Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Here We Go!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

IMG_0301Here we go!  Annual Conference got started yesterday morning.  My prayer – as it has been for a few weeks now – is that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will seek after Jesus!  Today’s passage calls us to not conform to the patterns of the world.  We are called to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.  Here it is – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Today we had a number of reports and passed our budget for 2016.  There was no debate on any of the items before us in our morning plenary session.  Our two delegates to Annual Conference sat with me and I took a few pictures and put them on Facebook.  They were good troopers for sure.

After a few votes we elected two lay persons out of six to General Conference and one out of six clergy.  More voting today (Friday).  One of the clergy candidates I am voting for is next in line I hope – to be elected.  Another one or two of my choices might get elected as well.

I had a good time spending time with our delegates from First UMC and seeing several of my colleagues as well.  I had supper with my nephew – who is also an elder in the conference.  I had a delicious spinach omelet for supper.  He had salmon.

Four resolutions to General Conference were brought before us as we met in the evening plenary session.  We discussed them in small groups and voted on them.  The results will be given to us in the morning (Friday).  Three were on science and faith and one was on human sexuality (a resolution to strike the words The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.  These words are found in the following statement in the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church on Human Sexuality.

We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to  responsible stewardship of this sacred gift.

Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults.

We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us.  We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.

The position of the United Methodist Church on several items related to human sexuality can be found here.

My hope is that we voted the resolution to delete the sentence – The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching – down.  We will find out on Friday.  We had two youth in our circle and these young people both supported the current language in the Discipline.

Even if this resolution passed – it is only a resolution to General Conference and the GC has voted to support the current language and even strengthen it over the last 40 years with no indication it will change that approach as the church grows more conservative on this issue. We will see!

My prayer remains that we will seek after God rather than the world – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Only when we seek after God rather than the world will we be able to see God’s will for us.  We are trying to be faithful!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way!

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May 29, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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