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Coming Apart?
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Members of the mediation team that produced the "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation" described their process in a livestream video by United Methodist News Service. (UM News Photo by Sam Hodges)
The "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation" continued to capture United Methodists' attention this week as the mediation team explained their process in a livestream video organized by United Methodist News Service.

Yet in the world's context, events with wider consequences involving the U.S. government and the global climate crisis also raised concerns.

Features and commentaries on the "Protocol" are coming at almost warp speed. On Insight these include: Regular contributor Dr. David W. Scott of UM & Global took a different perspective on the proposed "Protocol" with two posts related to UMC assets: who owns them and what are they?

Two of our frequent contributors took note of the tremors going through U.S. democracy from the start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The Rev. John Boley sees vital connections between Christian discipleship and resisting tyranny, based on a recent book by a history professor. The Rev. Jim Burklo looks at the links between truth and freedom in an introduction to his "Resistance Bible Study."

The global climate crisis and natural disasters also involved the world's Methodists. In Puerto Rico, Methodists are beginning to respond to a series of serious earthquakes that have hit the island, a U.S. territory, over the past two weeks. In Australia, a climate scientist offers a firsthand report on weeks of bush fires, along with a list compiled by United Methodist Insight of recent articles on the meaning of the Australian catastrophe to the climate crisis.

Amid these daunting events, the Rev. Jack Shitama offers a reassuring strategy for people of faith to bring a non-anxious presence to the atmosphere of chaos and fear.

Next week, Insight's editors will attend the Jan. 23-24 Pre-General Conference Briefing in Nashville, Tenn. The first day is dominated by the proposals to split or restructure the UMC. The second day involves the nuts and bolts of General Conference operation and looks at the various racial/ethnic and gender constituencies, along with the proposed global Social Principles. Because of this schedule, we'll send out a short newsletter on Wednesday, followed by a special report on the two-day briefing as soon possible after the event closes. We pray for safe travels for all those attending.

Words for Your Week

"When the world is in chaos, a leader who takes responsibility for self, and is fully present in the moment, is a means of God’s grace. ... She knows that the best thing she can do is focus on what she can do, not what she can’t. She is able to trust in a God who ordered chaos into creation. She knows that anxiety is extra baggage that makes any situation worse."

– The Rev. Jack Shitama, "Fear, Chaos and the Non-Anxious Leader."

Somewhere but Nowhere

By Richard Lowell Bryant on Jan 16, 2020 08:08 am
United Methodist schism is the smallest of the earth’s concerns. The world is tired and afraid. People are worn out. The world needs churches that offer hope. Too bad we’re breaking camp, writes the Rev. Richard Lowell Bryant.
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United Methodist Schism and the ‘Protocol’ of 2020

By William B. Lawrence on Jan 16, 2020 07:55 am
The Rev. Dr. William B. Lawrence, past president of the UMC's Judicial Council, weighs in on the political and technical aspects of the "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation."
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Australia, Your Country is Burning – Dangerous Climate Change is Here with You Now

By Michael Mann on Jan 16, 2020 07:32 am
Even as rain brought some welcome relief to Australia, the experience of a visiting climate scientist brings up critical issues that confront even faith-based creation care efforts.
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On Tyranny and Discipleship

By John Boley on Jan 15, 2020 10:26 am
Democracies can turn into dictatorships. The Rev. John Boley summarizes what a history professor, Timothy Snyder, has to say to those who would oppose a slide toward tyranny and authoritarianism, including Christians.
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Bishop Coyner, Unifier of People, Dies

By Heather Hahn on Jan 15, 2020 10:25 am
Bishop Michael J. Coyner was praised as a leader who sought to bring together people of differing perspectives.
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Becoming God's Breath

By Morgan Guyton on Jan 15, 2020 10:25 am
The Rev. Morgan Guyton's mystical encounter led him to a discovery: the more brutal a cross that a follower of Christ must carry, the deeper he or she descends into the baptism of discipleship.
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Truth and Freedom: Resistance Bible Study

By Jim Burklo on Jan 15, 2020 10:25 am
Christians have a responsibility to determine the truth of social and political narratives in order to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, writes the Rev. Jim Burklo.
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West Ohio Video Gives More Background to 'Protocol'

By Cynthia B. Astle on Jan 15, 2020 08:59 am
A new video from West Ohio Annual Conference expands more on the discussions that led to the creation of the "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation."
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Journeys to Affirmation 02: My Life Is Not a Paradox

By Janine Roberts on Jan 14, 2020 10:49 am
Asbury alumna Janine Roberts had to leave the United Methodist Church that nurtured her life and ministry in order to marry and find an affirming faith community.
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Fear, Chaos and the Non-Anxious Leader

By Jack Shitama on Jan 14, 2020 10:49 am
The Rev. Jack Shitama offers a word of reassurance and encouragement in the face of the world's chaos.
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A Primer on UMC Assets: What Are They?

By David W. Scott on Jan 14, 2020 10:49 am
According to the trust clause that governs ownership, United Methodist assets are defined as "all real and personal, tangible and intangible property" – but the definition doesn't stop there.
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Random Thoughts on Watching the ‘Protocol’ Team

By Cynthia B. Astle on Jan 14, 2020 10:49 am
Cynthia B. Astle analyzes the video report of the negotiating team for "A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation" and interprets its implications for the UMC.
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A Way Out of Impasse Over LGBT Issues?

By Elizabeth Redden on Jan 13, 2020 12:29 pm
A proposed split in the United Methodist Church could be good news for colleges that struggled with whether to retain their church affiliation following the adoption of anti-LGBT policies.
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A Reflection on 'A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation'

By William Boyd Grove on Jan 13, 2020 12:22 pm
Retired Bishop William Boyd Grove finds that the negotiated agreement offers the UMC a way out of the hostility and division that has plagued the church since 1972.
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Panel Offers Peek Behind Scenes of Separation Plan

By Kathy L. Gilbert on Jan 13, 2020 11:55 am
Members of the negotiation team for "A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation" talked about their process during a 75-minute video session.
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Puerto Rican Methodists Tackle Earthquake Response

By Dan Curran on Jan 13, 2020 11:55 am
The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico is coping with damage from a recent swarm of earthquakes on the island, a U.S. protectorate.
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Changes Afoot for United Methodist Schools’ Group

By Sam Hodges on Jan 13, 2020 11:55 am
The educators' association is dropping "United" from its name while still pushing the denomination to drop its anti-LGBTQ+ stances.
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World’s Largest Prayer Gathering to Celebrate Gift of Unity

By WCC News on Jan 13, 2020 10:59 am
During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, to be celebrated January 18-25, Christians across the world will pray and reflect on what it means to “show unusual kindness.”
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Benjamin L. Hartley: Becoming One, Becoming Holy

By Benjamin L. Hartley on Jan 13, 2020 10:59 am
Professor Hartley finds the recently revised United Methodist statement on the church's nature is also a kind of “holiness manifesto,” set forth at a time when there is again a great “need of a compelling articulation of the message of holiness.”
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Count Me In

By Carolyn Moore on Jan 13, 2020 10:59 am
The vice chair of the Wesleyan Covenant Association explains why she supports the proposed "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation."
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Along the Way: What’s Going On?

By Steve Harper on Jan 13, 2020 10:58 am
Our new axial age is transforming knowledge in numerous places. Suffice it to say that it is this larger reality (not the authority of Scripture) which provides the backdrop for the question, “What’s going on?" writes the Rev. Dr. Steve Harper
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