church/

Search all over, you’ll see the same basic pattern.


Episcopal church membership in 1966 was 3.6 million. They’ve lost half their members in 50 years, with no end in sight. https://www.christianpost.com/news/e...to-report.html

The mainline PCUSA has been dropping for decades https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_(USA), but the evangelical PCA, which split off in 1973 about ordaining women, has grown 10x since https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presby...ica#Statistics

The ELCA had 5 million members in 1987; they’ve lost over 20% since. https://virtueonline.org/elca-has-bi...church-history AFAICT the other Lutheran churches are declining, too, but not as rapidly.


I can't think of a single liberal/mainline denomination that hasn't been in long-term decline. Evangelicalism has been much stronger (though the more recent trend has been toward non-denominational evangelical churches) Thus, the most probable forecast is that the liberal UMC branch will continue to decline. The evangelical wing's fate harder to predict.

Last edited by furt; 01-04-2020 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 01-04-2020, 05:25 PM
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My parents are practicing Methodists. The individual churches voted and those results were tabulated up to reach this decision. I know that people hoped that the church would not split, but that they also voted their conscience. My parents church elected to support LBGTQ members.


On the personal side, my parents have elected to leave churches that did not allow LBGTQ in the past. I have to admit that I am proud of them from time to time.
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Old 01-04-2020, 05:34 PM
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I think it was one of Robert Heinlein's characters that said "Religions have schisms as naturally as a cat has kittens"

The denomination I grew up in, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod had a major schism in the 1970's. The congregations that left at first had their own smaller synod, then merged with two others to form a new group, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This latter group is one I ended up belonging to, then switched to the Episcopal Church. The ELCA and the Episcopla church are in what is called communion with each other. They maintain seperate group identity and history, but clergy can serve in either church. In fact, the cathedral church I belong to has had an ELCA pastor serving it for some years, along with other Episcopal clergy. Rev Goerge was a military chaplain for a long time, now, semi-retired, he does some hospital work. He's really cool, a West Point graduate of all things.
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Old 01-04-2020, 05:55 PM
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I grew up in the Methodist church in the deep south. I never paid much attention to church doctrine, our church was pretty apolitical (in hindsight, a consequence of everyone assuming everyone was on the same page). So the first time I saw some of the church's updated policy positions in the late 80's, I was shocked how liberal it was (relative to my understanding of the majority of the community's attitudes).

So, color me unsurprised to see the Methodist church split between cultural hardliners/softliners, and unsurprising to see the Southern branch go the way of third world superstitions about sexuality and gender.

To be clear, I left religion behind a long time ago and I don't really care what churches do. It's just an interesting reflection of what's happening in larger society.
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Old 01-04-2020, 06:35 PM
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2. If someone is liberal, and supports LGBT, they don't need to come to a liberal Christian church to hear a pro-LGBT, liberal message - there are countless atheist/non-religious political groups, social groups, organizations, etc. that are liberal and pro-LGBT. What's the purpose or need of the Christian church in that situation?
You seem to be imagining a Venn diagram where there's no overlap between liberal & Christian. There is a great number of people who live in that overlap. The purpose and need of the church for them is to hear an explicitly Christian message and spend time with explicitly Christian people.

It's the exact same that is true for conservatives who are also Christian -there are plenty of places in and around that aren't the church that are pro Conservative and anti-LGBT+. If being anti-gay is their only reason for going to church - they might be churching wrong.
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In mainline churches that have split, it looks like the mainline sect is still usually the largest. The Baptists being as above the glaring exception.
Southern Baptists aren't usually considered mainline churches. They're Southern Baptist.

It seems to be a step in a direction (which is a good thing). Trying to straddle the line was not working for anyone. There had been a lot of friction for a long time with a lot of people caught in the crosshairs (e.g., if you were a congregant and knew that your pastor could lose their job and your congregation could lose its pastor if they officiated your wedding, you might not ask just to keep the peace. That's a sucky place to be and a lot of consequences no matter what your decision when all you want to do is get married. Now, that's gone.)
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Old 01-04-2020, 06:41 PM
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Many of my colleagues are some of the most liberal people I know and are extremely (Christian) religious. There is tremendous overlap between liberal and religious, when it’s supported and allowed to thrive
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:05 PM
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When I was young the Methodist Church got into politics, and one thing it decided was that guns were evil, so I split off from it.

But churches having a split is nothing new.
Do you now belong to a more or less conservative church?
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:37 PM
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It is possible for the doctrine itself to be homophobic.
So, pretty much everyone prior to say, the late 20th century, was "homophobic"? Mind you there were some gay people that didnt like the idea of gay marriage.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:38 PM
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Do you now belong to a more or less conservative church?
I dont belong to any.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:40 PM
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Many of my colleagues are some of the most liberal people I know and are extremely (Christian) religious. There is tremendous overlap between liberal and religious, when it’s supported and allowed to thrive
In many ways the new Pope is pretty liberal, as Popes go.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:28 PM
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I'm surprised, I had thought (at least from last year's news) that it was the liberal branch that was splitting off. Now it's the conservatives who are branching off.
Right, some of the comments seem to assume the opposite but the idea is to spin off the "traditionalist" congregations.

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The Methodist situation is complicated because the two factions are heavily divided by race and money, with the pro-gay-marriage being much richer and whiter and controlling more of the physical infrastructure, (which matters a lot in church splits).
Yup, that's one bit that is often kind of glossed over. Part of the proposed separation settlement seems to be recognizing that situation: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/03/us/un...sal/index.html
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Originally Posted by CNN
The proposal includes $25 million for the "traditionalist Methodist denomination." Another $2 million would be set aside for other potential new denominations. And $39 million will be allocated over eight years to "support communities historically marginalized by racism."

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I'm formerly a Methodist, in both liberal and conservative congregations, as well as varied religious genera. I note that religions, sects, and congregations fissure and schism for many reasons, from theology to funding. Seeing Welseyans scatter hither-thither is no surprise.
Ineed, never mind Methodist, that's a characteristic of American Protestants in general.

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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
In many ways the new Pope is pretty liberal, as Popes go.
"as Popes go." Important caveat (doctrinally Francis is barely distinguishable from Benedict or John Paul)

Last edited by JRDelirious; 01-04-2020 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:39 PM
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Southern Baptists aren't usually considered mainline churches. They're Southern Baptist.
Yet non-denominational Christianity tends to be some variant off of Southern Baptist. Around here in the Bible Belt, I do tend to think of Southern Baptist when I think of generic Christianity. When I would go to other denominations, they seemed like variations on Southern Baptist, just with something extra. (The sole exception was the Catholic college group I went to.)

This board is actually the first time I learned that this was not what people meant by "mainline Christianity."
  #39  
Old 01-04-2020, 10:01 PM
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So, pretty much everyone prior to say, the late 20th century, was "homophobic"?
Most non-gay people, yes. Just like through most of American history, most white Americans were racist.
  #40  
Old 01-04-2020, 10:09 PM
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1. There has been rapid Christian growth in Africa and Asia, two traditionally conservative regions. It was mainly Africans and Asians who voted for traditional marriage in last year's United Methodist schism conference (if I recall right,) while the Americans and Europeans were liberal and pro-gay.
True, though the African and Asian churches were strongly supported on that vote by conservative American UMC members and churches, such as the Wesleyan Covenant Association.

It's probably safe to say that *most* UMC churches and members in the US are on the liberal side, but definitely not all. The conservative UMC churches in the US skew towards the South, but I'm sure that there are some conservative ones in the North, too.

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I'm surprised, I had thought (at least from last year's news) that it was the liberal branch that was splitting off. Now it's the conservatives who are branching off.
Last year, after the Special Conference vote where the conservatives managed to get the "Traditional Plan" approved, it looked that way to me, as well; it appeared that liberal UMC churches, which wanted to be welcoming to LGBT people, were going to be the once forced to leave the denomination. (Just to note -- at that time, there was no "splitting" yet happening, or even announced; it was all still in the hypothetical.)

But, yes, this week's agreement suggests that it'll be the conservatives who are leaving, so that surprised me, too.

Also -- there is an agreement, but it has not yet been voted on by the full church (the news reports don't always make this clear). That full vote won't happen until the upcoming General Conference, in Minneapolis in May. The news stories make it sound like the agreement will likely be approved, but it's not a done deal yet.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-04-2020 at 10:13 PM.
  #41  
Old 01-04-2020, 10:16 PM
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I was raised in the "white, protestant, suburban church closest in driving time to my house." Military reassignments provided ecumenicism at a reliable, and moderate rate. However, I found out the "Black Protestant church actually closer to my house" had a better choir, and their picnics had better food. Eventually, I found out that the congregation without an actual church building that met in the local school auditorium had spent all the building fund for their church building on building a school, and then a clinic, and then a water system in another country for a bunch of heathens. They spent about twenty minutes "finding out who's sitting near you" as the final part of the weekly service. The sermon in one of my favorite meetings was about "This is where you don't keep your problems to yourself." It ended with the message, "Let us help you. It's good for us."

No one I spoke to at that church said anything about homosexuality, ever. Kind of like Jesus.

My faith has little to do with religion, and even less with churches.
  #42  
Old 01-04-2020, 10:29 PM
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It was a financial decision. Religion as a business future is looking sad in modern America, but growing rapidly particularly in Africa, which unfortunately is not as LGBT friendly. Some Methodists in power passed on the chance to spread The Lord’s Peace to the world for dollars.
  #43  
Old 01-04-2020, 10:38 PM
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So, pretty much everyone prior to say, the late 20th century, was "homophobic"? Mind you there were some gay people that didnt like the idea of gay marriage.
Well yeah. Society in general was pretty anti-gay -- since when is that news? That doesn't mean those people were bad, or evil or anything. (Ignorance, not malice, etc). But it still doesn't make it right.

Just like women used to get the short end of the stick, as did non-whites, or anyone who wasn't Christian, the disabled, etc.

That's like, History 101.
  #44  
Old 01-04-2020, 11:03 PM
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I can't think of a single liberal/mainline denomination that hasn't been in long-term decline. Evangelicalism has been much stronger (though the more recent trend has been toward non-denominational evangelical churches) Thus, the most probable forecast is that the liberal UMC branch will continue to decline. The evangelical wing's fate harder to predict.
It looks like the evangelical wing also is declining now, while it is true that some branches are increasing, the overall trend is down for them too.

https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politi...-church-elders
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The number of white evangelical Protestants fell from about 23 percent of the US population in 2006 to 17 percent in 2016, and only 11 percent are under 30, according to a survey of more than 100,000 Americans.
Quote:
It’s one piece of a cultural shift that has begun to affect even the nation’s most vibrant religious groups. The Southern Baptist Convention, one of the more conservative evangelical Protestant denominations, has lost more than a million members over the past decade. Still the largest single Protestant group in the nation with more than 15 million members, its network of churches nevertheless haven’t baptized so few a number of people in 70 years, the denomination’s research shows.

Over the past few decades, most scholars have recognized one indisputable trend within American Christianity: The country’s more liberal Protestant denominations were losing millions of members. Conservative and evangelical churches, by contrast, were holding steady if not flourishing.
Why anti-Semitism is surging across the political spectrum

For years, it was more or less conventional thinking, especially among Evangelicals, that “churches that stay with a clear-cut theological orientation will not go the way of the mainlines,” notes Bill Leonard, professor of Baptist studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., citing the influential 1972 study, “Why Conservative Churches are Growing” by the sociologist Dean Kelley. “Liberal mainline churches were then castigated for giving up the true faith and deserving what they got.”
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Today, however, there are signs that many of the same trends that decimated mainline Protestantism over the past few decades are now at work among evangelical denominations as well. According to a massive study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released in September, the number of white evangelical Protestants fell from about 23 percent of the US population in 2006 to 17 percent in 2016.

The finding, based on a survey of more than 100,000 Americans, “provides solid evidence of a new, second wave of white Christian decline that is occurring among white evangelical Protestants just over the last decade in the US,” said Robert Jones, head of the PRRI, after the study was released. “Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics.”
  #45  
Old 01-04-2020, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
In many ways the new Pope is pretty liberal, as Popes go.
Most of my colleagues aren’t Catholic, so the pope's views don't really impact their beliefs. My understanding is that this pope isn’t really more liberal, but expresses doctrine in a more humanistic way. Much of what he's proposing isn’t really a big deviation from accepted catholic thought.
  #46  
Old 01-04-2020, 11:59 PM
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Let's not use that word "homophobic' on something which may be simply a matter of doctrine (altho certainly many people who hold that gays shouldnt marry are homophobic, not all are). The Methodist Church used to be one of the "love the sinner but hate the sin" churches, which had no real issue with gays as members.

Altho yes, Paul taught that gay sex was a sin, he also taught adultery, drunkenness, and fornication are just as bad. If you just cherry pick 'gay sex' out of that and accept the rest as "OK" then you might be homophobic. If you think all are sins- then you might be a blue nose but not necessarily homophobic.
No, if you think being in a loving, supportive relationship with someone of the same gender is comparable to being an alcoholic, you're a homophobe. Even if you're really, really polite to gay people when you meet them face to face, you're a homophobe. The idea that homosexuality is a sin is inherently bigoted. There isn't a way to hold that belief, and not be a bigot at the same time.
  #47  
Old 01-05-2020, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
"as Popes go." Important caveat (doctrinally Francis is barely distinguishable from Benedict or John Paul)
He preaches that global warming is very real and he think trump is a evil wanker. That's pretty liberal in my book, but if you would prefer enlightened I will go along.
  #48  
Old 01-05-2020, 12:17 AM
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No, if you think being in a loving, supportive relationship with someone of the same gender is comparable to being an alcoholic, you're a homophobe. Even if you're really, really polite to gay people when you meet them face to face, you're a homophobe. The idea that homosexuality is a sin is inherently bigoted. There isn't a way to hold that belief, and not be a bigot at the same time.
It isnt so much that homosexuality is a sin, as that sex with anyone but your spouse is a sin. Adultery & fornication are also sins.

So let us say that someone preached that unless gays were married, that their sex was a sin, would that be homophobia? or being blue nosed?
  #49  
Old 01-05-2020, 12:27 AM
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It isnt so much that homosexuality is a sin, as that sex with anyone but your spouse is a sin. Adultery & fornication are also sins.

So let us say that someone preached that unless gays were married, that their sex was a sin, would that be homophobia? or being blue nosed?
Presuming that this hypothetical preacher said they can marry each other and then have homosexual sex within that marriage without it being a sin, then of course that wouldn't be homophobic.

But that isn't the real life argument. I've actually tried it on those who claim that homosexual sex is sinful because it is adultery. I've said that this means they should allow gay marriage. The response is always that marriage is just between a man and a woman.

If you won't let gay people get married, and say that gay sex outside of marriage is a sin, then you are saying all homosexual sex is sinful. And that is homophobic.
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:33 PM
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I can't not connect this split to the other GD thread on "The Decline of Religion in American Life" and its link to the 538 article documenting how young adults are becoming less active in religious institutions. Those left as active in many religious institutions are increasingly older and the United Methodist Church is made of more of older members than many other religious institutions. See this Pew graphic. Median age is 57 (for all U.S. adults it is 46). That's not a good recipe for long term institutional health.

Playing to appeasing the older "base" is one tactic. Odds are the older and more conservative members are the most strongly identified and active. But that pushes away many who want religion in their lives but not a religion that strikes them as promoting intolerant and hateful dogma.

Or you try to appeal to a demographic in which your biggest competition is "nothing in particular" or "none" many of whom still have spiritual beliefs and who could find value in the social institutional value of religious organizations.

Hard to split the difference other than by ... splitting.


FWIW it somewhat mirrors things on the Jewish side as well. Membership in Conservative congregations is shrinking, while the the Orthodox movement increases their numbers (birth rate is part of that) and membership and engagement in Reform congregations (which welcome interfaith couples and tend to have a heavy emphasis on Social Justice activities) is growing. Long term institutional survival is not going to happen trying to straddle the fence.


There are increasing numbers, especially among less old adults to younger adults, whose perspective is predominantly secularist and tolerant. Pull them in from becoming "nones" or write them off and double down on your already most active but oldest group but you can't do both at the same time in one institution.
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