A blog post about Lockerbie Central that isn’t mine.

It has been a few weeks now since the Indy Star article. Our locally Gannett owned paper ran a front page METRO section article about my church, Lockerbie Central United Methodist.

It looks like the blogosphere picked up on it.

Well, one guy did.

The blogger–a journalist, law student, and presbyterian–had a lengthy response to Bobby King’s article about us. Posting on Get Religion.org, he wrote the [Indy Star article] “left me pondering whether this story was more about a growing social center and movement or place of entertainment than it was about a struggling church, as its traditionally defined.

So I guess Ill try and answer him here.

LCUMC is a “growing social center and movement.” It is also a place of entertainment for the arts. And we are also a struggling church.

A church with great hope for the future but a church that struggles with both finances and with what it means to follow Jesus in the 21st century. We are mostly a church full of people who want to follow Jesus but who detest the Religious Right and want a church more vibrant and relavant than what most mainline denominations have become.

The blogger continues:

The one thing I kept looking for in the story was an explanation for the church’s views on the direction of the United Methodist denomination nationally or some sort of determination of the church’s theological baseline. Of course since the congregation lacks a pastor and by definition attempts to avoid religious and political labels, that basis is difficult to establish, but there are certain basic things that can be asked about.

Since the church doesn’t really have “view on the direction of the United Methodist denomination,” I will give my take. I am a life long United Methodist, went to a Methodist college, Millsaps, before transferring, to Earlham, and some of my most important mentors are United Methodist clergy. I love and have great hope for the United Methodists. I also hope that Lockerbie Central will continue to be a strong contributor to the United Methodist conversation.

But, it is very clear that the United Methodist and mainline protestant churches are dying. Walk into almost any United Methodist church and you will notice the complete lack of young people. Last year at annual conference, I was the only lay leader under 30 (I am now 31.) The annual conference represents hundreds of churches.

As for our little church, I am excited and a little worried. What makes me excited about our church is that we don’t shy away from controversial issuess–like war and poverty.

So, the blogger continues. He wishes Bobby King had talked about three main questions facing the church.

(1) Are the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus accurate? Did this event really happen?

This is a tough question as each gospel account of the resurrection is different. If the writers of Mark, Luke, Mathew, and John, don’t match up in their accounts of the resurrection, how can we 2000 years after the life of Jesus know if these accounts are “accurate”?

I can’t speak for the whole church, but I believe that the Resurrection is true. We do celebrate Easter. We might not be sure on all the details or if the Resurrection is best understood as a metaphor or a political statement or as “accurate” history, but I do believe that truth can’t be killed. Jesus’ dream of a world of justice, compassion, and disciplehship was not murdered by [the roman] empire or its religious establishment collaborators.

(2) Is salvation found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?

I definitely believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I feel that only God knows who is truly saved. OR perhaps, If God, being of compassion and love, saves everyone.

What I struggle with is if Jesus is the “way” then shouldn’t we follow all of Jesus’ teachings, especially the really hard ones. Like loving your neighbor, loving your enemy, healing the wounded, reaching out to outcasts, being in community with outcasts, living a life not consumed with materialism. Before we talk about salvation, shouldn’t we get these other details right first?

(3) Is sex outside of the Sacrament of Marriage a sin?

There is no doubt that a healthy marriage is ideal in any society.

I might say that sex outside of a committed, healthy relationship is a sin. But war is also a sin. But that has not stopped our Christian presidents. And last time I checked, war–you know that whole do not kill thing–is pretty high up there on the list of sins.

Plus, I don’t ever really remembering Jesus talking about gay marriage or pre-maritial sex. I do remember Jesus talking about peacemaking and standing up for those who have been victimized by purity codes.


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