Newsletter continued....

This shouldn't be shocking as the Bible itself is not consistent and presents various characteristics of God.   We United Methodists of the PNW like to focus on God as loving and compassionate benevolence, but the Biblical God is also the one in Exodus who plans to kill Moses but is saved by Zipporah who basically invents male circumcision as a way to calm God down (Exodus 4:24-26). And of course there are multitudes of other angry God texts.   The point being that the historical Church has never enslaved itself to a one interpretative fundamentalism of the text. We are not literalists. The historical Church has always combined scripture with reason, tradition, experience and a bias towards compassion.   It is our plight to be in a global battle with those who confuse God with Superman or Rambo .... and they are winning the consciousness battle.   It's happened before: the fundamentalists have enforced slavery, the subjugation of women, racism, ethnic cleansing, white supremacy, patriarchy (etc.), and each time a re-formation has occurred to exorcise the demonic spirit of crusading and domination from the Body of Christ.   We are in one of those moments.   The presenting issue might be sexuality, but the real issues are, as they always have been, what is the character of God and how specifically and practically do we who follow Jesus embracing redemptive, restorative love through our attitudes and actions?  
 
We lost the global battle but the not the spiritual war. And that's why I ask that you "keep calm".   We aren't going backwards. We're not saying no to those whom we have celebrated with an enthusiastic yes. We're not helpless and hopeless nor are we powerless victims. We have agency, creativity and courage.   And we certainly have the power of the ever present "minority spirit" that keeps appearing in Church history to undermine evil, and triumph over neglect.  
 
We're going to be alright. We're going to re-form. We're going to re-imagine. We're going to resurrect.   Not some day in the far off future but step-by-step it has already begun.   The future of our Conference will shift and joy will emerge.   Positively speaking this can be a moment of spiritual spring-cleaning. Maybe we can toss out some unnecessary junk, clean up and turn on the lights in a few darkened spaces, and re-design what our house can actually look like.
 
Friends, I encourage you to lift up thine eyes, straighten your backbone, and with confidence keep on caring, keep on treating others with kindness, keep on with acts of justice, and the creative imagination that embodies the ways of peace. In the words of mystic Julian, "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Let us live in this Christ-like faith.
 
Rich