Postscript to A Reply to Hacking Christianity’s Criticism of the Indianapolis Plan

Well, about an hour after I posted my phone number, Jeremy Smith texted me his, and we talked this afternoon for over an hour. He let me spill my beans and I learned a lot from him. I wish him well with his blog.

I know it seemed strange for me to blog about not blogging last night. It is fair to fault me for being a minor hypocrite on that one. But the truth is, last night I was too lazy to look up his contact information online, and I did not want to carry it in my head and heart until the next day. I just wanted to enjoy the ballgame (Mets lost–to the Royals no less!).

Besides, I thought it might do us all some good to illustrate how we ought to communicate when things get distorted in social media. I think one of the symptoms of our denominational sickness is that the lived reality of the local church is not reflected in our conference relations. What would I do in my local church if I had a problem with someone? I’d give them a call instead of emailing or texting or talking about them behind their back.

Briefly, here are the things his blog got wrong about the plan:

Jeremy criticized the kinds of progressives in the group. I will explain how the group was formed in my next post.

His criticism that it is a “WCA plan” was based on a misunderstanding of the document he had been given. The version he had been given was a first draft written by Tom Lambrecht. At the beginning, we had a process for compiling input from the others that fell apart, so by default Tom’s version was the only one that got circulated. That draft was never approved by any of us, and it has since been replaced by several other versions.

Insofar as parts of Tom’s first draft are still reflected in the Basic Provisions is because he was a good note taker of our first meeting, not because he was manipulating the centrists and progressives. The key ideas came from all sides, which may be hard for some folks to believe that some centrists and progressives might actually agree with some traditionalists.

The problems Jeremy pointed out are the same points which our group has rejected or not decided on. Indeed, they are still points of deep contention.

In particular, the 50/50 asset split was discussed as one of several hypothetical scenarios but we never adopted it. It is not in our plan. The issue of assets is an issue that we may not be able to figure out. And that may be for the best.

So this is why we welcome your input.

Final note: the Mets won tonight 4-1.

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Notes for a New Methodism

Rev. Darren Cushman Wood is the senior minister of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana and is an elder and full member of the Indiana Annual Conference. He is a graduate of the University of Evansville and Union Theological Seminary (New York). Darren was a delegate to the 2004 & 2008 General Conferences and a delegate to the 2000 & 2016 Jurisdictional Conferences. He is the author of "The Secret Transcript of the Council of Bishops" and "Blue Collar Jesus: How Christianity Supports Workers' Rights."

4 thoughts on “Postscript to A Reply to Hacking Christianity’s Criticism of the Indianapolis Plan”

  1. Darren, so you know where I am coming from I am traditionalist who takes scripture seriously, including blessed are the peacemakers. I very much appreciate yours and the rest of the group’s efforts. Your plan is the best by far.
    As far as splitting assets I suggest if it belongs to an agency it should stay with the agency. Truth told traditionalists would have to get rid of the staff and policies of the social agencies. It would be easier for us to start over and why cause all that pain. Designated money has to go to whoever it is designated to. I suggest hiring a reputable accounting firm and splitting the money left unassigned to the successor denominations by church worship attendance the year after this goes into effect. Just a suggestion.

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  2. How about leaving agency assets with the agencies as Dave suggests and then splitting the remainder based on the average apportionments paid to the General Church over the past the Years? If the annual conferences that become the Traditional UMC have contributed x percent to General Apportionments, they should get x of the remaining resources. Likewise the Centrist/Progressive denomination should get y percent of the remaining resources if they have contributed y percent to General Apportionments.

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