Our country grows more polarized and divided every day: in how we think, the words we use, our political system, and much more. Instead of The United Methodist Church showing the light of Christ to the world and demonstrating a way through the divisiveness of our present time, we are as polarized and divided as our nation.
Since we were scheduled to have our Orders event in March our divisions, our pain, our wish to dismiss others, our dividing into “we” and “they” has only increased. We as Christians need this Orders event desperately!
How did The United Methodist Church get to this point? Why was the “connection” not able to hold us together? Were our prayers unanswered? Though there are individuals in the Iowa Conference who are “connectional” with people who disagree with them, as a whole, the connection has not functioned well for years.
The Orders event October 19 and 20 will help us see the causes of our division and why our best efforts created more division instead of helping us come together as the Body of Christ. No matter how many pieces the UMC breaks into, we will need to know the causes in order to keep these “new” organizations from the same fate. All Christians need to grow and learn how to connect and live with those with whom they disagree.
Rev. Dr. Greg Jones, Dean of Duke Divinity School, will be joining us via Zoom to help us understand some of the issues that have caused us to split apart: Confirmation Bias, Fundamental Attribution Error, Interpretive Loathing, and more. He and the Orders team is designing an event which is connectional, focused on discernment and cultivating relationships even in a time of COVID restrictions. Rev. Dr. Jones will share about aspects of our humanity which work against the Connection, then we will discuss together in small groups. As we learn together we will be participating in the first step of rebuilding connection and our witness of Jesus Christ in our world. We will grow in our relationship to Christ and each other. Rev. Dr. Jones will also explore what it would mean to “rediscover the heart of Methodism.”