There’s a song, Don’t Dream It’s Over, by Crowded House. The lyrics speak to me today while attending a conference in Leawood, Kansas on the future of the United Methodist Church. The words that strike a chord in my heart are:
Hey now, hey now, Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, When the world comes in
They come, they come, To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win.
The United Methodist Church is running to the precipice of a split over who we include, who we love, and how we legislate inclusion/exclusion. We are focusing on our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (+) siblings in Christ. And yet as I attend this conference on the future of the UMC, I am wondering who is not given voice in these matters of exclusion.
- Will we center the voices of the LGBTQIA+ persons, or merely have cisgender persons talk about their own experiences of transformation?
- Will we expand inclusion of power to those who live on the edges of our church: the economically stressed, and people of color, to name a few?
- Will we release the power of voice to those who live on the edges of our church in order to BE the church? Or must we clutch at the microphone of ME, instead of passing the mic to the voices that need to be heard in this moment?
Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner reminded me recently that real power is shared. If we really understand the power of living a life of Christ, we know that Voice is meant to be given away, to be shared, to be spread to the edges of society. And yet, the centered-powerful feast on loaves of our attention, while turning to us only for crumbs of our own understanding. As a Latina who grew up on the borderlands of Arizona and Mejico, I am wondering if all the power resides in one group: the insiders.
I don’t want to dream that our UMC is over. I’ve been one of those crying in the desert for unity. I also understand the need for inclusion. Period. I can’t imagine a church without the edge-dweller voices being heard and valued. And so, I dream it’s not over. The Church is differently beautiful in the full spectrum of all color, gender, and sexual expressions of God’s creation.
And so, today I remember that I live by a newly-built wall on the border of Mexico. And that wall separated my hometown into two. I know the pain of all that means. And so, I call for us to be a church that tears down walls of exclusion, walls of “mine-not-yours,” walls of “you-don’t-matter.” I call for us to be a Church that radically loves.
If we legislate exclusion, “they” win.
But when we remember whose voices are not being heard; when we give them center space; when we love all God’s people, THEN we know they won’t win. Because then, Love wins all.
¿No tienes cosa de eso en español para compartir? Es tan bueno.
I keep dreaming.
I am incredibly sad that even now some of the community of people I love, who I think love each other, has broken away…. announced they do not want to be part of us any more.
I worry that there will be more sadness, more broken relationships and broken hearts to come.
Yet I base my life on that dream of following a Christ who is that radical inclusive, risky, love.
I know God’s dream is bigger than mine, bigger than the ironically named United Methodist Church, and God’s dream will go on beyond whatever we’re do as church….
I dream and I’m sad. I look around and see a great many people in this mood.
Thank you for being actively involved in the dialog. May God have mercy on our hardened hearts.
Yes, may God have mercy. Praying and acting together…
Hello Rev. Dottie,
I love what you have to say here. It needs to be said and needs to be heeded.
I liked it so much that I finally made a post (after two years or so laying fallow) to my little BBS around your post here.
My Gravatar account allows me to put in a sub-website when I create a link; however, it doesn’t save anything other than the website name, no subdirectory…. *sad*
So here is my “Dave’s Little Web” website, if you want to go to the “Twinkie BBS” and see my response to your post here: https://twinkfed.homedns.org/twinkie/
Be well. Many blessings to you!
There can’t be unity when the LGBTQ crowd and their advocates refuse to submit to Scripture. The UMC needs to dissolve.