15 Comments

  1. Kimal James
    March 13, 2019 @ 9:13 am

    Rebekah, thanks for the good thoughts–as always! You are so right that we must be careful not to demonize the other side. And it’s good that you keep a hopeful spirit about all this. When you speak of a mere 54 votes difference, however, I think we must also realize that there were 31 international delegates who didn’t make it to General Conference due to not receiving a travel visa. If those 31 had been there, the difference could have been as much as 85 votes more for the Traditional Plan. In the future of our global church, this difference will likely increase even more. This makes me wonder how we can live with each other in one UMC when there are such different perspectives and needs.

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 13, 2019 @ 10:53 am

      You know, Kim, I was thinking about that too. I wonder how the additional delegates would have voted? While we can’t know, I do know this: the world continues to move more toward more justice, more inclusion, and more love. I stand in hope.

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  2. Tammy Whitney
    March 13, 2019 @ 9:37 am

    Thank you Rebekah for opening the conversation. We can not be salt of the earth when we dig in on a side and stop listening to one another. From Matthew 5:9. – blessed are the peacemakers…..

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 13, 2019 @ 10:53 am

      Thank you Tammy. Good to hear from you. Great Kingdom quote. Plus there’s that whole thing about the log and the splinter…

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  3. Rene Perez
    March 13, 2019 @ 9:51 am

    Thanks Rebekah. Great reminder for all of us United Methodist to take the higher road, as our bishop often reminds us.

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 13, 2019 @ 10:55 am

      I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to do, Rene. I had my own gut-level reactions when the votes came in. I tossed and turned all the next night wondering what my response should be. Then I remembered…I have all these tools of emotional intelligence that I teach. Time to practice what I preach! Turns out I’m not the only one who needs them. I think the 40+ days is a real gift to us.

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  4. Effie McAvoy
    March 13, 2019 @ 1:01 pm

    In theory this is great. However when it is your life…your call…your being that is up for discussion with little to no input from “you” it becomes another conversation. NO we do not demonize…still I assure you that I am compatible with Christian teaching. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and the language of the Discipline does serious harm. And when injustice happened Jesus did cleanse the temple.

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 13, 2019 @ 8:40 pm

      Thanks for weighing in, Effie, and for the eloquent language, “I assure you I am compatible with Christian teaching.” I agree. It kills me that you even have to defend yourself. My concern is that no one demonize YOU.

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    • Bonnie I. Marden
      March 14, 2019 @ 9:33 am

      Effie,
      My beloved sister in Christ, thank you for your service and witness – you are a blessing to me and to this movement seeking to embody the beloved community.
      CCR teaching includes the power of words – and our ability to reframe. True- the words in the BOD do serious harm – to those excluded and those excluding. As have other words in the past and likely others will be pointed out to us in the future. We also give those words more power than they deserve at times – they were written by people – fallible angry fearful people whose vision is as clouded as those who excluded (exclude) women and new voices, young persons and others parts of God’s diverse creation.
      CCR also teaches reframing which can liberate us from harm – either from words or from our personal stories. That is how we transcend our fears and actually find we can love our enemies (oh, that is Track 2 stuff!) As I have been challenged myself, I invite you to be a voice that says – Here I am – beloved child of God – deal with it!

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  5. Beth Anne Crego
    March 13, 2019 @ 1:51 pm

    Thanks Rebekah for using the word demonizing. It is so true. We are willing to see the other as low down and rotten… instead as seeing them as a beloved child of God. My prayer and goal is to keep people talking and looking at the other as someone valuable and worthy… not as an adversary. (Of course… I am preaching to myself!)

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 13, 2019 @ 3:07 pm

      I hear you Beth Anne. It’s easy to fall into the trap of demonizing. We’re not responsible for our first thought, but we are responsible for our second and third thoughts and beyond, and the words that come out of our mouths. Thanks for being willing to practice what you preach.

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  6. Rev. John A. Bright
    March 15, 2019 @ 2:37 pm

    Trying to make sense of your factor 1 – our Bishops asked millions of UMs to pray “Thy will be done.” According to you – we wasted our time. Why?
    I have never heard Matt. 16:19 used to make the point that we decide what is right and heaven must confirm it. In Matt. 18 these words follow Jesus instructions on church discipline.
    I will be unsubscribing.

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 19, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

      Hi John, I realize you might not see this, but others may have the same question, so I do want to respond. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus quotes a popular “targum.” A targum is a paraphrase or explanation of a sacred Jewish text. The “targum” Jesus is quoting affirms the human freedom to choose: “Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” Jesus affirms our power of choice saying, Look, when it comes to matters of interpretation, you, the church, get to decide. You work it out; heaven will go along. Targumim (plural) date from the century prior to the birth of Christ. While it may seem blasphemous or presumptuous to think that we decide, we live out this principle whenever we decide how to interpret and apply a certain biblical text. It’s also at the heart of the Methodist quadrilateral. Adam Hamilton’s blog lays out some of the history of interpretation pretty clearly. https://www.adamhamilton.com/blog/the-bible-says-it-that-settles-it#.XJF0Ci3MzOQ. I hope this helps.

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  7. E B Beasley Jr
    March 20, 2019 @ 2:39 pm

    You write a very reasoned and well-thought-out piece. I agree with most of what you said. However, while you never demonized the other side (following your own advice!), you consistently seemed to place the blame for things on the Conservatives/Traditionalists. It feels like you are taking a slap at us each time you make a point. Does it mean that “everything” is the fault of the Traditional or Conservative people and that the Progressives or Liberals have “clean hands? ”
    This weakens your place in my mind and makes it harder to truly listen to you because you keep adding your arguments as you dismiss what you perceive to be “the other side.”
    For Instance:
    * It says to me that the UMC has come a mighty long way in its ability to accept people where they are. (This is what the Progressives say and it completely misrepresents what most (?) Many(?) Traditionalists believe!)
    * How and why did they get that idea? Were they intentionally misinformed? Others were told that they could not return home if they didn’t vote for the Traditional Plan. (This lays everything at the feet of the Traditionalists!)
    * The truth is, we are a church in transition. (Always! BUT, in which direction and how far? Your paragraph is clearly the Progressive/Liberal position, which means that the blame is on the Traditionalist/Conservative side.)
    I believe that you are a good, God-loving person and probably have a great and powerful ministry, for which I give thanks. But the clear bias of this writing seriously hurts the points that you want to make – to this reader anyway.
    I invite you to re-think the article and re-present it with a more-open, more accepting stance. Demonizing is a MAJOR issue, but so is being one-sided and dismissive when you are trying to make a point that should be neutral.
    Having said that, I do thank you for the point that you make. I do believe it, even if I have my issues with the way you present it.
    Yours in His love,
    Dr. E.B. Beasley, Jr.
    Pastor, Texas Annual Conference

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    • Rebekah Simon-Peter
      March 28, 2019 @ 3:43 pm

      Dr. Beasley, thanks for weighing in. Yes, you may be right. It’s hard to be completely even-handed especially when I am passionate about my beliefs. (I have been open about being a proponent of the One Church Plan.) I suspect that’s a challenge for most of us. Please accept this blog as a step in the right direction.

      Reply

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