My Afternoon with The Benham Brothers

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May 242016
 
Benham Brothers

Jason Benham giving his brother David that all too frequent “come-hither” look.

A relative  finished up high school at Carmel Christian Academy this past weekend. I attended without knowing they had the Benham Brothers as the graduation speakers.

And boy, what a bunch of whiny, entitled little jerks they are. They try to frame their clearly well-rehearsed shtick as being all about doing everything for God, but they seem to have managed to create an entire cottage industry around having had to pay a penalty for their bigotry…which, of course, wasn’t bigotry at all, just them holding fast to their “biblical principles.” Continue reading »

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May 212016
 

Why Little Will Change At the UMC General Conference

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May 182016
 

As some of you may know, the United Methodist Church is holding their quadrennial General Conference in Portland, Oregon this week. As has been the case for the past several General Conference’s (GC), a major topic is the  full inclusion of LGBT people (or as the conservatives call us, “the self-avowed practicing homosexuals”) in the life of the church. My prediction is that little will change in regard to those issues.

There are several things at issue. One is some hateful language in the United Methodist Book of Discipline (BoD) which says that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The others are the ordination of openly gay clergy, and of course; marriage is a topic, but not at the top of the list.

If anything changes in regard to these issues, it will be for the worse, and we’ve seen some of that already with the election of all conservative members to the Church’s Judicial Council, or the UMC Supreme Court if you will. Continue reading »

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May 142016
 

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May 072016
 

In A Mirror Dimly-Response to a Series by Bishop Michael Lowry-Part 4

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May 072016
 
This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Response to Lecture Series by Bishop J. Michael Lowry
Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

United Methodist Bishop, J. Michael Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, recently addressed a gathering of the United Methodist Scholars for Christian Orthodoxy Conference at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has put his address, “In a Mirror Dimly”: The Future of the United Methodist Church”© on his website as a four-part posting.

 

Bishop Lowry seems to argue that the Methodist Church should (or at least, likely will) split over the issue of the inclusion of LGBT people. As you might guess, given that he’s speaking to people who claim to be “orthodox,” that he is, as southerners might say, “agin it.” And of course, that would mean that, while I don’t disagree a split may happen, I don’t agree with his position on the topic at hand.

Part 4: Convicted Hope

This is a short conclusion to Bishop Lowry’s series. He claims, “signs of new life all around.” This is his clinging to the belief that it will be the orthodox church (his definition of orthodoxy) that survives and thrives, all evidence to the contrary. Continue reading »

New Presidential Poll at Deep

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May 062016
 
media/2016/03/Money-in-Politics-212x141.jpg
This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series 2016 Elections

Poll-pictureOK, the field has been narrowed. I suppose many will say it’s really down to Hillary v. Trump, but since I’m supporting Bernie, I’m going to leave him on the list for now (although I concede Secretary Clinton is the presumptive nominee). I also concede that Trump is the presumptive nominee for the Republicans <shudder>. However, despite some signs the Republicans are resigning themselves to that reality, I’m just not totally convinced they are going to let this happen. I also know Paul Ryan said “no-way,” but the guy is still being talked about.

I’m going to write more in a later post about why I think he won’t run this cycle.

Anyway, vote in our very unscientific poll.

OK, so who's your choice for President 2016?

  • Paul Ryan (4%, 2 Votes)
  • Donald Trump (24%, 11 Votes)
  • Bernie Sanders (20%, 9 Votes)
  • Undecided (2%, 1 Votes)
  • None of the above (15%, 7 Votes)
  • Hillary Clinton (35%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 46

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In A Mirror Dimly-Response to a Series by Bishop Michael Lowry-Part 3

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May 052016
 
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Response to Lecture Series by Bishop J. Michael Lowry

United Methodist Bishop, J. Michael Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, recently addressed a gathering of the United Methodist Scholars for Christian Orthodoxy Conference at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has put his address, “In a Mirror Dimly”: The Future of the United Methodist Church”© on his website  as a four-part posting.

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop Lowry seems to argue that the Methodist Church should (or at least, likely will) split over the issue of the inclusion of LGBT people. As you might guess, given that he’s speaking to people who claim to be “orthodox,” that he is, as southerners might say, “agin it.” And of course, that would mean that, while I don’t disagree a split may happen, I don’t agree with his position on the topic at hand.

Part 3 – Deeper Reflections & Observations in a Fog

Now Bishop Lowry begins to come out into the open about where he is in all this. In the opening paragraph in this part, he says, “First, whatever your position on same-gender marriage & ordination, a decision should not be made on the grounds of losing or gaining members! I cannot say this strongly enough.” (Emphasis Lowry’s) I think we are both in agreement on this point, but our motivations differ. Continue reading »

In A Mirror Dimly-Response to a Series by Bishop Michael Lowry-Part 2

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May 042016
 
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Response to Lecture Series by Bishop J. Michael Lowry

United Methodist Bishop, J. Michael Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, recently addressed a gathering of the United Methodist Scholars for Christian Orthodoxy Conference at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has put his address, “In a Mirror Dimly: The Future of the United Methodist Church”© on his website as a four-part posting.

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop Lowry seems to argue that the Methodist Church should (or at least, likely will) split over the issue of the inclusion of LGBT people. As you might guess, given that he’s speaking to people who claim to be “orthodox,” that he is, as southerners might say, “agin it.” And of course, that would mean that, while I don’t disagree a split may happen, I don’t agree with his position on the topic at hand. Given that, I’m going to respond to his article/speech taking on each of his parts in corresponding articles here.

Bishop Lowry starts Part 2 by raising the question weighing heavily on the Church as the 2016 General Conference approaches:

“What will happen at General Conference just a few weeks away? Will the delegates vote to eliminate the ‘incompatibility’ clause with regards to homosexuality and embrace marriage and ordination of those who self-identify as LGBTQ?  I don’t know.  Will current language about ordination and the prohibition of performing same-gender marriages be retained as a chargeable offense?  I don’t know.

He expresses his main concern as, “Secondly, should the Discipline significantly change on these presenting issues, those of us who live in the United States should expect some form of denomination- splintering rebellion in the worldwide (and in parts of the U.S. as well) church.” And cites the recent experiences of the Anglican communion, the Lutherans and the Presbyterians to support his statement, and I find common ground with him there.

There remains, even here in America, an entrenched group of the old guard, calling themselves “orthodox,” who continue to shroud their bigotry under the cloak of Christianity, and their belief that an unchanging biblical interpretation is about nothing more than sexual morality. They never seem to acknowledge the Church (at least the UMC) has evolved on issues such as women as elders, slavery, divorce and re-marriage, and even many of the ancient marriage rules. They will never say they want to go back to the time before those re-evaluations, but I suspect many of them might actually be OK with that.

However, in Part 2, Lowry makes it clear that the primary concern for the orthodox is homosexuality, and keeping in the incompatibility phrase, and continuing to prevent ordination and marriage for LGBT people. He makes it a point to describe us as “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” I’m getting so sick and tired of that. Let’s dissemble this bullshit a little. First off, LGBT people are not “self-avowed.” We are gay, made that way by God, and the only thing we “avow” is whether we will live honestly and with integrity. Then there is that whole “practicing” thing. No sir Reverend, after all these years, I don’t practice a lot; I pretty much have it down pat. What I want to ask willfully ignorant assholes like Bishop Lowry is, “are you a self-avowed practicing heterosexual?”

With the rant over, let’s get back to his article. He names 4 scenarios for those that would not concur if these horrible, horrible changes are made to the Discipline:

  1.  Embrace the change despite any misgivings and be hopeful that proponents are correct (despite all evidence to the contrary) that such actions garner an influx of new young disciples.
  2.  Stay in the church as a loyal minority (especially in the United States).
  3.  Leave the United Methodist Church to form a new branch of the Wesleyan movement as a part of the universal church. In doing so, make a corollary set of decisions around whether or not to pursue legal action over property, endowments and the like.
  4.  Simply leave (presumably to take up membership in another Christian tribe).

The rest of us have put up with their bigotry since the 1950s or so, when the “incompatible” clause was added, so I’d think they could stick around and put up with us not being incompatible for a while. But I love the statement in his last paragraph, ” We all, both those in favor and those opposed to a change, have much to fear from hasty decisions made in the passions of the moment.” Good grief, the church has been wrestling with this issue, and discussing for 20 years…hasty, really? Of course, should the Discipline change (an unlikely event given the inordinate influence being given the Central Conferences-Africa), it will be a hasty and ill-conceived change by Lowry’s measure. If things stay the same, we’ll hear from him about his relief that he can still hate gay people, uh, I mean, that the church has remained true to the Bible and tradition.

In A Mirror Dimly-Response to Series by Bishop Michael Lowry-Part 1

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May 042016
 
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Response to Lecture Series by Bishop J. Michael Lowry

United Methodist Bishop, J. Michael Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, recently addressed a gathering of the United Methodist Scholars for Christian Orthodoxy Conference at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has put his address, “In a Mirror Dimly: The Future of the United Methodist Church”© on his website as a four part posting.

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop J. Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop Lowry seems to argue that the Methodist Church should (or at least, likely will) split over the issue of the inclusion of LGBT people. As you might guess, given that he’s speaking to people who claim to be “orthodox,” that he is, as southerners might say, “agin it.” And of course, that would mean that, while I don’t disagree a split may happen, I don’t agree with his position on the topic at hand. Given that, I’m going to respond to his article/speech taking on each of his parts in corresponding articles here.

In Part 1, Bishop Lowry uses the Isaiah 20:43 verse, ““Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.” to introduce his belief that he is seeing, “the re-emergence of a vibrant orthodoxy in the North American mission field.” Lowry believes the United Methodist Church (UMC) is slowly collapsing, but believes, “The decaying Christendom bureaucracy (which I too, to a very real degree, represent) masks the beginnings of a remarkable rebirth of a healthy Wesleyan Christian Orthodoxy.” Continue reading »