Losing Methodist parishioners is due to not practicing what they preach

Many years ago, I used to consider myself a practicing Catholic – regularly attending services and abiding by the rules and restrictions drilled into my head since I was young.

But then I became a free-thinking adult. And after watching the poor handling of the sex abuse scandal and their bias towards the homosexual community, I concluded that the Catholic faith was NOT a religion I wanted to be a part of.

My wife on the other hand is a loyal and faithful Methodist. She still attends the same church she was christened in almost 40 years ago, the same church her family has attended for generations.

Looking for a little spiritual guidance, I began going with her and was surprised how different this religion truly was. Honesty, humility and acceptance were traits that stood out to me immediately – something I found greatly lacking from the Catholic churches I was a part of.

I truly thought that perhaps, just perhaps, the Methodist faith was not all about scandal and materialism, but a spiritual community devoted to supporting and caring for one another and those less fortunate.

I was wrong.

In December 2013, United Methodist church officials defrocked a pastor from Pennsylvania for officiating his gay son’s wedding in Massachusetts, claiming it was contradictory to the denomination’s beliefs.

Then recently, it what many parishioners view as a bold and racial move, the superintendent of my wife’s United Methodist church fired their long-time pastor, who is white, in favor of a Hispanic pastor. The logic behind her decision is that the community is made up largely of a Hispanic population, and therefore a church headed by a Hispanic leader will draw in more parishioners to what has been a dwindling congregation.

I reference the statement below from the website Hispanic Culture OnlineTM –

“Hispanic Religion has been a phrase that equates to Roman Catholic faith among most Hispanics. We grew up practicing many of the typical Roman Catholic traditions and attending mass on Sundays. Religion has played a very important role among Latinos for many years, shaping us and guiding our views and way of living.”

Doesn’t sound like she did much research before making her decision now does it?

It seems the United Methodist Church is what the Catholic Church has turned into in my eyes – a business. Plans are being made not based on faith and support, but on the need to generate revenue in order to pay for the salaries of those who sit in their offices and supposedly “lead”.

Comedian George Carline once said, “Don’t give your money to the church. They should be giving their money to you.” Makes you think doesn’t it?

American Author Neal Stephenson once remarked:

“Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in most Christian churches has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual religion. Intelligent people all notice this sooner or later, and they conclude that the entire one hundred percent is bullshit, which is why atheism is connected with being intelligent in people’s minds.”

I’m not sure if the Christian faith understands the subliminal messages they are sending out to society, but Stephenson’s quote truly sums it up. If you want to know why congregations are decreasing and people seem to have lost their faith, look no further than the actions of church leaders all across the nation. They may preach the word of God, but they’ve certainly forgotten how to practice it.