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A Layman's Reaction to the Omaha Trial Verdict

Preface: This item was posted to the Texas Conference email distribution list in response to another post. The author of the initial post had indicated that regardless of the number of types of sin, sexual sins seem to get an inordinate amount of attention. Also, that there is substantial risk of making a decision while we are in a heightened state of anxiety, which could lead to a bad decision.

At this point in time I find it extremely difficult to come up with a measured and thoughtful response to what has happened and what is happening. Is it that we exhibit "an extraordinary amount of anxiety in the UMC about sins of a sexual nature", or that we just don't exhibit enough concern about sin, period. How many of us really work and pray to see ourselves with God's eyes, to see the sin within ourselves and pray that it might be excised. How many of us pray to God that the pride within us might be crushed, regardless of the pain? How many of us guard our eyes, ears and minds against the constant onslaught of the WORLD in TV, popular fiction, music, etc. At every level these carry the same problem as the situation in Omaha. Some of us, maybe many of us, don't think about the fact that our everyday activities, even our everyday light entertainment (fantasy science fiction, anyone?), at best clouds our spiritual vision and at worst desensitizes us to sin.

As far as getting "loose" from our anxiety on the issue, I see that as the greatest single danger in this whole situation. If we can be desensitized with regard to Mr. Creech's actions, lose touch with the identification of sin, as opposed to condoning it, then we will have truly lost the moral compass of our denomination.

Let me give my layman's point of view. As I understand it, we are in connection with Mr. Creech's charge. In my view, Mr. Creech has performed a ceremony intended to imply the same solemnization of a 'covenant' as that of my marriage vows (even the 'court' agreed). In doing this, Mr. Creech has used his position and church to condone what is, by scriptural definition, an unrepentant sinful lifestyle.

In this act, Mr..Creech has desecrated his church which, through connection, is my church. Mr. Creech has acted in clear defiance of authority (Paul would also say that this was a sin). Of his District Superintendent's authority. Of his Bishop's authority. Of the authority of The Discipline (of scriptural basis). My church has proven, to date, incapable of doing the right thing. The 'court' has failed to convict him and he retains his credentials and charge. If Discipline no longer controls, then everyone can just go do whatever seems right in their own eyes. It is a slippery slope.

Now, about where the rubber meets the road. I have tried to be an increasingly faithful servant of my church, wherever I have been since I returned to Christ's fold some nine years ago. I have increased my giving, increased my prayer life, studied my Bible, given liberally of my prayers, presence, gifts and service. As I watch this unfold, many decisions about my relationship to the denomination (pledging, service, candidacy, etc.) may hang in the balance. I, along with Paul, am chief among sinners. And I need a church that points out sin to me as a problem, not an option.

Grace and peace.

Tom Brainerd

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