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Reflections: Letters to the editor (Nov-Dec 2016)


More from Wesley

I enjoyed the article "John Wesley on Giving" (July/August). We need more articles based on the teachings of John Wesley, which demonstrate how his principles can and should still be applied to our lives today!

Wesley Matthews, Strongstown (Pennsylvania) UMC

On actions of GC2016

After reading the article "Four Constitutional Changes Need Ratification" (July/August), I was deeply disturbed at the wording of the proposed "Inclusiveness of Gender, Age" amendment. It adds the word "gender" to the amendment and claims it to mean male and female. Why not use the words "male and female" and not "gender"? This is critically important because the word "gender" can mean so much more than male and female. The NYC Human Rights Commission recognizes 31 gender identities and expressions, two of which are male and female. Some of the others are: gender bender, trans person and third sex. If the UMC wants to include the LGBTQ, please be honest and straight-forward and don't try to fool the denomination into ratifying a false narrative. If the word "gender" is not replaced with "male and female," this amendment should not be ratified.

Jack Leonard, Cross Roads UMC, North Fayette, Pennsylvania

In reference to "Green light for new hymnal project" (July/August), the leadership of The United Methodist Church should concentrate more on efforts to save precious souls by true preaching of God's word to a lost and dying world, including God's unmistakable position on the practice of lesbianism and homosexuality (of) which he clearly states his disapproval. As to the new hymnal, many of the time-tested beloved old hymns are having the words changed and more of them appear to be in jeopardy of falling prey to your efforts to please your so-called "new generation of Methodists." In talking with my fellow members, we much prefer traditional hymns such as "Rock of Ages" and "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand." Hopefully, in your efforts to cater to the "new generation," you don't drive out the "older generation" who have supported and been active in the church for many years.

Jessie Bayne, UMC, Ashland, Virginia

Serving not always easy

Pastor Elaine Wing once offered during a sermon that being a Christian isn't easy. I found this to be true.

Many people are suspicious of others who offer assistance. They wonder what is my true motive. I recently traveled miles to help a stranger who wanted to reimburse me for my time and travel expenses. I told him, "I have already profited from the exchange and to accept money would cheapen my good deeds."

He had been hurt before and was becoming scared, fearing I would ultimately disappoint him. I helped him and enjoyed doing so, knowing I had helped restore his faith in others and showed him by my actions that I was true to my word.

I believe God loves us and he is good and kind. When I attempt to walk in faith, love, mercy and kindness, I am brought closer to God!

John Bruton, Calvary UMC, Dumont, New Jersey

Useful magazine

What a wonderful way to show God's workings at hand. Interpreter is a very useful and great way to show how we need to share the good news!

John (JB) Brown Jr., Pearl River (Louisiana) UMC

Navigating change

I was refreshingly reminded by your (Sept/Oct) edition, that change is a constant way that God continues to create opportunities to share the love of Christ to people that may not have heard or seen God's love in action. Thank you for reminding us to use change to present God's love to others and to help them realize that change can be good and is part of God's plan of creation.

Jeff Ridings, Christ UMC, Franklin, Tennessee

If creative change is to occur in the UMC, leaders should reflect that their biblical foundation is fully and thoroughly updated (supported by archeological finds).

Terms need to be used in such a way that we know we are disciples of Jesus and members actually know what that means and practice what it entails.

Leaders must not be afraid to say that the Bible is a rendition of human insights of the divine imperative presence in human life, often revised with different authors even within a single book (like the Gospel of John).

Context is important, so no "cherry picking" to prove a point. Besides, there are literally more writings by early followers of "The Way" than we have in our present Bible.

(The Rev.) B.B. Mequi, retired, First UMC, Killeen, Texas

I enjoyed reading the articles on "Navigating Change" (Sept/Oct) and the ways United Methodist congregations have found to embrace change creatively. While change can be energizing and can promote growth, changes can be damaging and devastatingly divisive, especially if forced onto congregations.

I am NOT homophobic, and I do not wish Karen Oliveto any ill. She is a child of God. I do not believe (she) should be serving as a bishop if she is living a gay lifestyle. She is free to marry, but not in The United Methodist Church, per The Book of Discipline.

IF The United Methodist Church is going to change its position on homosexuality, it needs to be done at General Conference and with very careful consideration of scripture.

I pray that I will not be put in the position of choosing between standing on scripture and being a member of The United Methodist Church.

Jenny Cundiff, Eden Chapel UMC, Perkins, Oklahoma

Questions photo

I cannot believe your magazine would use the picture of the renegade bishop as the lead picture in the article about the assignment of bishops (Sept/Oct). What in the world were you thinking? She has broken the biblical teachings, the church laws as stated in The Book of Discipline and her vows she took when she was ordained. You have just rubbed in the mud the noses of every obedient bishop and minister. I believe you owe every United Methodist who reads Interpreter an apology for using such poor judgment and following the PC crowd to the slop trough.

Martha H. Berry, First UMC, Campbellsville, Kentucky

Many of us are cringing at the lack of leadership in the UMC hierarchy. There was an openly gay bishop elected in the Western Jurisdiction. Do our leaders not fear God anymore? Does God's Word and the Book of Discipline that our forefathers followed have any validity any more? The UMC Judicial Council was asked to make a ruling on this election, but nothing was done. This Judicial Council was elected to enforce the Book of Discipline, which should have been done before this assignment was made. The future of the UMC looks bleak unless the leadership steps forward and corrects these issues or a split is inevitable in this denomination. We also fear a mass exiting of members is on the horizon if changes are not set forth.

Bailey Wright, New Hope UMC, Randolph, Virginia

Ed. Note: The Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church meets twice a year and has not met since the jurisdictional conferences. The Council has indicated it will consider a petition from the South Central Jurisdiction concerning the election and assignment of Bishop Karen Oliveto at its Spring 2017 meeting.

Advent thoughts

Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these "last days" (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God's people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. The church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ's coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ's kingdom when he returns for his people. The Advent hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" perfectly represents the church's cry during the Advent season.

While Israel would have sung the song in expectation of Christ's first coming, the church now sings the song in commemoration of that first coming and in expectation of the second coming in the future.

I am very ready for the second coming of Christ and I don't feel that this earth will continue as it is going. Or if he decides it is not my time, I will be waiting, being busy letting everyone know of his coming.

Juett D. Stucker Sr., Graefenburg UMC, Shelbyville, Kentucky

We Want Mail

Interpreter welcomes Letters to the Editor related to the content of the magazine or other issues of interest to United Methodists. Letters should be limited to 150 words and include the writer's name, local church, city and state. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Send letters to or Interpreter, P. O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320.