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Thoughts after UM-Next

Beloved Epworth Community,

I am on the plane returning to the Bay Area from the UM Next meetings in Kansas City. What I had hoped would be a meeting of United Methodist leaders from all over the US coming together to build the truly liberative church for which we long, UM Next was not that. To be sure, there were some who shared my hope. And there were some who just want to be able to continue doing what they are doing, and want to love everyone, but if loving everyone costs too much, then well…

What I do know is that Randall Miller’s service on the convening team surely contributed an unwavering commitment to liberation and dignity, rejecting cheap inclusion, and that the witness of his decades of activism and dedication to a better United Methodist Church was a force that undoubtedly brought a more just process and better outcome than if he had not served. Thank you, Randall.

There is more work to be done, of course, and the outcomes of the meeting are not without hope. The split of those who want to leave the denomination vs. those who want to stay and resist was about 60/40. And of course these are not mutually exclusive options, at least in the short term. For now, I offer below an initial reflection and will share more in subsequent posts. We also hope to do a fuller report back with a tentative date set for June 16 after church.

Thoughts after UM Next, 5.22.19

I have noticed

That certain voices, persons,

Who have been liberative and inspirational

In freedom struggles of all sorts

Over time, sometimes just


Not the Martin Luther Kings or the Nelson Mandelas,

but the ranks of the courageous

the thoughtful

the faithful

Whose names are largely unknown

And often work tirelessly behind the scenes

Connecting and educating and organizing to bring

to fruition a key dimension of justice, equality, freedom

Sometimes they have quite literally


The struggle overtaking their health or breath

And sometimes they have decided that to continue to

struggle with “allies”

who want to be taught or congratulated

and want change without risk

is to give away too much of their souls.

And that there is another world that already exists

Where they already live

Which is beautiful

Though not perfect

But real in its hope

And says, rest here

At least for awhile

With your kin, who delight in your gifts

Your voice, is needed here too,

and the one who came so that we might live

has already died for the brokenness of this world,

so you don’t have to.


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