Tag Archives: Texas Religion

Trouble Finally Reaching the United Methodist Church

Several denominations have seen major rifts occurring over the issue of gay marriage and LGBTQ clergy.  The Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) has been rent asunder by the issue with other Anglican conventions (primarily from Africa) rushing into cater to congregations that are unwilling to accept the fact that homosexuality has become rather mainstream in American culture.  The Presbyterians have face similar challenges.  Now it’s the United Methodist Church’s turn on the spit.  Will it become the Untied Methodist Church?

At their meeting this week, the UMC will vote on two proposals – dubbed the “Traditional Plan” and the “One Church Plan.”   The New York Times explains the differences.

The Traditional Plan:

“essentially maintains the church’s practice of denying gays and lesbians equality and appears to have the most support. The church’s policy, which dates from 1972, states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The plan prohibits gays and lesbians from becoming clergy and forbids same-sex marriage. It defines homosexuals as people in same-sex marriages or civil unions, and those who “publicly state that they are practicing homosexuals.”

Clergy who officiate at same-sex weddings would receive a one-year, unpaid suspension. A second offense would result in removal from the clergy.

The policy would also require groups within the denomination to “certify adherence” to the rule. Those who refuse would be “urged” to leave the United Methodist Church, which would prohibit them from using the denomination’s name or logo.

The primary supporters of the proposal are church members from African nations and the Philippines, as well as evangelical Europeans and Americans, who expressed a desire to retain the church’s longstanding rules.”

The One Church Plan:

“would allow individual churches or regions to decide for themselves whether to hire gay clergy or to perform same-sex weddings.

It would also eliminate the church policy that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity.

Churches that choose not to hire gay and lesbian priests or to conduct same-sex weddings would not be punished. Bishops and clergy who choose not to officiate at ordinations or same-sex weddings would be protected from being sanctioned.”

Red was raised in the UMC and still attends just frequently enough to maintain a claim to membership.  Sadly, Red is predicting the same fate for the UMC that has befallen other denominations that have faced this issue.  Most major urban congregations are unlikely to accept that they must repudiate gay members who wish to be married or serve the Church.  Rural and small town churches will seek refuge in what can only be called Christian bigotry.  The Church will split and be further weakened by a fight that doesn’t have to be fought.  It seems the haters will win a pyrrhic victory no matter what the outcome as they will go their separate way to wallow in their intolerance and self delusion of their holiness and “perfection” of Christianity that even John Wesley ultimately repudiated.

Red would like to think that in God’s eyes we are all saints and sinners and that no one is perfect and no one should even strive towards perfection as the ultimate goal of a spiritual quest.  Only disillusionment lies on that path.  If God created us, he created us as flawed and highly imperfect creatures who must cooperate despite our differences to survive in what can be a very hostile world. And if God does not love his gay children just as much as everyone else, then something is wrong with his creation.

As the old saw goes, maybe “God is alive and well and working on a less ambitious project.”

File it under “It’s About Time” – Catholic Church to disclose names of all clergy accused of child abuse

In 2019, the 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas have promised that they will release the names of priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor from 1950 on. The move was announced by Bishop Edward Burns of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.   The Church indicated that the bishops from the 15 Texas dioceses decided on September 30 to release the lists of names by January 31, 2019 as part of their effort “to protect children from sexual abuse.”  One might argue that the priestly cows already left the barn while the Church was holding open the barn doors and even directing them to the next pasture where they could graze on unsuspecting Catholic youth.   Still, Red encourages any move in a positive direction towards further exposure of this horrific scandal that has eaten away at the very soul of the Church.  Priests need to know that there is now nowhere to hide and that as Dostoyevsky put it “the path to redemption leads through confession.”  But this confession needs to be in the public square not hidden in the confessional.   It will not heal the wounded, but it needs to be done.

Quote for the Day

“If you say, ‘Well, I don’t have any symptoms of the flu,’ well, great! That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Just keeping saying that. ‘I’ll never have the flu. I’ll never have the flu.’ Inoculate yourself with the word of God.”

Texas Televangelist Kelly Copeland.

Red would like to inoculate himself with something that would make it impossible for him to hear or read the words of crazy TV beggar preachers.

Today in Texas History – November 29

From the Annals of the Methodists –  In 1838, Rev. Jesse Hord entered Texas at Gaines Ferry on the Sabine River.  Hord had volunteered for service in Texas and was assigned to the Texas Mission District by the Methodist Church in October of 1838. In October he traveled by horseback with his fellow missionary Isaac Strickland to Texas.  The day after entering Texas he preached his first sermon at San Augustine.  Hord had converted to Methodism at age 17.  Four years later he was admitted on trial into the Tennessee Conference where he was ordained him a deacon in 1836 and an elder in 1837.  He was charged with forming a circuit in the Houston area and he established the first Methodist congregations at Richmond, Matagorda, Brazoria, Bay Prairie, DeMoss, Texana, Velasco, East Columbia, and Houston. His 500-mile circuit included twenty congregations. He is considered the founder of Methodism in Texas.

Today in Texas History – February 2

From the Annals of the Mystics –  In 1620, María Coronel took her religious vows to join an order in Spain known as the Blue Nuns.  The Blue Nuns wore an outer cloak of coarse blue cloth over the traditional brown habit.   Taking the name Sister María de Jesús de Agreda, she had more than 500 mystic experiences in which she envisioned visiting an unknown land. Franciscan authorities somehow decided that the mysterious land was in New Mexico and West Tejas.  In her visitations, Sister María contacted several Indian cultures, including the Jumanos, and instructed them to seek out the isolated Spanish missions.  In July 1629, fifty Jumano Indians appeared at the Franciscan convent of old Isleta near Albuquerque.   The Jumanos claimed they had been sent to find religious teachers. They apparently had some basic knowledge of the Christian tenants that they had learned from the “Woman in Blue.”  Fray Juan de Salas led a mission to find more Jumanos and encountered a large group of Indians in Texas who also claimed to have been visited by the Woman in Blue who told them they would be met by Christian missionaries.  When interviewed by church authorities, Sister Maria acknowledged that she was the Woman in Blue.

Texans Take Hard Line on Muslims

NPR reports that anti-Muslim fervor is picking up in Texas.  The epicenter of the confrontation appears to be in the Metroplex and Irving in particular.

Just last week, the Texas Rebel Knights, a white supremacist group associated with the Ku Klux Klan, announced they too want to protest at the Irving mosque, though the date keeps changing.

The Islamic Center of Irving is a domed arabesque building in the middle of an Irving residential suburb; its religious leader, Imam Zia Sheik, says his mosque finds itself in a tough place these days.

“On the one hand, we have to try to maintain good relationships with everyone, and to show the Islamic hospitality and good manners,” he says. “But when you have these kinds of rallies and protests on your doorstep it becomes difficult to do that.”

The large and thriving Muslim population in the Dallas area lives and works in an environment that’s growing more hostile toward their religion. Note a recent sermon delivered by the Rev. Robert Jeffress — pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, one of the largest, most influential members of the Southern Baptist Convention — on the Sunday after the ISIS attacks in Paris.

“Make no mistake about it,” he said from the pulpit in downtown Dallas, “Islam is just not another way to approach God. Islam is a false religion and it is inspired by Satan himself.”

At the end of the sermon, Jeffress received a standing ovation.

When in doubt, always fall back on Satan and make sure you are aligned with the Klan.