Oooops! A Major Fumble in The United Methodist Church's Igniting Ministry Campaign!

A Major Fumble in The United Methodist Church's Igniting Ministry Campaign!

February 1, 2002
Belsano PA

Fumbles are usually associated with the game of football which is a very popular sport in USA culture. Even as this is written, there is grief in Pennsylvania over the fact that the Keystone state had the grand opportunity, as very few states have, of sending both its NFL teams to do battle in the 2002 Superbowl -- but alas, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles lost their bids in the AFC and NFC championship games respectively!

But I digress -- fumbles not only take place in football but also in strategies implemented by government, the military, corporations, institutions, and even church denominations.

The United Methodist Church for some months has been caught up in a multimillion dollar promotional campaign known as Igniting Ministry. The denomination has literally "pulled out all the stops" in use of TV, radio, billboard and print media in an effort to persuade people to make their way into a local UMC. And why should they do this? Because the UMC is billed as a church of "open hearts, open minds and open doors."

Rave reviews are coming in as surveys reveal favorable impressions and responses to the series of messages which have been released since the campaign got under way. One quote from the IM web site says:

"For the first time in our denomination's history, The United Methodist Church has messages in the media that are helping form favorable awareness and creating a willingness to attend our 36,000 congregations."

However, a critical and major fumble is in the works. Scheduled for release during Easter is an interesting message -- a sort of expanded take off on the popular bill board ads which had a simple short message in white letters on a black background and was signed at the bottom right corner, "God."

The TV spot put out by the UMC is titled "Dream" and will contain the following monologue:


I loved you before you were born.
I dreamed about what you'd become.
How the world would be different because of you.
I know what you're feeling, but life has purpose - your life has purpose.
And you can start over.

Love always….. God

Oooooooh! Now just how do we reconcile that one with the official UMC position addressing abortion on demand? In spite of efforts to use some pious rhetoric the UMC employs a phrase indicating that we are "reluctant" to approve abortion -- but, the fact is, we go ahead and give a green light for the destruction of an unborn child in spite of the "reluctance!" It boils down to the hard reality that any female in the eyes of the UMC can get an abortion if she wants one or is pressured by others to have one. All she has to do is say that the pregnancy will bring undue emotional, psychological, physical, financial, social, and/or family stress on her and it would be better for all concerned to terminate the pregnancy! Many counselors in the fields of pastoral ministry, medicine, psychology and sociology would give nodding approval.

Now then -- let's take a look at one individual to whom the UMC's Igniting Ministry message during Easter 2002 applies. Oooops! This little one never made it out of the womb in one piece -- the result of an action taken by a different kind of "terrorist" operation which our president, congressional people and church leaders haven't really addressed as yet! They didn't hesitate when it came to 9-11 did they?

And yet the human death toll of terrorist actions on that infamous date is less than the average toll of unborn victims on every week day throughout the entire year. That daily average is at least 3,500 or more victims and the grand total since the Supreme Court fiasco of 1973 now stands at over 40 million! Uh, you would agree would you not, that in light of the little one pictured above, that each abortion involves a terroristic act of excessive violence? After all, just look at the results! Or are you also a victim of the massive and successful propaganda campaign in this country that has attempted to convince everyone that we are just using a simple medical procedure and disposing of a small mass of tissue and blood?

The UMC's Igniting Ministry message for Easter has solid Bible foundation in statements such as found in Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139. What a tragedy that the official position of the UMC is not in agreement with God's high and holy view of unborn human life. Consequently, as the ads begin to air, those familiar with the UMC position on abortion will quickly conclude, "It's a fumble!" Others may not wake up to this reality until the game is over!

And now -- a postscript -- if you want to get into a really uncomfortable position for a bit -- try thinking as to what a difference a portion of those 40 million unborn victims would have made in the UMC and in the world had they been permitted to live, as suggested in the monologue of the IM ad. The oldest group would now be 29 years old, getting settled in their careers, raising families -- and who but a person with an IQ of 53 would deny that a number of those 40 million would have made some contribution of some kind in The United Methodist Church and added to its membership numbers! Better yet, as you lay your head on the pillow before going to sleep -- think about this and picture the little one above to whom the UMC message for Easter obviously doesn't apply. Why? Because that little one won't get a chance to start over as suggested in the ad! Sweet dreams!

Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
and presently serving as pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy PA

For related subjects see: (use reverse feature on browser to return here)

Justice Denied!
UMC Bishops and their statement on terrorism -- with appropriate photo
President Bush's "Selective War" Against Terrorism! or "Some Terrorists Will Be Spared in the Supposed 'War on Terrorism!'"
Portrayal of America's Hidden Horrors!
Response to a W. PA Conference BOOM Member! BOOM = Board of Ordained Ministry -- a member objected to such pictures as you have seen above -- uh, picture of the one who won't have a chance to start over as the UMC IM ad suggests!

Igniting Ministry - A Media Campaign of The United Methodist Church

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