The LGBTQ+ Funding Ban is Finally Repealed in The UMC
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
1M ago
The end of an all-too-long era. Creative Commons Share On Tuesday, April 30th, 2024 at the General Conference in Charlotte, NC, USA, the worldwide body removed the funding ban on LGBTQ+ affirmative ministries and missions. The vote was 667-54. The United Methodist Church has a long history of silence on LGBTQ programs and forbidding funding of anything that remotely offers affirmation and comfort to LGBTQ children. And learning that history brings much more weight to this action today. History of The UMC Denying Ministry to LGBTQ persons Barely a year after The United Methodist Church was crea ..read more
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An Ocean of Drops at the 2024 General Conference
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
1M ago
We can’t keep swimming if we get out of the water. Dungeness Spit, Washington, USA : 2024 Drops The 2012 science fiction film Cloud Atlas journeys through six different time periods and the struggles for justice or mere survival in each of them. One of the time periods is in 1849, years before the breakout of the American Civil War. The son-in-law of a wealthy businessman in America is sent overseas to conclude a business arrangement to transport slaves from Africa.  The son-in-law is transformed when he witnesses brutality done to the slaves and his life is saved by a slave on the trip h ..read more
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General Conference Begins: Can the UMC be put to good use?
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
1M ago
Can we be molded into a shape that is of use to God and our world? Glass-blowing and faith Across the street from First United Methodist Church of Seattle is the Chihuly Museum of Glass, which houses amazing works of art, boats, chandeliers, bowls, glasshouses, garden flowers, you name it…all made with blown glass by artist Dave Chihuly.   I attended a glassblowing demonstration where some of their artisans stuck molten glass on the end of poles, heated them up, and then inflated them with air, forming them into amazing shapes like the ones on this blog post. The key is heat. Heat is imp ..read more
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Against the Grifters at General Conference
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
1M ago
When Renewal Groups became Removal Groups, they lost their credibility at the General Conference. Depositphotos All Part of the Plan For the past few decades, the traditionalist caucus groups in The United Methodist Church have called themselves “renewal groups.” Their stated purpose has been to renew United Methodism by reforming its practices and polity to reflect the renewal groups’ antigay and power-obsessed theology. Back in 2019, Hacking Christianity was the first reporter of a buried text: a 2004 strategy document by Renewal Group leaders that outlined five different ways they would ach ..read more
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The Crane Church: A New Hope for United Methodism
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
2M ago
A tale from Japanese folklore holds a metaphor for the UMC of today and tomorrow. DALL-E rendition The Crane Wife One of the stories from Japanese folklore is Tsuru Nyōbō (鶴女房) translated as “The Crane Wife.” As with any folklore, there are many variants and versions–now there are anime versions and a popular band the Decemberists’ version of this folktale. But here is a retelling of the first version that I saw that had little details that I think were the Holy Spirit’s way of capturing my imagination, and I hope yours too.  The story goes that one winter, a man was heading toward the lo ..read more
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State of the United Methodist Church in 2024 [3of3]
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
2M ago
The following are ~1000-word attempts to describe the current state of The UMC in a succinct manner that likely oversimplifies things with broad brush strokes. Nonetheless, they will be useful primers for newcomers to United Methodism, longtime members, or passersby looking to enter the conversation. How did we get here: Power & Polity versus People & Places (LINK) What happens now: General Conference 2024 (LINK) What future awaits us: Avoiding the Fundamentalist Future Trap (This Article!) Part III: Avoiding Narrow Futures Source: Hacking Christianity photo. Post-disaffiliation ..read more
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State of the United Methodist Church in 2024 [2of3]
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
2M ago
The following are ~1000-word attempts to describe the current state of The UMC in a succinct manner that likely oversimplifies things with broad brush strokes. Nonetheless, they will be useful primers for newcomers to United Methodism, longtime members, or passersby looking to enter the conversation. How did we get here: Power & Polity versus People & Places (LINK) What happens now: General Conference 2024 (This article!) What future awaits us: Avoiding the Fundamentalist Future Trap (Coming Soon!) Part II: General Conference 2024 Source: Resource UMC The worldwide level of The ..read more
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State of the United Methodist Church in 2024 [1of3]
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
2M ago
The following are ~1000-word attempts to describe the current state of The UMC in a succinct manner that likely oversimplifies things with broad brush strokes. Nonetheless, they will be useful primers for newcomers to United Methodism, longtime members, or passersby looking to enter the conversation. How did we get here: Power & Polity versus People & Places (This article!) What happens now: General Conference 2024 (Coming soon!) What future awaits us: Avoiding the Fundamentalist Future Trap (Coming Soon!) Part I: Power & Polity versus People & Places Methodist History R ..read more
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Preparing for 40 Days of United Methodism
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
2M ago
The clock is ticking on the most momentous General Conference since 1988. By The Numbers… It has been five years since the last General Conference that enshrined the Traditional Plan, a vindictive antigay plan that broke The United Methodist Church. It has been 36 years since the 1988 General Conference when antigay traditionalists rode the culture wars to dominance of United Methodism, and they didn’t lose that grip until they squandered their majority during the 2022-2023 disaffiliations. It has been 40 years since the launch of the Reconciling Ministries Network (then the Reconciling Congr ..read more
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See the Church where the Land meets the Sea? It calls me…again.
Hacking Christianity
by Rev. Jeremy Smith
3M ago
A new adventure for Hacking Christianity. Edmonds UMC I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try. It was recently announced that I will become the new Senior Pastor of Edmonds United Methodist Church, a waterfront community north of Seattle. The Bishop expects my appointment will begin on July 1st, 2024. I’ve served as the Senior Pastor for an incredible seven years at Seattle First UMC. Our third daughter was born here, my public voice was sharpened here, and my pastoral presence has been bettered by working with the amazing laity and staff in the congregation. I learned a lot about c ..read more
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