Shaking Dust

I still have a lot of bitterness about what happened to me at Woodway FUMC. For quite a while it was overwhelming. It’s not that severe any more, but I am often reminded by names & locations that bring the pain & frustration right back to me. It’s slowly getting better, but there is still a lot to work through.

I feel tremendous guilt for not doing better at keeping or making peace. I still feel incredible anger at the misguided people that hurt me, my family, our youth, & their families. It irritates me that these supposed leaders & supposed christians would think so much of their shallow & selfish view of what they thought church needed to look like that they would dig in so hard & deliberately reject others that don’t fit in.

It gives me some satisfaction that their half-assessed plans & ideologies are proving to lack depth & connection. I do not believe that they are approaching what they do as servants & that will ultimately doom their efforts.

The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church defines a process for resolving issues of “failure to perform the work of the ministry;” (2702.1d), “disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church” (2702.1e & 2702.3c) and “relationships and/or behaviors that undermine the ministry of persons serving within an appointment.” (20703.3j). I was asked by Bishop Lowry if I thought following through with that process would make Woodway FUMC a stronger church. My answer was an unflinching, “Yes.” I went on to explain that I see accountability as a clear responsibility within a community of faith and that when that community is not functioning according to the rules that define it, those responsible for it’s deviation should be held accountable and responsible.

Bishop Lowry also asked what I was looking for in the way of resolution. I explained that I was looking for:
1) Acknowledgment
a) that our Staff Parish Relations Committee was negligent,
b) that out Nominations Committee was negligent, &
c) that our Lay Leaders created a negative & hostile environment for our youth ministry
2) Apologies to
a) me,
b) my family,
c) our youth,
d) their families, &
e) our congregation for the hurt and pain as a result of their actions, and
3) Some positive attempt at restitution including
a) adoption of Book of Discipline model for Youth Ministry
b) personal expenses related to the impact of this situation
c) resolution of pension issues defined in the Book of Discipline (258.2)

Sherri & I came to be United Methodist by very deliberate choice. We are first & foremost, followers of Christ. We love John & Charles Wesley’s approach to that Christian faith. We love Wesleyan theology. We love the balance & openness that the United Methodist denomination has embraced & promotes. We love the personal responsibility for our individual beliefs & actions and we love the call to action for social justice that the United Methodist Church does espouse.

I am a firm believer that if your personal views aren’t reflective of the group that you claim membership to, there is some dishonesty present. You have a responsibility to resolve those differences.

We have found much grace, peace, acceptance, & healing in our Family-in-Christ Bible Study, in worship at Central UMC, & in our Sunday School class (tentatively named FaithSpring).

I take my faith in Jesus very seriously. I have made some fairly dramatic changes in my life in order to follow my understanding of His Gospel. I think my biggest fault is my lack of patience with those who claim a Christian faith, but exhibit little of it in the evidence of their life. That often makes me appear harshly judgmental. For those I have offended, I am sorry.

I, as all of us are, am a work in progress. Those close to me know my weaknesses &, I hope, appreciate my honesty. I love this journey of faith & I am so thankful for those traveling with me.


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What’s this then?

I've had a strange relationship with faith for as long as I can remember. My journey has gone from doing what I was told, to questioning, to doubting, to abandon, to wonder, to play along, to work against, to open up, to change, to embrace, to wonder, to doubt, to work towards, and to keep searching for better answers. Our various understandings of faith are deeply personal. Sharing those understandings can be very helpful to ourselves as well as others.

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