The United Methodist Church And My Loss Of Faith In Its Mission

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

It comes with much personal reflection that after the United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference for the Pacific Northwest Conference area, encompassing where I live in Washington State, I decided to leave the church after seeing what I believe to be the church leadership moving away from spirituality and Christian teachings to a place where members of the hierarchy in our conference use the Church as a platform to pontificate a particular flavor of politics, aligning itself with an American political party, promoting organizations that provide legal advice to those who evade the law, and worst of all having members that promote an organization that advocates the killing of law enforcement officers. This is a sad outcome, but it represents an evolution of thinking becoming endemic to particular districts. I do not believe that most of the districts approve generally of these changes but unfortunately for me they encompass the area I reside. The best choice for me was to end my relationship.

I joined with the faith when I was twelve years old, being introduced to the United Methodist Church by two close friends. My parents were married at the same church my wife and I were thirty-seven years later.

Now the Church I attended as a teenager or a young adult in the area I reside is not as it was before. For this I will no longer attend. After attending an annual conference meeting, I penned a letter to my church’s laity and pastor which describes my observations and sums the decision I had to leave.

I faced three choices. Either accept the changes and go about as before, constantly at odds with myself as to why I must endure what I cannot accept; contest the actions of the church administration at a time in my life when I have grown weary of continually having to fight such battles; or attending to my own conscience and pursuing the faith of my choosing. For me the last choice is the best choice.

Here is the letter:

I attended the conference held in Portland as a lay member in representation of our church. Last year, I attended the conference in Puyallup.

One of the first differences between the two years is that both Washington and the Oregon-Idaho conference attended and were represented equally. I will defer to Pastor Sandy to elaborate on more of the particulars and structure. What I present now represents my overall impression of the event and some of my observations—which are my own.

For a brief background of the previous year’s event I participated in several work forums held between members of the laity discussing a wide range of topics pertinent to our annual conference. The participation among the audience showed how our church involves its members in a consensus minded, laity centered conference where members provided a foundation for our church and set policy accordingly. It moreover provided us to witness worthy causes such as disaster relief, bible education, spreading the world of Jesus, and helping vulnerable people to find comfort and meaning in their lives. Of course there were administrative matters requiring the vote of the membership.

In last year’s event for me and undoubtedly many others, there existed to my belief only one outstanding topic related to the church offering a more inclusive approach to clergy having alternative family arrangements that is in conflict with the book of discipline. We had a healthy debate in that fashion, which was good to voice these matters. In the end, the conference voted to not allocate funds toward prosecuting individuals based on these alternative lifestyles. For me this was a middle ground for this decade’s long controversy.

That aside, I came from last year’s event invigorated and very pleased with the experience. So when I had the opportunity for this year I had many hopes that I could further experience the renewal of faith in our church and reflect on the conference for direction on how we can grow our church accordingly and to the teachings of Jesus.

Unfortunately that was not the case this year.

Having attended our annual meeting in Portland, I came from the experience dissuaded and profoundly concerned at the misdirection the leadership and many influential members are steering the Pacific Northwest Conference.

From the start of the event my concerns came into play. One of the first acts of the leadership was to bring forth a group of probably a dozen or more individuals who were assigned roles to act in a manner of safety monitors for the conference. Not that these were individuals solely tasked with providing safety of the conference, such as medical professionals or maintenance of fire watch or similar duties but rather these were a light form of security officials who could be summoned whenever there was a disagreement between individuals. They were brought before the audience and introduced. The speaker declared that this group avails itself to involve itself whenever there is a situation where two or more people discussing a matter which “makes them feel uncomfortable”. The speaker further elaborated that the meeting would not be a place that is “unsafe for people” and there was an implied warning that vigorous dissent could warrant the imposition of the safety officers into the discussion.

Why was this of such concern to me? Because I have seen over the past five years in my writing and study of social censorship shows great numbers of examples where one particular party suppresses contrary views under the rubric of “safety” or “safe zones”, both of which were expressed by the speaker in a manner that is consistent with the types of censorship of speech when groups such as safety committees find certain speech objectionable.

Had this safety announcement been the limit of what I experienced, I propose it might have been benign. Coupled with other problems over several days it proved to be a prelude of more to come.

At these events, one can find booths featuring a great number of programs, crafts, books and displays introducing to participants some of the efforts our church brings to the many, with at least one goal being to provide members with additional resources and ways to participate. Yet, I discovered in hearing from others that several of the displays were not featured due to “lack of room” and were cancelled. Suspiciously, some of the displays were prominent and being placed next to the auditorium, while others were in the lower level where some of the classes were held.

Of those that received the preferential display site next to the main auditorium most carried political undertones.

I recall one booth showing a legal defense fund and advocacy group formed within the church administration addressed toward law breaking individuals in our society. This was not a jail ministry of sorts but almost went as far as being an analog of the ACLU but one centered on criminal defense. There were pamphlets proffered to be handed out to illegal immigrant groups advising them how to evade immigration officials and to not trust certain law enforcement officers. There was a political side of this that encouraged members of the church to lobby to end enforcement of immigration law.

Next to this booth was a display showing a police officer purportedly attacking a person who was down on a sidewalk, claiming that police brutality was involved and the take away from this booth was that law enforcement officers were essentially untrustworthy villains who victimize others. Compounding the message, was the introduction of groups that confront police in disturbing manners, groups that openly call during rallies for the death and murder of police officers. But the promotion of this group was not limited to one booth.

During one of the full membership events in the main auditorium, one of the speakers praised this group as being somehow beneficial to the community and that they were welcome with open arms into one of the churches to participate in volunteer services. It was not just that participants in this organization wanted to receive church services, but they were collectively identified and praised by the speaker collectively identified with this movement.

For me and undeniably many others in attendance I found the promotion of that organization as deeply insulting to those who served in the police profession. I retired from a sheriff’s department as a deputy. No other officer or deputy I have known over the years has done anything to justify being murdered yet the PNW conference leadership actively promotes a group who advocates the killing of persons such as my friends, family members, and coworkers who actually protect the community. I attended over the years probably fifteen officer funerals, the majority of which were officers who were murdered in the line of duty. I also had the unfortunate experience of two of my coworkers dying at work, one when I was a cadet back in 1984 and another in 2010, the latter person I found dead in a field after he suffered a horrific car crash. Yet, again, the UMC church officials promoted an organization having many of its membership who would rejoice in such tragedies.

If that was not enough of a concern, the leadership of the event made much work of introducing secular politics into the church. In my view this is both outside of what should be the scope our discipline and from a financial perspective could jeopardize our church’s tax-exempt status.

During a film presentation to the membership, it was greatly apparent that the conference was made to endorse a particular political view that is held by a faction of one of the main political parties in the U.S. Several politicians, one being a socialist city councilwoman in Seattle, are promoted as having virtues that somehow align with church teachings. The film also showed political movements at the exclusion of other political causes that were in conflict with the official political position presented, and presumably assented to by church leadership. None of these politics, or other politics for that matter, should have a place in our church as they are not the word of God or Christ.

It was readily apparent that the leadership and speakers’ goal was to foster a change in the UMC to align with these political goals. I had to wonder what they were managing, was it a church or a political movement disguising itself as a church. It seemed to me that there is an attempt to use the church as merely a vehicle to promote a particular politic, of course using funds from the membership to accomplish this effort.

To promote financial income of a politician, numerous persons at the conference wore decals and pins advertising a book that was offered by a political candidate for the presidency. Cokesbury, the Christian Bookstore aligned in some fashion with the Church, provided a shelf at the conference for this candidate along with free pins/decals for to be worn by members to help sell these books. Aside from the political endorsement, which walks the line of being in violation of IRS regulations of promoting political candidates, this particular candidate was the person who eagerly assisted the prosecution of elective wars that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, a person who during an interview visibly rejoiced and expressed a disturbing glee in how the leader of a particular nation was ultimately assassinated as a direct result of this military expedition. I cannot help but see the irony of this when coupled with our church’s century’s long goal to rid the world of the sufferings brought on by war and needless conflict. But apparently, this former candidate’s professed political position somehow aligns itself with the same political goals fostered by the conference’s leadership.

Toward the end of the semi-week’s schedule, the speakers presented a workshop encouraging members to write letters and make phone calls to politicians to encourage certain policy making.

Moving on from the political concern, the leadership swore in new ministers and others appointed to positions. While I laud each of these persons for their accomplishments and wish them the best, the official reciting to them their oaths of office when dictating that the appointees should Uphold the Book of Discipline, there was very obviously a dismissive attitude toward affirming this element of the oath. In fact, laughter was expressed, as if the book of discipline was to be ignored whenever it suited them or was inconvenient. Coupled with some of the political ideals promoted, led me to believe we were witnessing the cusp of the transformation of our conference into one that chooses to deviate from the will of the church generally.

The political correctness did not end there but the most striking example was some of the disrespect shown at one time toward our Indian members in the Southwest of our region.

My table was situated adjacent to an exit door leading outside. An Indian woman standing at the door lit a smudge pot containing herbs and sweet grasses and waiving the wafts of a light smoke outside. Later, she was introduced to the membership in front of the platform. She recited a tradition they had: a century’s long tradition that they incorporated into their later worship in our church. The practice where the laity would pray to God and the smoke from the smudge pot rose to carry their prayers to the heavens, a beautiful allegory and praise thought I. But apparently this was not permitted.

Sometime before her presentation, someone told her that she would not be permitted to present her prayer with us in the traditional manner. She had to extinguish the smudge pot before the prayer because “someone complained” about how the smoke would affect the health of people in the audience. The conference room was very expansive and provided a high ceiling. The argument was baseless. Somehow Catholics manage with having a censer but we could not pray this way. Once again we subjugate our Indian friends by denying them the right to pray in a manner of their own choosing. And if the insult was not enough, she asked that we refer to her people as not Native Americans but Indians or as their tribe such as the Chehalis, or such. In the end, however, the speaker at the podium somehow could not respect this and called her instead a Native American.

On the notion of church attrition we in the membership learned of more church closings. It seemed this time there were many more than last year. I foresee that if the leadership of this conference continues its political and social engineering goals the number of these churches leaving will increase. I did not see as much affordance to discussion as last year, and I had the impression that the leadership was uninterested in what the laity might have thought about the politics and instead is going to press on with its own agenda.

Several weeks ago, and I apologize for not having the source immediately available to me, I read that most of the church closings are in conferences where the approaches similar or identical to the policies set by the leadership of our area are much higher compared with areas that are not. The UMC is declining in the United States generally but is flourishing in Africa and South Korea, among other nations. The politics in our area are also not in alignment with that of Eastern Washington, most of Idaho, most geographical areas of Western Washington, and most of Oregon except for the Willamette Valley and possibly Salem. If the administration of these conferences keeps to themselves and practices whatever politics they wish they might also be benign. But, if instead it forces the matter onto each of the members in these more conservative areas, that’s going to be off putting to most of the laity of those named locations.

While I believe that our church should be more inclusive as previously aforementioned, my opinions are that the leadership is going too greater lengths to foster a political agenda.

The claim is that we need to fundamentally change the church to be more in political alignment with the Millennial Generation in order to stave off the attrition of the church membership. To some degree this is helpful but in the long term it is a recipe for failure.

The Millennial Generation is the least pious generation seen so far. I don’t believe we will gain more of these cohorts than we will lose by stepping over ourselves to attract them. If instead we ditched the politics and political correctness and focused on our worship and time honored traditions of promoting care and good toward others we actually will appeal more to the Generation Z cohort that is just coming of adult age.

This generation is as evidenced by research to be the most pious generation since the Greatest Generation. It is estimated that 40% of this cohort is open to religion and is interested in exploring membership. They are also not in direct ideological alignment with some of the identity politics and policies that the conference leadership is promoting. If we evangelize and bring to our church this generation we are all but certain to reverse the decade’s long trend of membership attrition plaguing mainline protestant churches. If continue with alienating our more conservative older members and ignore the wants and needs of Generation Z, we might make a strategic mistake that will be greatly damaging.

I hope for the sake of our church generally that the leadership of the PNW changes its approach and policy and not be so willing to be rogue in its approach toward the United Methodist Church General Conference.

In all, for the past thirty or so years, the possibility of a schism occurring in the church between two factions in the church and its damage being debilitating, I have since this conference event reversed my beliefs in part.

If we are to experience minor but vocal leadership factions of the PNW annual conference act with dismissiveness toward church policy, to use the church as a platform to promote a brand of politics, and exclude others who might have a difference of opinion in how the region is governed it might be better to allow this split and release these factions to go their own way. In the long term it might be the better solution.
~+~

From the above letter the objection came down to the fact that I could not attend and provide donations to a church that allows itself to promote an organization or an idea that calls for the murder of those such as myself, family members, and coworkers simply for the uniforms and jobs we performed. It is abhorrent. When I asked our bishop for clarification of this position, she stated that the United Methodist Church has no official position on this organization but does support the ideas for which it stands. Both the bishop and the pastor of my local Church were asked to comment about the fact that a booth, prominently displayed at the front of the conference entrance, or that during an all member meeting one of the presenter advocated this hate group both of them expressed they had no knowledge of these matters and claimed that they did not see and did not hear this.

For the embracement of politics, again I believe the conference’s leadership uses its position to further a political agenda. This is not a matter in my view for the Church which should be a refuge from politics and a place where doing good should be paramount. Unfortunately, to an unacceptable degree this is not the direction the Church is taking in this conference.

It is time to move on.

By Darren Smith

161 thoughts on “The United Methodist Church And My Loss Of Faith In Its Mission

  1. Ok Claudia. Go and do. That is what that passage demands. It does not demand advocating for political causes that harmonize with some of thise demands. It does,npt demand that you advocate govt. programs that skim bureaucratic and advocacy costs off the top. It does not advocate contravention of a,nations laws either. As Darren has given much detail that is familiar to many of us, it is a bit presumptive to quotr scripture tangential to Darren’s objections.

  2. Right wingers hate it when churches start practicing what they preach. While the business about safe zones is silly and will come to an end because it’s a stupid fad among a tiny number of people, the rest of these complaints are the complaints of someone who would feel a lot more comfortable at a disreputable Christianist organization like Liberty Baptist Church or Joel Osteen’s hot house operation for money where right wing beliefs are nurtured and the teachings of Jesus ignored whenever they require sacrifice for others or understanding/empathy for those who suffer.

  3. So, why is the “organization” which purportedly “calls for the murder of police officers” not named? I’ll go out on a limb and theorize it’s because there is no such organization.

  4. Darren, My heart goes out to you…knowing the angst you feel in coming to this decision. I attend a UMC rural church in WI. I stopped being a member to prevent my dues from being sent to the central church for their political purposes. I attend and support my little local rural church (yes, it looks like a Hallmark card). We have a devasted rural population of both elders and ag families…and yet all the UMC knows is send us your $ and we’ll redistribute your wealth to our selected foreign communities. Many elders in rural USA live on the barest incomes, and yet they attend a church that demands they redistribute their wealth to far off places. No. I’m not going along with that. Charity begins at home, and our rural elders and ag families are in desperate need. So I’m with you brother, enough with the social justice socialist/marxist redistribution of wealth and on with a return to helping our neighbors. In Jesus name. xo J

    • I couldn’t agree with you more SunnyJ. That is exactly the problem at my former church’s Annual Conference. Attending each year, there were many contributions solicited, some of them I later discovered were mandatory. Later in the meeting, the officials sent out a spreadsheet showing all the local churches in the state and what percentage they forwarded to the bishop’s realm. The district hounds the local churches to send money to fund an ever growing bureaucracy. We were just scraping by without the appointment. It’s more about empire building than anything.

      I strongly believe if at the annual conference level, if 80% of the staff was made redundant and let go there would only be a positive effect at the local level.

  5. Thank you Darren for sharing this letter! As I was reading My mind started to “drift” to The Book of Revelation the listing of the Church’s coming in the future! The “future” is now!

  6. The Methodist Church I grew up in has shrunk to a fraction of its old membership. We had a minister who was so conservative the hard core liberals left, then a liberal minister and the hard core conservatives left, and then developers built new suburbs and that drained people away from the older homes in our part of town. The church keeps open in part by renting space to a Christian congregation of immigrants from southeast Asia and allowing them to have services after ours in their own language.

  7. Darren,
    Thank you for sharing this letter. My own UMC church is on the conservative side. I have not carefully watched the goings-on of the higher level leadership, though.

    What a hard thing to face. I hope and pray you can find a new church home soon.

    So sad to hear ‘safety officers’ invaded the conference. Heaven forbid there be disagreement or tension. They do not see that they are a source of the very thing they wish to prevent.

  8. Darren,

    Thank you for your column. I am also one who has left a wayward church. What I have found is that while many different denominations have drifted away from their moorings, the person and redeeming work of Christ on the cross for our sins has and will never change. Focusing on Him should have along been the focus of the church. Bless you!

  9. She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
    She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
    And she only reveals what she wants you to see
    She hides like a child but she’s always a woman to me
    She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you
    She can ask for the truth but she’ll never believe you
    And she’ll take what you give her as long as it’s free

    Yeah she steals like a thief but she’s always a woman to me
    Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants
    She’s ahead of her time
    Oh, she never gives out and she never gives in
    She just changes her mind

    And she’ll promise you more than the garden of Eden
    Then she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding
    But she brings out the best and the worst you can be

    Blame it all on yourself ’cause she’s always a woman to me
    Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants
    She’s ahead of her time
    Oh, she never gives out and she never gives in
    She just changes her mind

    She is frequently kind and she’s suddenly cruel
    She can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool
    But she can’t be convicted, she’s earned her degree
    And the most she will do is throw shadows at you
    But she’s always a woman to me

  10. Matthew 25: 34-40
    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably;+ 36 naked* and you clothed me.+ I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.’+ 37 Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?+ 38 When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’+

  11. Darren and others here seem to be reading a different Bible than I read back in Catholic School. I recall (not going to look up) Jesus saying there is no kingdom of man, only that of god. Pretty sure Jesus would be ok with immigrants, probably reach out to them, advocate for them as they are undeniably amongst the most vulnerable in our society. Or maybe his Mary Magdeline relationship was of a different nature than this?

    • Pretty sure Jesus would be ok with immigrants, probably reach out to them, advocate for them as they are undeniably amongst the most vulnerable in our society. Or maybe his Mary Magdeline relationship was of a different nature than this?

      Either you’re trying to impress Christ into the cause of open borders or you haven’t a serious idea in your head.

    • Pretty sure Jesus would adhere to the Ten Commandments which include honoring thy parents and the property and nation they bequeath. Jesus also would not recommend going against God’s commandment to not only NOT COVET but not invade the country you covet or to accept as welfare that which is created by first coveting and then stealing OPM (other people’s money) to create confiscation of other people’s property through scam programs like social services, Obongocare, food stamps, WIC, HUD, HHS, HAMP, HARP, Medicaid, Medicare and the rest of the whole parasitic STEAL thing.

      Thou shalt have no other gods before me
      Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
      Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
      Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
      Honour thy father and thy mother
      Thou shalt not kill
      Thou shalt not commit adultery
      Thou shalt not steal
      Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
      Thou shalt not covet – neighbour’s house,neighbour’s wife, neighbour’s servants, animals, property or anything else.

      THE LORD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES.

  12. I’m so sorry this happened.

    Religion should stay away from politics. There were centuries of the Catholic Church’s excesses and scandals from when it served as King Maker, before it finally receded. The Church was the engine behind many wars, and succession disputes. There are other religions who became inextricably intertwined with politics with similar unGodly results.

    I do not believe that politics should mix with conservation or religion. The latter are supposed to be welcoming and inclusive to all. But increasingly, both have become heavily politicized, leaning hard Left. Most environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, have become little more than a Democratic PAC, conservatives not welcome. And Christian denominations are not far behind.

    I, too, had issues with the Church in which I was raised. The handling of the many Catholic scandals were morally unacceptable. My years’ long tour of other churches found similar politics to what you described. Either they spent their time bashing all other denominations but their own, or they supported BDS, and other hard Left, intolerant ideas. It’s more about politics than it is about religion in a lot of areas.

    I found a few that actually seemed to confine themselves to Christian doctrine, but have not attended any leadership conferences, so cannot say if they have escaped political creep unscathed.

    It is highly disturbing when any church supports BLM, with their open disgust and disdain for police officers, as well as their calls for violence against them. That should be contrary to Church doctrine. BLM passionately disagreed with “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” in a well documented manner. But Christianity is supposed to believe that all lives do matter, and everyone is a child of God. Any claim that police are the enemy is ludicrous. There will always be bad apples who pop up from time to time. There are avenues to deal with that scenario, as well as legal pathways to take when they persist. But most cops do the job because they want to protect people. They respond to calls to protect everyone, black, white, Asian, or whoever. Without cops, we would have anarchy ruled by drug lords and gangs. How has making cops retreat from active policing affected neighborhoods? Crime, and especially murder rates, have skyrocketed. Broken window syndrome and high crime drive out employers with their jobs. And yet, BLM has refused to change it’s approach of condemning police officers. Their leaders have even gone so far as to claim that all incarcerated African Americans are political prisoners. Their policies have caused real and lasting harm to the African American community they purported to protect. All it takes is a little research, and open mindedness, to understand this. BLM helps nothing but political causes desperate for a platform.

    If those who support BLM want to actually do some good, then they should tackle the issues plaguing the African American community. The first and foremost problem is giving kids a safe pathway to grow up into well educated adults, who are skilled in anger management, handling disputes, perseverance, and grit. Who know the difference between good debt and bad debt, how to balance a checkbook, interest, saving up, deferring instant gratification, budgets, and planning for the future. Without any of the above, there are not very many options for success in life.

    Single motherhood is on the rise in all demographics, but especially the African American community. And single mothers are the #1 risk for their kids to live in poverty, engage in crime, do drugs, join a gang, drop out of school, be unemployed, go to jail, or die young. So why do girls not want more for themselves? Free condoms have been available everywhere for decades. Why are they not being used? Because their lack of use also translates into higher STDs, another problem plaguing many communities in a day and age when they should not. So we need to get these unsupervised kids of single mothers or broken homes safely to and from school, keep them in school, help them with homework, read to them, teach them values and life skills, and above all, ingrain in them the expectation that they will go to college or a trade school and lead a responsible, self supporting life. We need to fight against the pervasive hopelessness in poor areas.

    Maybe the BLM should stop demonstrating, roll up their sleeves, and start helping.

    • There were centuries of the Catholic Church’s excesses and scandals from when it served as King Maker, before it finally receded. The Church was the engine behind many wars, and succession disputes. There are other religions who became inextricably intertwined with politics with similar unGodly results.

      No Karen. The Papacy was a prize for ambitious warlords like the Theophylacts. The Papal States themselves were rather haphazardly governed during the Medieval period, with much discretion exercised by local grandees. Similarly, the Papal States were actors in the intramural disputes of the Italian peninsula. The Church did preach the Crusades, but its rather rich to blame the Church for attempting to rally a defense of Christendom against Muslim attacks. As for the Wars of Religion, it was the Calvinists v. the politiques,

      • I do not blame the Church for the Crusades…maybe the last one.

        Christians were enslaved and murdered under the Muslim expansion, which also put Europe to the sword for decades. The Pope was charged with the protection of the Christian faith. Europe was invaded. The Middle East was Judaeo/Christian, but it was conquered by Islam. The Holy Land was lost. Of course the Catholic Church rallied Europe to defend its shores and the faith. I’m glad they did, or I would be wearing a veil and prohibited from using a computer, which likely wouldn’t have been invented. The ME isn’t exactly a birthplace of technology or learning, and hasn’t been since Medieval times.

        The Catholic Church became politicized and corrupt. It sold indulgences. The Divine Right of Kings contributed to a lack of accountability in a time when individual rights were not even a glimmer of thought. Feudal lords served in the Church throughout its history. The Anglican Church arose so that King Henry VIII could get a divorce, although beheading was also an entirely acceptable means of dissolving a marriage. How does that go again? Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived?

        Unless you were King Henry VIII, a monarch needed the approval of the Church to succeed to the throne, or his reign was not legitimate. Plus after King Henry VIII, there became those bitter wars between Protestant and Catholic Queens, and who was divinely ordained to rule. The religious wars among the Lutherans and Catholics occurred when religious intolerance became political and on a grander scale.

        I don’t think I’ve heard Theophylact’s name in 20 years. I know of Theophylact but not Theophylacts/followers. What is your perspective? You a bit of a curmudgeon at times, but I do find your posts very interesting.

        The Church went through various reformations and growing pains, which was a good thing. Otherwise, there would still be indulgences. I love the Catholic Church, because I was raised within it. I just think it’s due for another reformation. I was appalled at the handling of pedophile priests, I think women should be allowed to be priests, birth control should be allowed, and I think priests should be allowed to marry. There are other denominations that meet those requirements. A lot of what I take issue with was not part of Church doctrine, but tradition, or it came into being after around 1,000 years at the Council of Nicea. Priests were allowed to marry for almost 1,000 years. Then there came into question inheritance. Did the priest’s heirs inherit, or was it Church property? Were married priests’ loyalty divided? So they banned marriage, although it is well documented that priests have struggled with monogamy ever since. I also think it’s a bit much to ask a celibate priest to council married couples on anything other than religion. Why can any man fresh out of seminary be a priest, but Mother Theresa could not?

        Speaking of religious figures, Sister Wendy Beckett is one of my all time favorites. I highly recommend her art DVDs: https://www.amazon.com/Sister-Wendy-The-Complete-Collection/dp/B00006G8FJ

  13. Yeah, CV Brown…..Buckle up & get a puke bag ready.

    Job_20:15 He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly.
    Pro_23:8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
    Pro_25:16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
    Pro_26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
    Isa_19:14 The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.
    Isa_28:8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
    Jer_48:26 Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the LORD: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision.
    2Pe_2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

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