an open letter to the United Methodist Church #GraceUponGrace

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

“There absolutely will be people – good people – who faithfully read the scriptures as okay with gay marriage, and there will be people – good people – who absolutely know to the core of their souls that it is wrong…”um-logo-1551133710

This evening my heart is hurting for my brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church as they wrestle with difficult decisions in face of the sure knowledge that (regardless) a huge percentage of their church will be upset, devastated, hurt, grieved, angry and a whole host of other emotions no matter what happens.

It’s kind of a microcosm of our social/political climate in general. Somewhere along the line the art of constructive compromise has been devalued. Instead, and against all historical precedent (social, theological, political), “compromise” has become conflated with defeat and weakness and immorality, and the new “truth” requires that somebody be right and everyone else judged wrong. In this world there is no such thing as “interpretation” because you either agree with my view or you are in error, period. Not only wrong but somehow evil, somehow a threat.

A Church with One Member…

What I want my United Methodist brothers and sisters to remember is that there is no human institution on the face of this earth that gets everything right. You could leave the church you have always loved but the only way to have a congregation where everyone is in agreement is to limit the membership to one. One person, uno, single, solitary – just you.

I don’t care what church you attend, from Baptist to Lutheran to Presbyterian to Episcopalian to Pentecostal to Gatholic to Methodist to anything in between… there absolutely will be people – good people – who faithfully read the scriptures as okay with gay marriage, and there will be people – good people – who absolutely know to the core of their souls that it is wrong.

So rather than find a bunch of people who agree with you why not stay with the church you love and follow Jesus instead?

Love is not about being in lockstep on every issue!

It really is all right to disagree. We can follow Jesus, we can share his light and love and grace and peace, we can show the world that what really matters is being reconciled with God, we can worship together, and we can grow in faith.

Jesus is inviting you, right now, to deepen your commitment to love people – everyone – with his kind of love, to open the doors wide and welcome people home, and to serve with the kind of passion for justice and peace that marks the church as (still) the best possible place to find hope and reconciliation and community.

  • You are Methodist after all, isn’t “GRACE” the word we’re looking for here?

So please do not forget that the only thing God cares about is the fact that you have accepted the invitation Jesus offers to come home.

We’re none of us perfect – especially those who argue so loud and so long that they are, there are no “God’s favorite Christians,” and no church or denomination has anywhere near all of the right answers – not a single one.

Peace, and all the grace you can muster – DEREK

Photo by Christina Fletes



  1. Thank you Derek. You don’t know me; however, I read your blog almost daily. I have been devastated; disappointed does not adequately describe the overwhelming sadness I have felt over the last few days. This morning is a new day and as the sun comes up I know that God’s love for all of His children is and will be still constant. I know that my calling as a Pastor has not changed. And I know that my love for the United Methodist Church still remains. I can simply chose to keep the light burning or blow it out. I choose to reflect what God has placed in my heart, mind, and soul. This decision of the GC will never change that. So, thank you, Brother for this beautiful reminder – Pastor Peggy Moss, Florida Conference


  2. Thanks, Derek, for your kind and reassuring words to those of us who call ourselves United Methodists. Our pastor has called a prayer vigil for this evening. I am going to read your blog to those gathered. Thanks again, I do appreciate your support.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Derek. Your words are what I needed to hear. I am so disappointed with the outcome but know no other church I want to attend. Keep us in your prayers.

    Janice England

    Sent from AOL Mobile Ma

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My Dear Friend and BIC, Derek. I always find your words at least interesting, and sometimes challenging to me in my struggle with faith. Then, there are times when you really “hit the ball out of the park”. This is one of those times. Well lead, well written, my Brother. – David

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With disturbing memories of faithful people convinced that they alone are correct I appreciate you wise words. Art


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