No, not that type of curing. Fixing it. Making it healthy and productive.
Practically every day I find in my inbox, or on one of the various feeds I follow, an article on how to fix the dying United Methodist Church. While there are many disagreements on details, generally everyone agrees that the church is, in fact, dying. Everyone agrees that something must be done! Beyond that, we don’t have nearly as much agreement.
Today it was United Methodist Insight with an article by United Methodist pastor Teddy Ray. In it he notes that there were three substantive changes made at the 2012 general conference and that the judicial council has now struck down all three of them. This illustrates the difficulty of changing a very large structure. Pastor Ray is not ready to give up yet. He links to a number of other articles he has written, in which he tries to point the way to a better future.
One thing he recommends, and I agree, is to avoid getting stuck with committee appointments unless you truly believe you can do some good there. It has been a long time since I’ve been invited to sit on a committee and felt that it would be useful. That’s not a matter of boycotting committees. It’s a matter of carefully considering where you can do the best ministry.
As do many other writers, Pastor Ray comes to the conclusion that reforming the United Methodist Church, but that it might be done and he thinks it’s worthwhile. I’m not sure that his reasons, enumerated in Why I am (Still) a Methodist, are enough. I really appreciate Wesleyan theology, but at the moment I must confess that the main reasons I am still a Methodist are just three: 1) My current congregation has many positive aspects to it, 2) I don’t know where else to go with my theology, and 3) what reason do I have to assume I’d do any better?
How much time needs to go into preserving the organization? Is such time well spent? Those are questions that concern me these days.