Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We A People Of Justice or Anarchy?

Titus 2:7

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Ask my wife – or my children – or my friends – and they will all tell you I have a thing about fairness – about justice – about the rule of law. Oh – I’ve cheated and I’ve lied in my life and been unfair and unjust – but it almost destroys my insides when I do. All in all – I am typically a justice kind of guy that tries to follow the rules. As we raise our children for example – we try to help each of them (now adults) the same – even if one doesn’t need the help – we usually extend the support or help.

One thing that irks me is when rules or laws are not evenly applied – which is not justice. In my professional life – I have run into this a number of times for sure. I imagine many of us have as well. Recently – the following has come to my attention. A church – served by a colleague – has discussed and debated breaking away from the denomination because of some broken covenant issues on the part of some in our conference and denomination’s leadership. They have had internal discussions and may have even taken a vote of their members about leaving the denomination. When the Bishop’s office received word of their discussions – an official objection and sanction was issued saying this was not in accordance with the Book of Discipline (BOD) and would not be allowed as valid. Yet – recently – the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) broadcast a decision of theirs relating to their examination of candidates for ministry. Their vote – made public – was completely against what the BOD and what the Judicial Council of the UMC has ruled – and yet the Bishop’s office has publicly been silent (to my knowledge). If the BOOM decision is not ruled out of order by the Bishop’s office or at the Executive Clergy Session at Annual Conference – it would seem the rules only apply to one side of our disagreement and not to the other. This is not justice.

For forty plus years some have tried to change the BOD to read – as they desire it to read – on a given subject. Failing to change the General Conference vote (needed to change the BOD) – those who wish a different reality than what the BOD gives us – are now doing whatever they wish – and there seems to be very little accountability by the leadership that supports their efforts. This is unjust. Pastors – churches – bishops – and conferences – should be held accountable for going against the BOD or throw the BOD out and let us all do as we please. This doesn’t seem to be the model of fairness or of justice to me. All must abide by the same rules it would seem for justice to prevail.

Today’s passage speaks of setting an example – of doing things fairly – justly – and in proper order. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Titus 2:1–8 – 1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

We must set examples in all that we do (Lord – forgive us when we don’t and challenge us to change and follow Your example). Help us – Lord – to be people of justice and to set proper examples – people of order and law even as we are people of grace and mercy. Help us to treat all persons equally under the law and the rules – be it in the church or in everyday life. Help us to follow the rule of law and if we wish to change the law – to do so in the proper way rather than thru anarchy. Are we a people of justice or anarchy? Is there a proper path forward or only the path of those who agree with us?

As always – your thoughts are welcome. Leave your comments.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.


April 9, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This would have been something that could be posted to comment section for the article “BOOM revises policy that addresses homosexuality” section of the bwcumc.org website. Yet, all of the other posted news articles have a comment section, but not this one, at the time of this posting. You raised some important questions for the Bishop and our conference.


    Comment by Barry Hidey | April 9, 2018 | Reply

    • I looked for a way to respond to the BOOM post but didn’t see anything available. If you find a way – let me know and I will certainly post this there as well. Thanks Barry. How’s retirement? Thinking about it myself.


      Comment by raymcdonald | April 9, 2018 | Reply

  2. Thank you for this blog post, Ray. Well said. The fact that a Comment section is missing after the BOOM revises article speaks volumes about the openness of the periodical’s handlers to points of view that differ from the article’s.


    Comment by Darryl Zoller | April 10, 2018 | Reply

    • Amen and Amen.


      Comment by raymcdonald | April 10, 2018 | Reply

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