Dialogues: Amongst The People Called United Methodists
Publish Date: 2014-07-16
Author: William J Abraham
All sides agree that the United Methodist Church is at a crisis-point. Disputes that have persisted like a low grade fever across decades have intensified to a point where the entire body is now under threat, and the worried glances in the direction of the medicine cabinet suggest that it may be out of Band-Aids. This series of dialogues seeks to capture something of the positions of those who have shaped the debates that have brought the church to the brink, as well as something of their character and personality. It is these broad types that ultimately will go a long way to determining how the current crisis gets resolved. Recent dramatic developments in the United Methodist Church have centered on the refusal by some elders and bishops not just to disregard church law but to challenge it and nullify its effects. Many are now convinced that it is time to look separation in the eye; others see this as a catastrophe to be avoided at any price; and yet others still are convinced that allowing for a local option will save the day. Folk at all levels disagree on what the crisis is, how to understand its causes, and on how to solve it. By deploying the genre of dialogues the author sets out to provide a realistic and nuanced account of the chief actors involved and their respective positions. The interchange is frank, focused, and forthright. The result is a refreshing airing of the issues in a rigorous and witty exchange of views. It is indispensable reading for all who care about the future of The United Methodist Church.