Possibly. I think many people just don’t see how either side would benefit over the constant fighting. And it hasn’t helped any of the other denominations that have bitterly split over the issue, so I guess some people are thinking, why not we just try to come to an amicable parting of ways that doesn’t have to resort to lawsuits over church property and funds.
Only because the UMC is structured differently and the non-orthodox wing tried to restructure it in their favour as ltwin mentioned earlier. But in the other mainline Protestant denominations, the non-orthodox wings have taken over. In the PCUSA’s case, some at the top are pushing out orthodox clergy.
Has this been true in the past, within UMC? From my reading, it seems the conservatives never actually retake ground. Periodically they stop or slow down the retreat, but only temporarily.
For so the eternal strife must rage
Between the spirit of the age
And Dogma, which, as is well known
Does simply hate to be outgrown.
The thing the conservatives have in their favor is that the UMC still has a large conservative movement in the Southern US and the overseas conferences. Overseas, Methodism is still growing and that growth tends to be conservative. The liberals run the risk of alienating the most vibrant parts of the church.
I’ve read about a proposed “Modified Traditional Plan” that would uphold the traditional teaching and provide for actual enforcement of discipline against offenders (which in liberal conferences is usually a slap on the wrist if anything) while also providing a “gracious exit option” for congregations that cannot in good conscience abide by traditional sexual morality. Basically, there would be a time frame for congregations to make their decision and graciously exit, but all those who stay would have to abide by the traditional teaching.
I see the UMC has different demographics from other denominations. That said, my hunch is that the liberals would gladly “run the risk” if they have the votes. They would phrase it differently, maybe “accepting the Gospel call for courageous compassion”. That would be their idea of “vibrant”
The Free Methodist Church is quite small. There are also larger, predominantly black Methodist denominations, with millions of members each in the US. They begin with the name African, but they don’t ban non-African Methodists from joining them. So they are much more important in the US than the Free Methodist Church. And perhaps the majority of black Methodists would view homosexual sex as sinful. But I don’t know if any have included that in their list of doctrines. I guess you could check their websites to see if they mention it. So if somebody is uncomfortable with some changes in the doctrinal instructions of the UMC, he or she can try the local African Methodist congregation instead, as he or she is less likely to find a local Free Methodist congregation. Though I don’t think the UMC will impose the doctrine that homosexual sex is not sinful.
Someone above asked how this is similar or different to the Catholic Church.
It is similar in that both the UMC and the Catholic Church are global entities, and so have to deal with very different cultures that may be more or less conservative.
It is different in that schism is not generally an option for people who remain Catholic but disagree. You either personally leave the church for another non-Catholic church or you submit to the church’s decision. But it’s not like groups of bishops would form their own Catholic Church that is open to gay marriage, or whatever the case may be.
But this issue of sexuality and LGBT is an issue for all churches. All Christian communities are trying to figure out how to express their teaching in today’s society, which has been more open to LGBT people. Not only that, but we’re seeing the reality of the existence of LGBT people, in the first place.
Thanks for the response and clarification, RealisticCatholic. What you said makes sense. i was the one who asked that earlier, and I am a Methodist, by the way.
Follow up: So I gather that there are no openly gay priests in the fold of the Catholic Church who openly thumb their noses at Church discipline and don’t get reprimanded for it, like there is in the UMC with the openly lesbian bishop in Colorado?