We need a whistleblower. We, the United Methodist Church, that’s the “we” in question. Just like the anonymous complainant who first drew attention to the possibility of a quid pro quo between the United States and Ukraine, the United Methodist Church needs someone who’s listened in on the phone calls and seen the documents. It’s no longer enough for us (clergy and laity) to observe from a distance, behind locked doors, or wait for the perennially re-elected delegates to our quadrennial popularity contests to tell us, “We did the best they could. The other forces of reactionary literalism were far too strong to overcome Jesus’ love for all people.”
Those days are over. Instead, we need someone who will leak the transcripts, documents, and phone calls. Whether these leaks come from the Council of Bishops, General Conference, or the Deep State which runs Methodism between conferences, it doesn’t matter. Someone who wears a dangly name badge, flies to countless meetings, and features in denominational publications should officially spill the beans. We’re tired — those of us in local churches are wary of these struggles, we want to get on with our lives. The denomination needs to be set free of this literalist warfare so we might have a chance of surviving as Christians. The ship called Methodism is broken, a little corrupt, and doesn’t need to perpetually gather in search of ideas worth saving because we’re afraid to taking Jesus at his word when he says to love one another.
I’m convinced there are audio recordings as well as documents that tell the story: Methodism as we know it is dead. Secondly, the Bible is a living, breathing collection of stories. A living Bible which shares Jesus’ message of love for all people might be the only thing that saves the embers a dying Methodism. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will keep some form of the Methodism we know alive.
We must be set free. I urge a whistleblower to come forward, bring the documents, and other powerful witnesses to testify. Once we are free, we will chart our course. First, let’s stop lying to ourselves. Someone, please, blow the whistle.