- Improving the Conversation on Homosexuality August 22, 2014 Bishop Scott Jones
I believe that my role as a bishop in the current discussion about homosexuality in the UMC is two fold. First, I am to work for the unity of the church by helping to keep the main thing the main thing. I have an obligation to lead all parts of our denomination to be the most faithful and fruitful that we can be. As I wrote in my book Staying at the Table: The Gift of Unity for United Methodists, unity is a precious gift from God that we should embrace. Given the current culture wars in American society and within the UMC, this is difficult. Every day I read Ephesians 4 which begins, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”
My second key role is to improve the quality of the conversation. I can do this in part by reminding our people of our doctrine of catholic spirit, and how we may differ in matters of opinion while remaining unified on essentials, all the while working together for Christ. I will do a webcast aimed at the Great Plains Conference on Saturday, September 13 at 10:00 am CDT to talk about how we treat each other in these difficult conversations. It is my prayer that faith, hope and love abound among us.
Another way I can improve the quality of the conversation is to stay in dialogue myself with many different people who are proposing different ways forward. I have done that since January, and am now sharing my understanding of nine different proposals currently under discussion. Some of these relate to material people have published on the internet. Others represent ideas shared in less public ways. All of them are worthy of serious consideration. I have posted the document on this website in the documents section. I hope it is seen as fair to all viewpoints and helpful as we talk about these important issues.
Welcome to extremecenter.com, a place for conversation about the future of Christianity in general and The United Methodist Church in particular. I created this website as a way of sharing my views on a number of issues and inviting responses from others. It contains links to all of my books, many of my written papers, and my blogs. I will be monitoring email, facebook and twitter responses and will respond to as many as I can.
I believe the world needs Christ. I am committed to sharing the gospel and producing the kind of fruit Jesus has asked of us. Moreover, I am convinced that the Wesleyan version of the gospel is what many people in many countries are looking for. It is focused on justification and sanctification, individual salvation and building spiritual communities. It is multinational and powerfully local. It is inclusive of all races. It empowers women. It cares for the poor and the oppressed. It pays attention to the whole Scripture, teaching the doctrines that comprise its general tenor. While we remain open to learning from other branches of the Christian church and even other faith communities, we are committed to living out our faith in new and creative ways. We must leave behind our tired mediocrity and commit to excellence and fruitfulness for our Lord.
Welcome to Extreme Center
Why Extreme Center?
- 20 Components of an Effectively Evangelistic Church
- 2012 Immigration Testimony Kansas Legislature
- Bearing With One Another in Love
- Confessing Movement Keynote Address
- Council of Bishops: For the Sake of a New World, We See a New Church: A Call to Action
- Effectively Evangelistic Powerpoint
- Extreme Center: Living as United Methodist Today Workbook
- Finding a Way Through: Options for the UMC and Homosexuality
- Health Care and Social Justice
- Lifewatch Sermon
- Participant Handbook
- Scripture Alone, Yet Never Alone
- Study Committee on the Worldwide Nature of the UMC 2012 report
- Ten Things Every Christian Ought to Know
- Why John Wesley Matters
- World Wide Nature of the UMC 2007 report to COB