LETTER TO THE EDITOR…
Dear Editor: As a United Methodist member and daughter of a former Methodist minister, I must say that the August 31 front page article, “The Methodist Divide.” by Makaylee Randolph was wildly misleading. The article stated that “At issue was a disagreement between individual churches and the UMC on the matter of homosexuality.” This is certainly true. But then the article goes off the rails and states “and a few other doctrines that differ from those of the original denomination.”
I would refer you to the Discipline of the United Methodist Church to read about what Methodists actually believe. Nowhere in the Discipline does it state that the Bible is “a record of thoughts and ideas about God and Human nature from the perspective of an ancient people.” Nowhere in the Discipline does it state that Methodists “do not believe Jesus was born of a virgin.” Nowhere in the Discipline will you find “Jesus was a good man, a prophet, and a teacher, but not a deity.” Moreover, the statement that “Jesus is among many ways to God” is absent from the Discipline as is “Jesus’ death is not an atonement for sins because this atonement points to an abusive, violent God.” What Methodists believe is at variance with the suggestion that Methodists have decided to “stray from the teachings of Traditional Christianity and move closer toward Progressive Christianity.”
Good journalism this is not. Yes, the United Methodist Church is struggling with the issue of homosexuality, as is the larger society in general. Yes, there may be a schism in the Church because of this issue. But do not conflate that struggle within the Church — made in good faith with concern for the LGBTQ community — with your ideas of “progressive” Christianity, whatever they may be.
The very word “progressive” is used pejoratively in this article and tends to obscure the very real struggle of people of good will, trying to understand the will of God in turbulent times. Respectfully, Susan Henley, Chapel Hill, NC