Churches, Christ, Love and Hate

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I can’t believe this myself, but today was the first time I’ve been to a Methodist church!  The services for my other “sister” Alicia’s mother were held at the little Methodist church here in town.

The Pink Flamingo is ashamed to admit it, but I’ve always been led to believe that Methodists in this day and age don’t believe in much of anything, don’t believe in Christ or salvation.

It’s like this, if this Methodist church is any indication, I have been downright wrong. This was good old fashion, old time salvation with old “time music” (the kind I really dislike).  There was absolutely nothing wrong with the theology I heard today.  It was all about Christ, Salvation, and Heaven).

I am still ashamed of myself for my prejudice against Methodists not being Christian the way “we” are.

It made me think about the way we Episcopalians are being treated.  The far right treats we Episcopalians like we are horribly evil because of the whole homosexual thing.

Everyone automatically assumes that all of us are pure evil, that we don’t believe in Christ because we are members of a denomination that has ordained gays (and women).

Are you familiar with the story of Zacchaeus: Luke 19: 1-10

“…He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’…”

If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know that tax collectors were the most hated people in the Roman world.  They cheated.  They destroyed people.  No one who was anyone associated with a tax collector.

So, here comes Jesus, hanging with a hated tax collector.  If He hung with the worst of the worst of his day, then I suspect today he would be friends with gays.  How dare we condemn these people?

Then again, how dare we condemn individual churches that are part of a denomination?

I go to an Episcopal church that is terribly conservative, part of a diocese that is extremely conservative, but we are having problems with Anglicans who are determined to destroy our denomination because we are not pure.

Sorry, but I don’t take orders from bishops in Africa who do not condemn the execution of people because they are gay, allow innocent people to be murdered because they are allegedly “witches”, and allow the rape of infants to cure AIDS.

This said, I find the new Anglican upstarts here in the US to be distasteful and disgusting.  I happen to know that they are allowing priests who have basically been defrocked in the ECUSA to be priests.

It isn’t the denomination, it is the individual church.  You have good Episcopal churches and bad ones.  There are good Anglican churches (I think) and bad ones.  There are good Methodist churches and bad ones.

How dare we condemn everyone who is part of a denomination of which we do not approve because we think it isn’t pure?

It’s not exactly Christian, is it?

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2 thoughts on “Churches, Christ, Love and Hate

  1. As a practicing RC I’ve always thought that if I ever became a protestant I would be a Methodist. Many years ago I attended St Peter’s College at Oxford in the UK. Adjacent to the school was the church where John and Charles Wesley preached and formed their Society of Friends. I was very impressed with the simplicity of their message. The Methodists really accomplished much in pioneer America. My paternal grandmother never forgot Appalachicola, Fl., where she lived as a young girl. When I was a small child, there were no television sets or computers. We were entertained by stories told to us by our elders. Among the stories I never forgot were tales my grandmother told about a Methodist circuit rider’s experiences in the swamps around Appalachicola. One evening as he was returning home, his horse came down on an alligator, which nearly took his horse’s leg off. He ended up having to shoot his horse and make his way out of the swamp on his own. It was quite an adventure. For these reasons I suppose I have had an affinity with the Methodists that I don’t have with any other protestant religion.

  2. My father grew up in the Methodist church, as did his temperance mother and aunts. I have Methodist temperance stories that would drive one to drink! They are wonderful. Gram was the president of the Minn state WCTU during Prohibition! Quite a bit of the sufferage movement came out of those churches. I guess that is my Methodist background. My grandmother Reidhead and her sisters were among the first women to vote in the state of Minn. They used their churches as a launching point for their political causes.

    Here in NM we have some wonderful stories about the circuit riding Bishop who established the Episcopal churches here. Bishop Dunlap rode circuit during the Apache wars, through the Lincoln County war, ignoring his health (it eventually killed him) and well being to establish the church here. Those pioneer ministers were remarkable people. I think we have a tendency to forget their contribution to our society.

    SJR

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