Headlines in The United Methodist church today include words like “division,” “death tsunami,” and “Affinity Group X vs. Affinity Group Y.” So, where does one find hope in The United Methodist Church today?
The Marks of Hope, written by three UMC parish pastors, demonstrates that the church can be a hopeful model in a world affected by changes in understanding and expectations related to gender, technology, justice, mission, social entrepreneurship, etc. Each chapter concludes with a “communion” section jointly written by the authors to present ideas for working together as leaders, lay people and congregations to be a model of hope. The authors outline practical steps to hold each other close with mutual love and accountability.
From the Introduction written by Matt Rawle:
"So what does it mean to find hope in The United Methodist Church today? To be honest, I don’t have much of an answer to what the future global structure of The UMC needs to be. What I do know is that every day I’m charged with loving, serving, challenging, and leading the folks who have found a home in my local church and those who don’t yet know God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ…
We can say with great conviction that conflict takes advantage of the space between us. The further apart we are, the easier conflict can find room to cause havoc. Our culture has grown accustomed to smearing our neighbor with our computer keys, but it is much more difficult to slander the person sharing a cup of coffee with us. The Marks of Hope is our offering of six ways we might hold one another close with mutual love and accountability. Hope is our destination, faith is trusting in that destination, and love is how we get there."
The Marks of Hope is part of the Faultlines collection, resources intended to inform conversations around human sexuality and the church.