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.
Posts by Denny
SPU THEOLOGIANS’ COMMITMENT ENDING RACISM

SPU THEOLOGIANS’ COMMITMENT ENDING RACISM

September 27, 2017 By dwayman

We rely on our Free Methodist Universities to provide wisdom and guidance to our denomination.  The religion department of our university in Seattle, Seattle Pacific University has done just that in this statement.  In cooperation with the university’s John Perkins Center and Office of University Ministries our theologians give this guidance:

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action

As Christian leaders, we commit ourselves to the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to stand with those who experience discrimination and racism.  We commit ourselves to challenge expressions of racism occurring in various institutions of our nation, such as law enforcement, the legal system, the educational system, political structures, and the Church.

We repent for the ways Christians have been and still are complicit participants in these injustices.  In light of our history and recent events in our nation, we believe it is necessary to reaffirm our commitment to reject ethnic nationalism, injustice, and violence.

We thank God for all who pursue Biblical justice, reconciliation, and the creation of church and civil communities that guard all people’s rights and well-being.  We reaffirm God’s call to churches to proclaim and embody the prophetic and redemptive message of our Lord—that true peace and reconciliation require justice.

We make this declaration in humble recognition that justice is not brought about by proclamations alone, but by the redemptive and sanctifying work of the triune God.  Lives that fulfill, by grace, the biblical command to do justice,

W.E.L.L. – WOMEN. EQUAL. LEADING. LEARNING

W.E.L.L. – WOMEN. EQUAL. LEADING. LEARNING

September 18, 2017 By dwayman

The Free Methodist Church in Southern California has an initiative led by a group of three excellent leaders: Rev. Colleen Hurley-Bates, Rev. Cheri Coleman, Lillian Johnson  They titled the initiative W.E.L.L.  You can find their work here.

They explain:

 Core to our freedoms within the Free Methodist Church is the freedom for women to participate fully in the life, ministry and governance of the church as called and gifted by God. We want to invite you to be part of the conversation as we discuss how women are currently serving within the life and leadership of the FMC in Southern California and identify new opportunities moving forward.

At a recent meeting they had an excellent presentation by Dr. Bernice Ledbetter of Pepperdine University.  This audio presentation is presented here to provide  recent research substantiating what many of us are experiencing:  Women and Men working together make better decisions and are more effective.

W.E.L.L. Meeting 9/10/17

Keynote by Dr. Bernice Ledbetter, EdD, Director, Center for Women in Leadership.

 

DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s

DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s

September 10, 2017 By dwayman

This is the official explanation (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) of the events during the 1930’s when hundreds of thousands of Mexican people were coerced into returning to Mexico.  The reasons were racist and economic.  It reveals the complexity of the situation in which the “official proceedings” were responsible for only a small portion of those who were coerced to leave.  The majority left out of fear due to the threats they received.  You can read this official report here.

The official explanation says in part:

“In most cases, however, no federal record exists for these departures. This is because, while an estimated 400,000 to 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans left the US for Mexico during the Depression, relatively few of them were expelled under formal INS-directed removal proceedings. The majority returned to Mexico by their own decision or through officially voluntary – though often coercive – repatriation programs directed by state and local governments and charitable aid agencies.

INS did increase its deportation efforts during the 1930s and on several occasions the agency co-operated with local governments who sought to remove Mexicans from their jurisdictions. These actions understandably contributed to the current belief that the INS led a massive repatriation program. In reality, INS’s role in the removal process was somewhat more complex.

In1930, as the extent of the Depression became more clear some Americans accused Mexicans, as well as other aliens, of holding jobs needed by U.S.

UNPACKING PRIVILEGE

UNPACKING PRIVILEGE

August 13, 2017 By dwayman

Understanding privilege is far more difficult for those for whom it is a daily experience.  This causes systems, (church, economic, justice, social, educational) to remain systemically unjust.  Thus when those without privilege step up and ask for justice, the privileged feel threatened or displaced.

It is not enough to just understand privilege but to also be those who “seek justice” for all.  That is not only a deeply Christian value but a human one.  As Free Methodists our commitment is stated in our Ordination Vow when we say we are “insistent for justice”:  Rooted in a deep love for Christ and sharing His compassion for people, Free Methodist elders help create congregations that are fervent in prayer, enthusiastic in worship, holy in lifestyle, insistent for justice, caring for the poor, and reaching out locally and globally to bring all people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

To help everyone have a common language here is an article post on the conversation-empowering website National Seed Project.  This was written in 1989 as we were just beginning to understand the dynamics.  Much progress has been made since then.

It says in part:

As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege,

SEXUALITY AND GENDER

SEXUALITY AND GENDER

July 19, 2017 By dwayman

In the fall of 2016 The New Atlantis published a study introduced by the editor as:

Editor’s Note: Questions related to sexuality and gender bear on some of the most intimate and personal aspects of human life. In recent years they have also vexed American politics. We offer this report — written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century — in the hope of improving public understanding of these questions. Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex. More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care, and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.”

The credentials of these authors are not in question, and the science has not been refuted.  However, such publication as The New Atlantis, is described by editor Adam Keiper as being written from a “particularly American and conservative way of thinking about both the blessings and the burdens of modern science and technology.”

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.