By Fred Koenig
A few months ago I was hiking around a mountain that had many flowing streams. People were drinking freely from these streams. I did so myself when I was high on the mountain. I did it less as I got lower. The water was pure at its source, but there had been too much opportunity for impurities to contaminate it.
It’s my purpose as a journalist to keep the United Methodists of Missouri informed about the United Methodist Church. It’s what I spend most of my time doing. By that I mean most of my life – not just most of my time at work. I’m sure I get some details wrong, but I can guarantee my intent is to inform.
Some of you really don’t want to get into this “human sexuality” discussion that is coming up in St. Louis in February. That’s fine. If you don’t want to hear, think or in any way engage the topic, please skip pages 6 through 19 of this issue.
Some of you are on the opposite end of the spectrum – you want to know way more than what I’m telling you. That’s fair – there’s a lot more to know. I highly encourage you to start with the source – read the 93-page report from the Commission on a Way Forward. It’s well presented, and I found it to be easy to read and understand.
Once you have that digested, if you still want to know, I recommend the United Methodist News Service as a trusted source of news. Linda Bloom, Heather Hahn, Sam Hodges – they are all top-notch reporters. We’re very fortunate to have them reporting on the United Methodist Church. You can find several stories from them related to this issue at www.umnews.org.
There’s also a large volume of curated resources around this topic on the Missouri Conference website at www.moumethodist.org/prayingourwayforward. “Resources” is one of those words that the church claimed several years ago and immediately started overusing. In this case it means everything you can think of related to this topic – things like videos of Bishop Farr addressing the issue, lists of books that offer advice on how to approach difficult conversations, the list of Missouri Conference delegates and more.
There are also good people out there in other venues that deserve to be heard if you interested in knowing their opinion. These aren’t necessarily the best places to go if you’re just looking for information about the issue. A good Cadillac salesman could provide me with a very clear rationale for why I need to be driving a new Escalade. He could make several irrefutable points about the quality of the vehicle, how it incorporates the latest technology, best safety features, etc. He may also personally be a great guy – an upstanding person who I can relate to and feel I can trust. But if I trust him as the right person to advise me on what I should be driving, I would drive home tonight in $90,000 of American luxury that wouldn’t fit in my garage and would ultimately result in my divorce. That Escalade may have many good points, but it isn’t necessarily the right fit for my context.
Regardless of whether you are hungry for more information about the upcoming Special Session of General Conference, or whether you are tired of hearing about it already, please pray for the delegates who will be there casting votes, the people who are responsible for the logistics involved in putting together an international conference of this nature in an unprecedented way and those who are tasked with trying to make sense of it all to keep you informed.