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Betraying Our Best Selves

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“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”                                                                              -Romans 13:10
The bookAnatomy of Peace has been suggested for delegates preparing for the Special Session. It is instructive in terms of what we must decide as a denomination, but also for how we are to be in relationship with people in our lives.
The book is based on the premise that we are called to be at peace with one another and to treat others with love. Yet, we sometimes betray that call, and in so doing, betray our best selves. We justify our self-betrayal by making an enemy of the person whom we should have treated with love. As the authors note:
“When I choose to act contrary to my own sense of what is appropriate…I commit   an act of self-betrayal...A choice to betray myself is a choice to go to war.” [1]
“A heart at war needs enemies to justify its warring. It needs enemies and mistreatment more than it wants peace.”[2]
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Hearts of Peace
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3: 12, 14-15a
When I was a local church pastor in my first appointment, I found myself in conflict with a lay person in the congregation. This man wanted to be chair of the trustees. I thought him inappropriate for the role, and I made sure he did not get elected. I later found out that he was hurt by my actions.
Of course, I felt that I was right about the issue. But now I know that I was also profoundly wrong. I was wrong in my way of being toward this man. My heart was at war with him. 

As we approach the 2019 Special Session, many have recommended the book TheAnatomy of Peace, by the Arbinger Institute. It is a parable about dealing with conflict. But it is much more. It seeks to teach us how to live i…

Defining Connectionalism

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Last week, Cynthia & I were discussing the two part blog series written by Dr. David Scott for UM & Global (Part 1 & Part 2).  While we appreciated the historical content and the concise summary of diverse potential scenarios, the title, "Whither the Central Conference in a 'loosened connection'" gave us pause.  The blog focused on what scenarios might emerge as the Commission on A Way Forward’s works to articulate possible structural options that, as they say, will likely provide a “loosening” of our connection.  What seems to be implied in this use of “connection” is the changing of structural identity – the loosening of a denominational framework that has become, for some, limited and no longer adequate or effective.  

We began to reflect on a broader definition of "connection."  Our Book of Discipline currently explains connectionism as follows: 132 - The Journey of a Connectional People - Connectionism in the United Methodist tradition is m…