Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Church Politics for Politics Sake

Recently the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church, elected Rev. Karen Oliveto of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco to serve as a bishop of The United Methodist Church. Rev. Oliveto has been described as “an openly lesbian clergyperson.”

“An openly lesbian clergyperson” is a bit of an understatement as she is married to a woman. In my little town out on the prairie our local Methodist church sent a letter to their parishioners telling them of Ms Oliveto's election and asking for calm. What the letter did not do was address my biggest question: is she qualified for the position? Her qualifications are what must be addressed first, everything after that comes down to personal opinion.

Is she academically qualified? Personally I don't know simply because I'm not familiar with the academic requirements of a Methodist bishop. She has a Masters of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion and a  Ph.D. in Religion and Society from Drew University, she's an  adjunct professor of United Methodist Studies at Pacific School of Religion where she recently served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. So yeah, I suppose she's got all the blocks filled out for educational requirements. 

Is she biblically qualified? I'm going to have to say no. That's a topic for another post but if anyone says she is, in fairness sake, please sing out. I'd really like to hear why you think she is.

Is she deminationally qualified? I'm not a Methodist, so I'd had to research to see what they say about women clergy. I found that clergywomen have been part of Methodism since John Wesley licensed Sarah Crosby to preach in 1761. Although women were ordained in the Methodist tradition as early as the late 1800s, on May 4, 1956 the General Conference voted for full clergy rights for women. I've read several commentaries on the ordination of women in the Methodist church, many of them ignore Paul's requirements of an elder (Titus 1:509) and instead concentrating on Galatians 3:28 which is soteriological and has nothing to do with ecclesiastical patterns. 

However there's a qualification where she falls short and it's clearly spelled out in the Methodist Book of Discipline. Article IV of the Book of Discipline states that all persons are of sacred worth and regardless of race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, all are welcome in the denomination, there are requirements for elders:
¶ 304.3 Qualifications for Ordination
While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals* are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
* "Self-avowed practicing homosexual" is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual. See Judicial Council Decisions 702, 708, 722, 725, 764, 844, 984, 1020
To me it appears that  Ms Oliveto put her desires ahead of those of the Methodist church and rather than responsibly working to change rules that she disagreed with, she and her supporters simply ignored them. 

Is this a matter of "It's easier get forgiveness than it is permission", or was this a calculated political maneuver to force the Methodist church to ordain openly homosexual men and women, a political 'foot in the door' kind of thing.

Either way, the Methodist Council of Bishops isn't happy but they want to work this issue out.


  1. This is one of the many reasons why I'm glad I left the Methodist church.
    They all these non-Christians in not only as members but as leaders and they don't even follow their own rules. And they can't even pretend to be misunderstanding the rules, because they work 24x7 to change them. The blind people of Sodom are still quite persistent.

    "instead concentrating on Galatians 3:28 which is soteriological and has nothing to do with ecclesiastical patterns."

    Excellent and pithy response to that common error.

    1. Thank you, and to be honest I had never heard of the word "soteriological" before I started researching this article

  2. She isn't biblically qualified or denominationally qualified. She's a fraud.