Craig’s Corner 2021 July


Just this week, the United Methodist Church decided to make a small but BIG change in our denominational reporting.  Every year, we have to report how many persons are members of the congregation.  On this statistical form, they ask us to identify both the ethnic heritage AND gender identity of each person (not by name, but in aggregate).  The group in charge of this form, the General Council on Finance and Administration or GCFA, decided to make one small change for next year.  They decided to include “non-binary” as a category in the gender report.  

It may seem to be a small change, but it’s a first for our denomination to recognize that how people identify themselves is important.  For those who feel the labels  of male and female don’t really address who they are, they are FINALLY being seen by those around them.  It took forever for us to realize people of mixed ethnic heritage had no box to check on these types of forms.  At least now we realize the same is true for gender identity.  

Some for sure will protest.  Only one pastor voted against the measure among the 18 board members.  It just so happens I know him.  The Rev. Steve Wood is the lead pastor of Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in the metro Atlanta area and is generally a good guy with a loving heart, but he spoke against it saying we might be “creating more angst than we are creating benefits,” possibly referring to those who might object along ultra-conservative, fundamentalist readings of the Bible.  But it’s beyond time for us to recognize the grand diversity of God’s great creation and embrace our differences as normal instead of seeking to ostracize those who don’t conform.  

I look forward to a day when Paul’s words will ring true from Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Peace in Christ,

Rev. Craig