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Reflections (Letters to the Editor July-August 2017)


July-August 2017

Thoughts misrepresented

I was discouraged to read "One faith, different understandings" (May-June). My words were not used in a way that accurately reflect the interview I gave, what I believe is true of our history or what I believe is at stake for The United Methodist Church today. Two quotes in the article, in particular, suggest that I support the big-tent vision for United Methodism that started with Albert Outler at the beginnings of The UMC and is being aggressively advocated today by many United Methodist bishops and other key denominational leaders. In my description, I was saying that the tendency to keep moving the tent poles was a liability of United Methodism, neither a source of strength nor faithful to our Wesleyan heritage. I believe that for Wesley unity was the product of a firm commitment to a particular set of beliefs and practice (doctrines and discipline). Wesley would not, and we should not, put institutional unity above a particular understanding of "holiness of heart and life."

(The Rev.) Kevin Watson, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Ed. Note: Interpreter deeply regrets that the article was edited in such a way as to misrepresent Rev. Watson's thinking. We acknowledge that he has a valid concern, and we sincerely apologize for the error.

The error occurred during the editing process and not through any fault of the author. It was entirely unintentional and not meant to misrepresent Rev. Watson's perspective. We accept full responsibility. A revised version of the article is online at Fair and accurate reporting is critically important to us, and we will redouble our efforts to make sure that our articles accurately convey the intended meaning.


Talking spiritual warfare

I just read with great dismay and sadness the Rev. Donna DeCamp's critique of "Bible Boot Camp in Winter" (March/April). She wrote: "If we follow our Lord Jesus who preached peace and love, why does a church teach little children military concepts... ." I appreciate Interpreter adding the Scripture for the week's activities. My dismay and sadness is the result of a systemic problem within The UMC that many fail to see that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. I remind the readers our warfare is not against human beings, but the source of evil that seeks to destroy human hearts, dreams and lives. I commend Clark UMC for their boldness. Jesus said (Matt. 10:16 NIV), "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

(The Rev.) Randy Burbank, First UMC, Sheffield, Alabama

Likes .pdf option

I commend the Interpreter staff for reformatting the pdf version. It is very readable on my cell phone. You have eliminated the confusion of different length columns and unnecessary decoration that previously interfered with reading.Thanks for being responsive to criticism.

Barbara Isely, First UMC, Corvallis, Oregon

Appreciates issue

The May/June issue is the best that I have ever read. It covers so many subjects and explains in words that we can understand what it means to be a United Methodist. The article on our connection clarifies what we, as a connectional church, are all about. I have heard people say that United Methodists don't believe anything. The article "One faith, different understandings" speaks well to that. The timeline beginning in 1725-50 tells us of our unique history, period by period. I could go on but you get the idea. A truly informative issue.

Martha Berry, First UMC, Campbellsville, Kentucky

Corrections: The Rev. Alejo Hernandez's ordination year was incorrect in "Change is constant" in the May-June issue. He was ordained deacon in 1871 and elder in 1873. The Rev. Marilyn Ware was incorrectly identified as a deaconess in "Rule of Discipleship leads to disciplined life." She is a retired deacon. The articles are correct at on this website.

We want mail!
Interpreter welcomes Letters to the Editor that address articles in the magazine or other topics of interest to United Methodists. In most instances, letters should be no more than 150 words and must include the writer's name, local church, city and state and may be edited for length and clarity. Send to or Interpreter, P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320.