Monday, July 23, 2018

Recommended Reading: Commission on a Way Forward Theological and Missional Frameworks

The inadvertent release last week of the report and associated proposed legislation for General Conference 2019 from the Commission on a Way Forward has gotten a lot of attention. Most of this attention has been focused on the details of the three legislative proposals - the One Church, Connectional Conference, and Traditional Plans.

Yet also included in the Commission's report are two short documents worth reading on their own right: the Theological Framework and the Missional Framework developed by the Commission. These two pieces can be found on p. 7-10 of the Commission's report, which is p. 138-141 of the released PDF.

Gil Rendle, the consultant who facilitated the Commission's work, referred to these two pieces as "the two most important parts of the work [the Commission has] done," just not "the pressing issue." (You can see his remarks starting at 2:50 of this video of his overview of the Commission's work.) While none of the various legislative plans were endorsed by the Commission as a whole, these two theological pieces were affirmed by the entire Commission, further indicating their significance.

I have a personal interest in the reception of these pieces, as I had the honor of assisting the Commission in developing the Missional Framework. (Members of the Committee on Faith and Order consulted on the Theological Framework.) Yet beyond my personal involvement, I hope these two pieces can spark conversations about The United Methodist Church's theology and mission that go beyond the work of the Commission and the issue it was formed to address.

We in the UMC have a habit of taking all conversations and turning them into conversations about sex. It is my prayer that we will be able to do the reverse as well - take a conversation about sex and turn it into a conversation about something else - theology and mission.

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