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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Social Holiness concerns: Majority does not necessarily rule

    October 3, 2018 / By Rev. Alan Kinney

    We as a people of the local church, the District, the Annual Conference, the United Methodist Church, and on a larger scale the United States of America have been confronted time and again with questions that deal with what is right and what is not right. These questions are nothing new to our lives, our country, or even in human existence. We can hear this question in the book of Genesis when Adam, Eve, and the serpent said it was right to eat of the fruit and God said it was not. It was a three to one vote but we know the outcome and who was cast out.

    I say this because I do not always believe the majority is correct. In history, we see where the majority said slavery was not only right but ordained by God. The majority said it was right to try and exterminate the people of the Jewish faith and the United States and the people of the Methodist Church were for the most part silent. Many of us were alive when the basic human rights of people were denied based on the color of their skin or the gender they identified with. The majority does not insure morality or right.

    As we look back on history, it is often the exceptional and the bravest of people who have resisted the majority because they felt the majority was mistaken. Within our local churches, our Districts, our Conference, and our denomination, we are confronted with questions of right and wrong and the many shades that lie between. I feel that we cannot say because most people feel this way or that way, it is the correct way God intends for us. I believe we need to come before God continually as individuals, as local churches, as Districts, and as an Annual Conference and seek the paths God calls us to. At times, there may be multiple paths, but if we listen, they would all lead to the more complete presence of God in our lives and not exclusively to one or the other.

    Morality and the search for truth goes beyond a simple majority. We need to value, to listen, and to learn from the voices of all people and not just the familiar voices, such as my own. We should not place time constraints on determining God’s will and thusly the direction God may be seeking for our journey together sharing and learning on the way. Let us become invested in the practice of hearing and sharing where we feel God is leading us.

    Let us be open to God reshaping our beliefs by hearing the voices that differ from our own. Let us live and speak in a manner that proclaims God has spoken to me and God has spoken to you and somewhere we sort out the will of God for ourselves, our local churches, our Districts, our Conference, and this world we have been born into. I feel one of God’s continual creations of beauty can be found in sunrises and sunsets. The beauty of these come from the various colors, shapes, and hues and not just my favorites.

    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."