Be the church—stop fighting about it

By Jessica Brodie

As I write this month’s editorial, we’re a week away from Christmas, and my mind is swirling with stories of “my people”—the people called United Methodists here in South Carolina. From the mac and cheese served up by Hopewell United Methodist, to sweet Dulce in Guatemala needing a bone marrow transplant, to the new exit path established by the conference’s Board of Trustees, sometimes it feels like we’re all being pulled in a million different directions. We want to do, serve, feed, help, go … and yet we’re also squabbling about theological differences over what Jesus would or wouldn’t say or do about gay marriage, gay clergy or gay people.

At Alston Wilkes Society’s 60th anniversary luncheon, their keynote speaker was a man who’d learned a ton of life lessons after being convicted of embezzlement and spending time in federal prison for his crimes.

“Every choice has a consequence,” Chuck Gallagher shared, describing the day he took 23 steps and entered his new life behind bars.

Whether it’s a good choice or a bad choice, or a choice not to do anything at all, none of us gets a free pass to stumble along in life. We choose whether to get out of bed and eat, whether to go to work, whether to go to church and where, and whether to spread the good news about Jesus.

We also have a choice about whether we wish to stay in this denomination or leave.

Personally, I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of fighting about the church, tired of deciding who’s right or wrong, tired of letting petty human constraints and arguments get in the way of what’s really important to me: being the church.

In the Page 1 article, “Hopewell’s ‘Macaroni Mayhem’ Delivers,” the Rev. Don Brown talks about how his congregation tries hard not to focus inward but rather to turn their eyes on helping the community in the name of Christ.

No matter what we choose, what church denomination we worship in, whether we call ourselves “United Methodist” or “Global Methodist” or “Baptist” or “Presbyterian,” at the end of the day, we have a far more important title: Child of God. And we have a far bigger responsibility that needs to be claiming our attention: going beyond ourselves to either tell people about Jesus or do good things in Jesus’s name.

I choose Christ.

Now, let’s be the church and stop fighting about it.

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