In this space, I try to offer some reflections on what it means to live as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ today, drawing upon our Methodist heritage, my understanding of the Bible, and my experience as an individual and as a pastor of several different congregations over three decades. The words are intended to spark conversation or further personal reflection rather than offer a fully developed position. It not my intent to convince people to agree with me. Rather, I hope to offer a perspective that can help us think about our opinions and our actions a little bit more deeply from the faith perspective we share.
I won’t go into my reaction to the recent opinions offered by the Supreme Court here. I will share that from the time of John Wesley, the people called “Methodists” have always linked together concern personal piety and social justice. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church is a clear example of how followers of Jesus Christ can bring their faith to bear on various issues in the world today. No one is required to hold the views found in The Social Principles in order to be members of a United Methodist Church. The Social Principles are intended to provide a useful framework for considering many issues from a perspective of faith. This includes abortion, care for the environment, racism, gun violence, sexual abuse, and the death penalty. You can access The Social Principles here or look for what the UMC has said on particular issues by going to Ask the UMC.
We don’t all have to think the same, but we do all have to find a way to live with each other under the umbrella of God’s grace. We each are to exercise our own conscience and understanding and allow others to do the same without coercion. Our trust and loyalty is to God who found ways to love each of us, “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) and calls us “to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
We certainly have a way to go to put this into practice, but we have hope and courage to do so with God as our helper and guide.
See you in church,