Nancy Pelosi said what!? United Methodist Assn. of Communicators San Francisco, California October 2010
Nancy Pelosi “Our coalition ranges from the AARP … to the American Medical Assn., the Catholic Health Assn., the United Medical — the United Methodist Church, and Voices of America’s Children. From A to Z — they are sending a clear message to members of Congress: Say yes to health-care reform.”March 21, 2010
Social Principles We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶162V
Say what!? • “I fought against Medicare, and now they want to take it away from me.” • “I didn’t know there were Christians in Palestine.” • “I don't want no criminals coming to my church, no illegals, no murderers, no thieves.”
Say what!? • “Jesus wanted us to support the poor and downtrodden in our hearts.” • “I don't care what Jesus had to say.” • “Facts don't sway me none.” • “The church shouldn’t be involved in politics.” • “Are you out of your [expletive deleted] minds?”
Say what!? “Only General Conference can speak for The United Methodist Church.”
Board of Church & Society Prime responsibility: Seek implementation of Social Principles and other policy statements of General Conferenceon Christian social concerns.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶1004
Board of Church & Society Speakits convictions, interpretations and concerns consistentwithSocial Principles and policies adopted by the General Conference.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶1004
Board of Church & Society Provide forthright witness and action on issues of human well-being, justice, peace and the integrity of creation.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶1004
Board of Church & Society EncourageChristian lines of action to move toward peace and justice.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶1003
Board of Church & Society • Speak • Provide forthright witness • Encourage • Seek implementation of Social Principles
Caveat Responsibility to communicate: • Every church member • Every pastor • Every congregation • Every annual conference • Every institution, and • Every agency of the Church.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶1801
Leaders’ Attitudes Source: 2008 Interpreter Magazine Reader Profile (1,021 leaders, 589 pastors)
Pastors’ Attitudes Source: 2008 Interpreter Magazine Reader Profile (1,021 leaders, 589 pastors)
Caveat “A church that rushes to punishment is not open to God’s mercy, but a church lacking the courage to act on personal and social issues loses its claim to moral authority.” General Rules & Social Principles, 2008 Book of Discipline
I will say this about Wayne and our conversation … While it was clear we disagreed on certain principles, he was open to the discussion, which went on for some time. I respected him for that and in the bigger picture would welcome more of the same. E-mail to Jim Winkler
Wesley Is that not what Wesley would have supported: open, honest, heartfelt, passionate debate and discussion? Same e-mail to Jim Winkler
John Wesley “There is no holiness but social holiness.” “Think and let think.” “The world is my parish.”
Wesley on creation God is in all things … We are to see the Creator in the face of every creature; … We should use and look upon nothing as separate from God.Sermon 23, “Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount”
Our Wesleyan Heritage • Anti-slavery • Prison reform • Care for the ill • War and peace • Concern for animals • Liquor trade • Ministry with the poor
Characteristics of Methodists • Of any denomination, most reflects U.S. population — 95.4% of U.S. counties have UM church (GCFA, 2006) • Believe every person at heart is good • Incurably optimisticSaturday Evening Post
Our History of Social Action • Movements for justice • Abolition • Temperance • Labor rights (1st Social Creed) • Women’s rights • United Nations • Civil rights • Care for creation
Capital Punishment Stance since 1956: We oppose the death penalty (capital punishment) and urge its elimination from all criminal codes.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶ 164.G
Hot! Hot! Hot! • Israel and Palestine • Family planning • Homosexuality • Health-care reform • Immigration reform • Islam • War • Depends on phase of the moon?!
When the Phone Rings … • Stop what you are doing! • Listen. Listen. Listen. • Be patient. • Be respectful. • Never argue.
During the Call Ask questions • Where are they from? • How did they hear about this? • What is their local church? • Have they talked to their pastor? • Are they familiar with the Social Principles? • Do they know how The United Methodist Church makes decisions? • What do they want you to do?
Caveat Never allow a false statement to stand!
Caveat Do not assume they have read the Social Principle or resolutionrelated to their concern!
Caveat Do not assume they have heard of the Social Principles!
When (If) They Ask Explain decision process • The caller is representedGeneral Conference similar to U.S. Congress: 1,000 delegates elected from annual conferences every four years. • The caller can be involvedAnyone can submit petitions. (1,600+ in 2008) • The caller’s representative deliberates, prays and votes repeatedly(Subcommittees, committees, plenary session)
Your Tools • Book of Discipline • Social Principles (¶160-165) • Paragraph on GBCS (¶1000-1004) • Book of Resolutions Mark resolutions at issue • The cavalry • Chair of Church & Society, Peace with Justice Coordinator • Wayne Rhodes, (202) 488-5630
Biblical call Micah 6:8 What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God? United Methodist Building rotunda, 1923
The Social Principles Calls United Methodists to “a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith (piety) and practice (mercy).”United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶509
The Social Principles Not church law, although intended to be “instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit.”United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶160
The Social Principles Ordained clergy and candidates for ordination: • Assume lifestyle consistent with Christian teaching as set forth in the Social Principles.United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶337.2
The Social Principles Elected local church leaders: • Loyal to the ethical standards of The United Methodist Church set forth in the Social Principles. United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶244.3
The Social Principles Boards of Trustees (at every level) : • Invest funds in enterprises that “make a positive contribution toward the realization of the goals outlined in the Social Principles.” United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶806.11
The Social Principles ‘Essential resource’ in guiding to become a servant of Christ in mission.
The Social Principles • The Natural World affirms that all creation is God’s creation. • The Nurturing Community affirms that all persons are important and all are loved by God. • The Social Community affirms that all persons are equally valuable in the sight of God.
The Social Principles • The Economic Communityaffirms that all economic systems are under God’s judgment. • The Political Communityaffirms that all political systems are under God’s judgment. • The World Community affirms that God’s world is one world.
The Social Principles 2 special tools for communication • The United Methodist Social Creed • Social Creed Companion Litany United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶166
How to communicate about the Social Principles Tell stories Bulletin inserts Web site Worship Sunday School Bible studies
Why Advocacy ministry is biblical • It is a central part of our call Our primary task • ‘Make disciples of Jesus Christfor the transformation of the world’ • Advocacy helps form whole disciples Our call to Christian education • Learn what being a faithful Christian means
Why • Jesus’ ministry in the public square Witness to the world-transforming love of God through word and deed • Our call to evangelism The whole message of God
How Share in positive ways • That invite learning together • That don’t divide us into judgmental divisions (good and bad, righteous and evil) Talk more about what we are for, less about what we are against. • Paint a vision of what God desires for creation
Social Creed • 1908: first Social Creed adopted. • 1909-1916: United Brethren in Christ Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and Methodist Protestant Church adopt social creeds. • 1972: General Conference adopts Social Principles, updates Social Creed
Why Social Creed Important • Reflects historical context of time. • Acts as confessional statement to interpret faith through understanding of tradition, scripture, reason and experience • Helps identify familial, social, political and economic challenges United Methodist Church faces.
The Social Creed (1908) The Methodist Episcopal Church stands: For equal rights and complete justice for all [people] in all stations of life. For the principle of conciliation and arbitration in industrial dissensions. For the protection of the worker from dangerous machinery, occupational diseases, injuries and mortality. For the abolition of child labor. For such regulation of the conditions of labor for women as shall safe guard the physical and moral health of the community.