aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Staying friends

As The UMC tears itself apart, more and more people are looking past the next few months to try to imagine what will be left of their church. Will only a few hotheads leave? Will the US progressives manage to seal themselves off from accountability with the proposed US Regional Conference? Will the Africans go off on their own? Nobody knows. But not many think things can be maintained as they are.

That means that people I have shared my life with -- friends of long standing, partners in ministry -- will likely wind up on the other side of a great divide from me. That is very sad. But it doesn't mean that we have to be ugly to each other in the run-up to the Great Cookie Crumble.

I have friends in other denominations who have different standards from mine. We remain friends. I have had many friendly relations with clergy and Scouters who belong to non-Christian (or non-standard-Christian) bodies. We get along fine. I have friends who believe in nothing supernatural at all. I have friends who want to be pagans. We don't have to believe the same things or adhere to the same standards to treat each other as we wish to be treated.

The pressure is on right now, pressure to choose sides. And if we have to choose sides, to fight with whatever weapons lie to hand, including scorn and obloquy. But we don't have to. The day will come when we will face each other again, perhaps as members of different bodies. At which time, I hope we may continue to be friends. Maybe even cooperate on things occasionally.

So, on questions of conscience, let each decide where to stand. And if we differ, may we not let those things upon which we disagree make us bitter toward each other. There will be an After.

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