I have a new T-shirt that has the United Methodist Cross and Flame logo and motto "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." I wore it this evening to a church gathering wondering if anyone else might like to have one. It's a tasteful shirt - no cheesy scripts or weird sentiments. It's a white shirt and the logo/motto is small. Well, it became clear quite quickly that some people in my church just don't believe that our church has "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." One person asked if I was going to add the word "except" on the back.
Good responses and good question. I know that at at least a couple of General Conferences our denomination has debated the veracity of this slogan. What happens when the image that a church tries to project doesn't match the image that even its members have of it?
I realize that the congregation that I serve is particularly wounded by the church's exclusion of LGBT people, but are there others who aren't welcome? I also am aware that there are some who say that our "minds are so open that our brains have fallen out." And, are there others who experience a church with closed hearts? Could the Lord's Table be a place to set aside our need to agree so that we can all commune?
I love the heritage of my faith and I struggle with the current reality of my denomination. I firmly believe that God can overcome the frailties of the human condition; that is, after all, the core of our faith story.
Just so you know, I came home and hung my shirt in my closet. I wonder if I'll wear it again soon.
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