Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Women and People of Color in Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Women and People of Color in Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition

May 22, 2020 By dwayman

As a Free Methodist Elder, the Rev. Dr. Trisha Welstad is on the Portland Seminary leadership development team at George Fox University.  In her February, 2020 dissertation Welstad provides an excellent study not only of our own Free Methodist denomination, but of our sister denominations within the Wesleyan Tradition, including the Salvation Army, Church of God Anderson, Church of the Nazarene, and the Wesleyan Church among others.

Titling her work Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Women and People of Color in Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition, Welstad explores the truth that our present churches are struggling to live out the true values of John Wesley and of B.T. Roberts.  Noting that our Five Freedoms are a “…modern representation that encompasses much of the belief of the founder, B.T. Roberts…”, Welstad explores both the current situation and recommended actions.

She says, in part:

“The majority of Wesleyan denominations began with theological belief rooted in social action, particularly as it pertained to abolition and women’s equality. Though their beginnings were radical, today the same groups are primarily homogeneous, representing a largely white congregational and leadership demographic, predominantly led by white males. With a historical theology of diversity and inclusion, this research seeks to understand why women and people of color are excluded from leadership roles in the Wesleyan Tradition and how it may affect the future of these denominations…(ix)”

Speaking of the 2019 General Conference of the FMCUSA,

EVALUATION OF NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION BIBLE ON GENDER

EVALUATION OF NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION BIBLE ON GENDER

May 15, 2020 By dwayman

In her ongoing study of the gender appropriate translations of the Bible, Dr. Laura Hunt provides this study of the New English Translation (NET) of the Bible.  Completed in 2019 the authors claim: “With the first edition completed in 2001, ongoing revisions based on scholarly and user feedback in 2003 and 2005, and a major update reaching its final stages in 2019, the NET’s unique translation process has yielded a beautiful, faithful English Bible for the worldwide church today.”

Specifically focusing on this version being a true translation without gender bias, Dr. Hunt gives this analysis.  She says, in part:

“The first thing to look at is the list of translators. I found it here, at the very end: https://bible.org/netbible/index.htm?pre.htm Note that these are exclusively men, and that Dallas Theological Seminary is heavily represented…

Next, I want to look at a series of verses that are helpful to get a sense of the translators’ gender biases. There are many options, but these are mine:

Gen 3:16: There are two issues here. The beginning of the verse says, in Hebrew, “I will greatly increase your pain and your conception/pregnancy.” Most translators combine this idea with the next line and assume that the pain referred to is specifically pain in childbirth. That is quite possible, and a hendiadys is something that Hebrew does do quite often. However, in the footnote, the translators justify their choice by saying “there is no pain in conception.” That comment could only come from an exclusively male perspective.

DOING JUSTICE IN AN UNJUST WORLD

DOING JUSTICE IN AN UNJUST WORLD

May 11, 2020 By dwayman

Superintendent Charles Latchison of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California (FMCSC) writes this as both a personal and pastoral response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery as he was jogging near his home.

Supt. Latchison writes:

“In the midst of this quarantine, with all of the new challenges and new realities around us, it almost seems unthinkable that the world ‘out there’ continues. In that world, we continue to see the reality that injustice continues not just afar but in our nation, states, counties, and cities.

On February 23, 2020, a young Black Man named Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by three men (Gregory and Travis McMichael, the men who shot him, and William Bryan who perversely filmed the incident) who believed they had the right to deprive him of his life and right to due process simply because they believed he was involved in robberies in their neighborhood. This is frustrating and heartbreaking.

We know during this pandemic that people have lost jobs, lost loved ones to this virus, and are afraid of our new realities. We also know that even during this time racism is not only alive but thriving. Ahmaud is not the only Black Man murdered in our country in the past couple of weeks and racist actions towards the Asian / Asian American communities have increased rapidly as well. Our personal worlds might feel like they have come to a halt during this shelter-in-place but fear and anger have continued to move forward.

CAPITALISM AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CAPITALISM AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

May 11, 2020 By dwayman

The people of God have long had a struggle with the acquisition of wealth.  From the statement of Jesus  that no one can serve two masters (Luke 6:13) to the concerns of BT Roberts when he said “Never was a saint a millionaire. Never was a millionaire a saint. Men who get rich aim at getting rich. They live for that. To this one purpose their thoughts and their energies are directed”(The Earnest Christian, Vol. XXVIII, Pgs. 37-38, August 1874), our biblical and Wesleyan tradition points us toward a wise path. To continue that journey, two Free Methodist scholars present their guidance in a recent article. asking the question “Should Christians endorse or reject capitalism.”

Drs. Kent Dunnington (Biola University) and Ben Wayman (Greenville University) give a thorough exploration of the question in their May 11, 2020 article in ABC Religion and Ethics.  Explaining that there are four definitions of Capitalism, with each having their specific Christian critique, they conclude their study by making four specific recommendations to us within our economic lives.

Witnessing (to) a different economy

“We propose the following four economic postures to mitigate against the sinister power of contemporary neoliberal capitalism, a capitalism whose animating features are captured in the descriptions of (C2), (C3) and (C4) above. Our idea is that these postures adhere to the teachings of Jesus, participate in God’s shalom,

PORNOGRAPHY USE INCREASES LONELINESS

PORNOGRAPHY USE INCREASES LONELINESS

May 3, 2020 By dwayman

One of the pervasive dangers of the modern technological age is the ever-present device that can access pornography.  Though the science is clear that pornography use is addictively destructive, society as a whole and some entertainment outlets in particular ignore this.  In this study Dr. Mark H. Butler, et.al, presents clear evidence that the use of pornography is related to loneliness as loneliness is related to the use of pornography.  Two factors were found to mitigate against the use of pornography: marriage and religious attendance.

These researchers write in part:

“Technological advances of the last half-century have made media a dominant cultural and developmental presence. Media provides powerful behavioral and relational scripts. Sexual media is pervasive, diverse, and highly accessible, bringing sexual content into the cultural forefront of society….”

“Social scientists are in the vanguard in identifying theoretically and empirically the dynamic influences of sexual media scripts on the formation and functioning of human pair-bond relationships. Social scientists also are on the cutting edge of contemporary examination of whether behavioral habituation and compulsivity surrounding pornography viewing and sexual pursuits may fit the addiction template and represent a serious relational and hence public health concern….”

“Loneliness arises from deficiency in key, meaningful relationships, more particularly attachment relationships. Deficiency may be in terms of quality or quantity, or both (Peplau & Perlman, 1982). Joining Weiss (1973) and Mikulincer and Shaver (2007),