These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
NO JUSTICE, NO VALUE FOR WOMEN

NO JUSTICE, NO VALUE FOR WOMEN

July 9, 2017 By dwayman

Throughout history and throughout the world the subjugation of women has been a reality.  In this article in the New York Times the situation in Afghanistan is explained as “the violence had its roots in tribal feuds and the pervasive practice of marrying off girls at a very young age for large dowries.”  The curse on women is never more prevalent than when the culture does not value equality and justice for all – women, poor, minorities, and other “least of these” among us.

In part the article says:

“If Afghanistan is one of the worst places to be a woman, then Ghor, a province so lawless that people often wonder if there is a government there at all, may be the country’s capital of gender-based violence and abuse. Week after week there are reports of women abused or killed in Ghor by men who never face justice.

“There have been 118 registered cases of violence against women in Ghor in the past year, and those are only cases that have been reported,” said Fawzia Koofi, head of the women’s rights commission in the Afghan Parliament, who recently visited Ghor to raise awareness about the lack of justice. “And not a single suspect in these 118 cases has been arrested.”

“There is no value for women there,” Ms. Koofi added. “It is as if she deserves to die.”

With a population of over 700,000 and located in west-central Afghanistan,

IT’S A TINY PART OF WHO HE IS

IT’S A TINY PART OF WHO HE IS

June 29, 2017 By dwayman

By Denny Wayman

Rik Cryderman grew up in a Free Methodist parsonage.  I first met him in seminary and enjoyed his intellect and depth of love. His journey of faith and life did not take the path he expected when as a seminarian he first recognized that he was gay. Now in his 60s his daughter, best selling author Kelle Hampton, blogged an interview with her father and asked him questions that help all of us.  You can read it on her blog here if you want to explore both her journey and his.

I connected with Rik and asked if I could take some of his thoughts he expressed to his daughter and post them here.  He graciously consented.  I do so in hopes that as we discuss sexuality and same-sex attraction we do so not as an issue, but as persons, equally beloved of God.  As I said here: “As Christians who have experienced God’s compassionate love and who are committed to extend that love to our “neighbor”, homosexuality is not an “issue” we discuss dispassionately, but rather we compassionately enter into the experience of those whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual.”

I’ve only taken the part of the conversation between Kelle and Rik that I found most interesting.  Kelle’s words are in bold and Rik’s are in italics:

What is your first memory of any attraction to men and when and how did you finally identify as being gay?

FROM WHITE HOODS TO WHITE LIES

FROM WHITE HOODS TO WHITE LIES

June 28, 2017 By dwayman

One of the modern self-described abolitionist is black photojournalist Johnny Silvercloud.  He writes about race and justice in ways that require a thoughtful consideration and response.  To begin the conversation here are two of his writings:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THOSE OLD RACIST WHITES FROM THOSE CIVILE RIGHTS PHOTOS:

“All those angry, yelling, vulgar white faces.  What ever happened to them?  When the Civil Rights Act was placed into law, did all these people just vanish?  Did they all out of nowhere, realize that they were wrong, and we were right, and stopped their racist thoughts and ideologies?

I highly doubt that the white faces in the first Civil Rights Era just automatically let go of their racist ideologies.  Those people only accepted the Civil Rights social change with contempt and learned how to BEHAVE when laws changed.  These old racist white supremacists, similar to insurgents after the collapse of the Iraqi Army in 2003, only laid low, kept their racist ideologies, and waited.  During this wait, there was a refinement of white supremacy.  White supremacy — racism in America — had to adapt, and it did….

Being that white supremacists always preferred hoods and masks, nothing really has changed.  Instead of preferring white hoods, they now prefer white lies.  The white, Ku Klux Klan hood, while still existing in reality, has long been abandoned for a metaphorical one: double-speak, coded language,

DISHONORING WOMEN DOCTORS

DISHONORING WOMEN DOCTORS

June 25, 2017 By dwayman

Language is important.  In this article studies were done and found that female doctors are often introduced by their first names while male doctors receive the title they have both earned of “Dr.”

The question this raises is whether in the church we also introduce our female pastors as “Pastor” or only use their first name.    The result of such continual referencing is noted in the article as dishonoring.  For the entire article click here.

The article reads in part:

“As sociologists, we know language is very powerful; it both reflects larger social meanings and patterns and can directly contribute to them, in many cases perpetuating social inequality,” said Allison, who studies gender equality.

“The words we use can shape how people feel about themselves and others, how they interact and how they make decisions about the distribution of rights and resources,” she said….

“Women don’t tend to be thought of as leaders. They’re thought of as worker bees and the people who work well together,” said Templeton, immediate past president of the American Medical Women’s Association. “Talking to us is no different than talking to their wives or daughters at home. They just assume, somehow, that they don’t warrant the same respect as the men do,” she said….

Anupam Jena, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, said male introducers could be using first names because they felt that “the work done by female colleagues is somehow different than the work done by male colleagues.”

“Subconsciously they are not equating the stature of female speakers to be the same as male speakers,” he said.

INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY HATES WOMEN

INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY HATES WOMEN

June 2, 2017 By dwayman

A culture that claims to value women while also accepting pornography is self deceptive. The research on the damage that pornography is doing to our culture is clear.  Here is a representative website that has information.  In this post the FIGHT THE NEW DRUG website suggests an insightful way to talk to children and youth about the damage.

In part it says:

Pornography.

It’s been directly linked to physical problems like early erectile dysfunctiondepressionirreversible relationship issueshuman trafficking, and sexual exploitation. There’s a huge amount of information—you can find a lot of it in our blog—detailing the problems associated with porn, all of which are worth our attention. These are all issues that have arisen alongside the internet, which has made porn both more available and affordable than ever, and opened the physical and mental pathways to ever more degrading, extreme content.

Understanding the real-world negative effects of the global porn industry on individuals and society is important, but it requires some expertise and detailed explanation of some pretty complicated issues. That’s not too hard for most of us, but if understanding the problems with porn requires a mostly-developed brain, how can we teach kids that porn has unavoidable downsides before they’ve already been exposed to some of the worst of what the internet has to offer?

DRAMATIC RISE IN INTERMARRIAGES – PEW RESEARCH

DRAMATIC RISE IN INTERMARRIAGES – PEW RESEARCH

May 20, 2017 By dwayman

One of the indicators that American culture is uniting the races  in shared life is not only the number of intermarriages but also in the increased support of these marriages.  In a recent PEW study the increase in both has been found to be significant in the last twenty years in the United States.  The authors are  AND 

In part the research has found:

In 2015, 17% of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.2 In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states.

More broadly, one-in-ten married people in 2015 – not just those who recently married – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. This translates into 11 million people who were intermarried. The growth in intermarriage has coincided with shifting societal norms as Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities, even within their own families.

The most dramatic increases in intermarriage have occurred among black newlyweds. Since 1980, the share who married someone of a different race or ethnicity has more than tripled from 5% to 18%.

FREE METHODIST WOMEN LEADERS BRING UNIQUE ABILITIES

FREE METHODIST WOMEN LEADERS BRING UNIQUE ABILITIES

May 19, 2017 By dwayman

By Dr. Denny Wayman, Lead Superintendent of the FMCSC.

At the 2017 Annual Conference in Southern California I presented the findings of an informal study I made asking Free Methodist Women Leaders what it is that women bring to the leadership position that is unique.  These are my findings and presentation:

 

In Genesis we are told that the curse of the fall is such that women have been subjected to men (Gen. 3:16) – AND –  it is the Gospel message that this subjugation will be so no more within the Kingdom of God (Matt. 20:25-26)  This imperative given to us by our Lord involves both humble diligence toward our own personal prejudices and a consistent commitment toward our church systems such that our sisters are empowered and encouraged to fulfill their God-given purposes.

This year we decided as your superintendents to not divide into workshops as though some of us are interested in missions, and some in leadership, and some in multiethnic ministry, and some in empowering women.  All of these five values we all share equally.  They define us as Free Methodists!

It has been said that the 21st century is the century designed for the Methodist Message.  Our commitment to relationships allows the postmodern world to be engaged in conversations that reach beneath the resistance to religion into direct relationships with God.

WALKING WHILE BLACK: GARNETTE CADOGAN ON THE REALITIES OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA

WALKING WHILE BLACK: GARNETTE CADOGAN ON THE REALITIES OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA

May 15, 2017 By dwayman

Listening to the experiences of our people of color is vital to our understanding, compassion, wisdom,identification and unity:  Read this account.   This articles is written by a Jamaican who loved to walk and then came to the U.S.  His name is Garnette Cadogan.

Excerpts:

“My only sin is my skin. What did I do, to be so black and blue?”

–Fats Waller, “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue?”

On my first day in the city [New Orleans], I went walking for a few hours to get a feel for the place and to buy supplies to transform my dormitory room from a prison bunker into a welcoming space. When some university staff members found out what I’d been up to, they warned me to restrict my walking to the places recommended as safe to tourists and the parents of freshmen. They trotted out statistics about New Orleans’s crime rate. But Kingston’s crime rate dwarfed those numbers, and I decided to ignore these well-meant cautions. A city was waiting to be discovered, and I wouldn’t let inconvenient facts get in the way. These American criminals are nothing on Kingston’s, I thought. They’re no real threat to me.

What no one had told me was that I was the one who would be considered a threat.

Within days I noticed that many people on the street seemed apprehensive of me: Some gave me a circumspect glance as they approached,

CHASTITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY in CATHOLIC CATECHISM

CHASTITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY in CATHOLIC CATECHISM

May 10, 2017 By dwayman

In the Catechism of the Catholic church this is the teaching on Chastity and Same-Sex attracted people.  What do you find that you appreciate about this teaching and what questions does this raise for you:

 

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity.

THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

May 4, 2017 By dwayman

In his book released May 2, 2017, Richard Rothstein writes about the United States’ government programs that segregated our neighborhoods and created much of the economic and educational inequities we experience today.

Rothstein presents a comprehensive explanation of various government programs and how the result of many was the segregation of the poor into areas of a city which then produced a lower tax-base with inadequate funding for education, police and other aspects of life taken for granted by the middle class, primarily white citizens.

He writes;

In 2014, police killed Michael Brown, a young African American man in Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis.  Protests followed, some violent, and subsequent investigations uncovered systematic police and government abuse of residents in the city’s African American neighborhoods.  The reporting made me wonder how the St. Louis metropolitan area became so segregated.  It turn out that economic zoning – with a barely disguised racial overlay- played an important role.

To prevent lower-income African Americans from living in neighborhoods where middle-class whites resided, local and federal officials began in the 1910s to promote zoning ordinances to reserve middle-class neighborhoods for single-family homes that lower-income families of all races could not afford.  Certainly an important and perhaps primary motivation of zoning rules that kept apartment buildings out of single-family neighborhoods was a social class elitism that was not itself racially biased.  But there was also enough open racial intent behind exclusionary zoning that it is integral to the story of de jure segregation.