If I’m being completely honest, I was dreading this episode. What could be any less sexy or controversial than food safety and justice? Well, it just so happens that it’s a bigger deal than I thought. Enjoy this episode! Share and subscribe!
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After what seems like forever, I am back at these Social Principles. Today, we are on Science and Technology. You can read it here. A few lines did stick out to me. Let’s get started.
Here is the text:
“We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world. We affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in determining what is scientific. We preclude science from making authoritative claims about theological issues and theology from making authoritative claims about scientific issues. We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology. We recognize medical, technical, and scientific technologies as legitimate uses of God’s natural world when such use enhances human life and enables all of God’s children to develop their God-given creative potential without violating our ethical convictions about the relationship of humanity to the natural world. We reexamine our ethical convictions as our understanding of the natural world increases. We find that as science expands human understanding of the natural world, our understanding of the mysteries of God’s creation and word are enhanced.
In acknowledging the important roles of science and technology, however, we also believe that theological understandings of human experience are crucial to a full understanding of the place of humanity in the universe. Science and theology are complementary rather than mutually incompatible. We therefore encourage dialogue between the scientific and theological communities and seek the kind of participation that will enable humanity to sustain life on earth and, by God’s grace, increase the quality of our common lives together.”
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-natural-world, “Science and Technology,” emphasis mine.
To hear my thoughts, click this link and listen to the podcast:
Here is a WILD conversation with Pastor Eric Kluth about being a Progressive Christian while appointed to Conservative churches, his interracial family and the fallout of General Conference 2019.
An interview with Adventures in Evangelism author, Nathan Branim. Along with his book, we discuss how a conservative charismatic and a progressive liberal could develop a friendship, ghosting the church and more!
An interview with Adventures in Evangelism author, Nathan Branim. Along with his book, we discuss how a conservative charismatic and a progressive liberal could develop a friendship!
Below is a letter I wrote to my congregation regarding GC2019, the Judicial Council declaration and where we go from here.
A LOT has happened in the global United Methodist Church since our last newsletter. Specifically, the Special Session of General Conference met in February to determine the official UMC position on the issue of human sexuality, particularly homosexuality and its place in our church.
At the end of GC2019, we were left with what is called the Traditional Plan. The Traditional Plan keeps the current language surrounding homosexuality – that it is not compatible with Christian teaching – and includes language that increases penalties for clergy and laity that go against the Book of Discipline on these matters. It also further prevents candidacy and ordination for openly gay individuals. Finally, there is a provision making it easier for churches that cannot live in accordance with this decision to leave the denomination with their church buildings. Here at the end of April, the Judiciary Council met to determine the legality of the Traditional plan. Some parts were found to be against the UMC constitution while the parts I mentioned previously were found to be constitutional. As of January 1, 2020, the Traditional Plan will become United Methodist church law.
So, what does this mean for our local church?
It means that we have lost the ability to reach an entire group of people. Our churches can no longer be seen as safe places for the LGBTQ community…if they ever could. We have lost the talents of some brilliant people. We have lost the credibility to bring those people into a deeper relationship with God.
It means that we can no longer authentically proclaim that all are welcome here. Welcome for what? Their money? Their energy? Should we say, “Yes, your wallet and warm body are welcome here!” Or should we institute a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy so that we don’t have to be bothered with it? Remember, African Americans were welcomed on buses too so long as they sat in the back and shut their mouths.
This decision means these things….unless we stand up and say “NO MORE!” As your pastor, I am putting my neck on the chopping block with our denomination by determining to fight against the decision to exclude. If you’ve been at church in the past two months, then you have heard me doing this. I will continue to do this. I strongly encourage you to join me. Even if you believe homosexuality to be a sin, you can still stand up against this decision because WE ARE ALL SINNERS. Do not kid yourself into thinking that you are less of a sinner than a gay person merely because your sin isn’t the target right now. The same people who seek to single out the LGBTQ community today will be the ones who single you out for your sin in the future.
Our Church welcomes everybody. Period. We will include everybody. Period. We will provide every type of pastoral care to everybody. Period. We will do these things regardless of whether or not you agree with a person’s particular brand of sin. We will do these things because it is the loving and compassionate way of Christ.
God protects the paths of those who pursue justice, watching over the lives of those who keep faith with Him. – Proverbs 2:8
It’s easy to read this passage as “God won’t let anything bad happen to you if you pursue justice.” But that isn’t how I understand God’s protection especially in light of the rest of that verse. God watches “over the lives of those who keep faith with him.”
Rather than a hovering guardian swatting away would be trouble, I view this depiction of God and a fellow companion walking along the pothole riddled road of justice. Yes, God protects but more like my wife protects me from the difficulties of my pastoral role. She doesn’t stop the hard things from coming but she is there to make sure they do not consume my heart and mind. She gives me a focal point to concentrate on.
Likewise, God protects us from the hardships of justice seeking by making sure that the attacks that come from the powers and institutions that wish to keep people subjugated do not destroy the fire of love burning deep in our souls. God protects not our bodies but our hearts. I believe that nothing is more precious to God that a creative heart that seeks wholeness.
It is important not to overlook the phrase “those who keep faith with Him.” This brought to my mind again the reality that biblical faith is SO far from an evangelical mindset. Just believe and it’s enough. Faith is active and alive. It isn’t dead intellectual ascent.
God doesn’t need to believe in anything…but God does believe in something.So what is God’s faith? God’s faith is the active hope for unity with his creation. God’s faith is in the divine creation. God’s faith is in our ability to look beyond safety and seek something less secure: freedom for captives, sight for those who cannot see the truth and the healing of wounds that one cannot bear alone. God has faith in you, sons.