I recently read a book that should be required reading for any good Methonerd like myself. Reverend Will Cantrell has written Unafraid and Unashamed: Facing the Future of United Methodism. It’s a really, really good book discussing the human sexuality issue in the church.
At just 150 or so pages it’s a fairly quick read and brings in what I assume are accurate discussions of scripture, the history of the issue in the church and an honest, accurate summation of the three key sides in the conversation: traditionalists, progressives and centrists.
He speaks of Nineveh, a broken communion chalice in Pittsburgh, and Moses taking advice from Jethro.
My favorite quote:
if we approach diversity with fear, we will reach a predictable outcome. We will continue to accuse those who see things differently as ruining our denomination. We will befriend and dialogue with only those who agree with us. We will think of those with different viewpoints as something less than Christian, and less than intelligent. We will approach all denomination decisions with the intent to acquire the maximum amount of power for those who share our point of view. With fear guiding us, a schism is not only probable, it is assured.
Maybe you read that and thought, “Yes, he clearly agrees with my side.” But in this masterfully written book you will notice that he takes no sides, offers no fodder for proving that WE are right on this issue and THEY are wrong.
Instead he challenges to see through the issue and focus on us remaining united. You know, like A Way Forward.
At a time in our society when two sides can’t talk about anything Rev. Cantrell calls us to be above that, to be people of faith and courage, to exemplify scriptural holiness.
The battle for the soul of United Methodism will not be fought against other United Methodists of differing perspectives… It will be a struggle between the power of fear and the power of faith.
You can pick up a copy from Amazon for about $17. Spend a few hours with it, then a few more discussing with others in your circle. I ordered it thinking it would be great for a church-wide study but instead think it’s a great conversation starter for those already aware of the issues facing our church.