It has been said, “What goes around, comes around.” And when an unacknowledged contradiction has been revealed, we often say, “The covers have been pulled off” of the contradiction.
Rev. M Barclay, Reconciling Ministries Network’s Director of Communications, has edited the “Embrace Love” slogan of The UMC this way: “Embrace (queer) Love and Fight White Supremacy.” And Cynthia Astle, editor of United Methodist Insight, has written an article in response to Barclay’s editing titled, “United Methodists ‘Embrace Love’ with one Exception.”
Here are a series of shorthand thoughts that may contribute to the necessary conversation that Barclay and Astle have initiated:
1. When The “Unified” Methodist Church was organized in 1939, it created a peculiar response to Methodism’s slavery, as a jurisdictional form of organization was developed as a way to form the racially segregated Central Jurisdiction. Methodism demonstrated how to move from the slavery of black people to the segregation of black people.
2. It was never said or written this way, but in 1939, Methodist language and legislation articulated: “The practice of the integration of black people is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
3. And, in 1972, the four-year-old United Methodist Church did not say it this way, but what it said meant this: “The practice of the integration of LGBTQ people is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
4. Some of us have felt that the current discrimination of LGBTQ people, same-sex clergy couples, and clergy who perform same-sex marriages is an extension of our Methodist history of racial discrimination.
5. I suggest that a denomination that discriminates against people because of their sexual orientation/identity and their expressions of intimacy has not yet learned lessons from its discrimination of black people. And, as we now see in our nation, integration once celebrated can become discrimination again. If in the nation, why not in The UMC as well?
“None of us are free (of discrimination) until all of us are free (of discrimination).”
I, as an 83-year-old fourth generation African American United Methodist preacher, may not be faithful to the context of Matthew 25:43, but time and time again I and my black colleagues have had cause to say in our denomination, “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.”
We understand why Barclay edited our “Embrace Love” slogan, and why Astle wrote what she did.
- “The Work of Christmas” - December 21, 2017
- Be The Way Forward: A Letter from Rev. Gil Caldwell - December 12, 2017
- The Contradiction at the Heart of The United Methodist Church - August 29, 2017