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Keeping it about Jesus

Keeping it about Jesus
Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

By Jessica Brodie

The most important thing about The United Methodist Church is not homosexuality or inclusion or who gets elected bishop or anything else we feel passionately about. Not that any of those things are unimportant or should not be addressed.

But we need to remember that the most important thing about our faith is who we follow: Christ.

It’s not about us. It’s not about our feelings or our fears or anything else. It’s about loving and honoring and serving the only reason we even stand a chance of getting to live forever in God’s Kingdom.

As Christ-followers, we need to remember that, especially as we engage in heated and heartfelt dialogue and debate about sexuality and the UMC. As we went to press on this edition, news broke about the election of the UMC’s first lesbian bishop, Karen Oliveto. Currently, the UMC forbids the ordination of “practicing self-avowed homosexuals,” and one jurisdiction has already asked the UMC’s top court to step in with a declaratory decision. The reaction, both good and bad, has been dizzying.

As we get more and more caught up in anger and sadness and joy and any of the other emotions we feel about sexuality and the church, I fear we’re making this issue the center of our church.

But our church is and always will be about Jesus.

And as we muddle through difficult decisions about inclusion and obedience and what Jesus did or did not say about sexuality, I urge United Methodists to stop, take a breath and focus on Him.

He will guide the way. He will show us what to do. It’s time we got out of His way, turned the Holy Spirit loose and stopped thinking we know best about the church.

It’s His church. We’re just lucky enough to be a part of it.

Bishop James King spoke wise words during the opening worship of the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference on July 13. He said if one person’s favorite color is red and another’s is blue and another’s is yellow, but everyone likes green, clearly we must focus on the thing all have in common and rally around that.

Let’s focus on Jesus, doing His work and making disciples. He’ll sort out the rest.

3 Comments

  • Amen

  • Jessica,

    Thank you for your article! The church is undergoing a lot of challenges; sexuality, maintaining relevance in a cultural changing society, churches in a state of decline, even churches closing their doors for good. I agree that during good times and bad, our focus should always be on Christ and His commands for we know that the only way to the Father is through Christ (John 14:6-7). Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40). Moreover, He tells us, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2).

    I find that far too many Christians have lost sight of these commands from Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Love on another without judgment and let Him sort out who is to be condemned or saved. For if we don’t follow these simple instructions it may be us who are condemned.

    Andy

    • Thank you, Andy!

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