The UMC's Creech Caper!

Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Canto vi. Stanza 17.

"I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings."
-- Jeremiah 23:21,22 (NKJV)



Music Title: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do!

The People Called Methodist

"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out." - John Wesley

[Works of J. Wesley, Vol. 13, Letters & Writings, P. 320]

The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
--- Isaiah 24:5 (NKJV)

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

--- Psalm 119:126-128 (NKJV)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

--- 2 Timothy 4:3,4 (NKJV)

Creech Caper Index

Special Announcement: Jimmy Creech was convicted on 99/11/17 and as a result lost his ministerial credentials! Being "disconnected" from UMC ministerial connection, he is now known as Mr. Jimmy Creech, but he continues to be a very busy fellow! For more details on the "disconnecing" deal go to:

Creech found guilty
and
When Lifestyles & Church Styles Don't Mix!
There is a poll in which you can participate in the Lifestyles article.

As mentioned elsewhere, this was a win-win situation for Jimmy -- no way he could lose -- now comes favorable publicity for the "martyred" one -- probably a book written (according to Mr. Creech) -- speaking engagements galore -- and lots of money to be pocketed in the process! And best of all, the same gender coupling crowd will have cannon style ammunition as they press for acceptance of its lifestyle. There were protests at GC2000 in Cleveland with Mr. Creech in the thick of it, and he was among those arrested! In one sense, this was just a dress rehearsal for GC2004 to be held at Pittsburgh PA! And Mr. Creech is now deeply involved in Soulforce! And this outfit has given a lot of space to Mr. Creech's trials and tribulations over the months since he did the 2 female thing in Omaha! See it at Jimmy Creech Archives.

What follows below is a sort of history of some of Mr. Creech's antics

It was a new "milestone" in the annals of United Methodism's history -- nothing ever like it before -- a pastor did a "blessing" ceremony of union for 2 females -- all kinds of things broke loose! Here is a kind of chronology of what can only appropriately be described as the Creech Caper!


As usual, Circuit Rider is giving me the job of introducing you to a happening that qualifies for something akin to a church version of "Guiness World Book of Records"!! Of course he would remind you that I have played a part in this myself! If you haven't checked out Door 6 in Circuit Rider's Closet or that "special place" that CR picked out for me, you could be a little confused as to why mention is made of my "involvement" in the Creech Caper!!
So here it is -- an event that has shaken the UMC in a way that it has possibly never been shaken before! It had its beginning back in the early months of 1998 -- below is a bit of chronology as the Creech Caper unfolded, and the end is not yet!

Creech and Pandora's Box!!

Jimmy Creech and supporters of same gender coupling were quick to proclaim a "victory"(???)in the early months of 1998 after his acquittal by a mere 1 vote (yes, that's right, 1 and only 1 vote) in the matter of a blessing ceremony involving 2 females, and which was more than milked dry by the mass media, a group that has its own same gender coupling agenda!

Let's take this down the road a ways -- supposing the same gender couplers succeed in having the "objectionable" statements (that is, the ones to which that crowd objects) of the Discipline of the UMC removed -- where do we go from there? Does this mean that the next stage will be that we accept pastors who opt for a free swinging sexual lifestyle along with spouses -- or a single pastor who enjoys "fun and games of a sexual nature" as some singles and couples advertise in their profiles on the internet??? If you don't believe this is going on, write me an email and I'll tell you how to do a search and you'll find out -- and you'll need a bucket beside you to vomit in -- and I'm not talking about the "adult" stuff that's peddled on the internet that makes a cesspool smell like a rose by comparison either! And who can object -- we can't point to the Bible as having any authority in this matter, because that's been "ruled" as not applicable in matters of same gender coupling, therefore it must apply to all matters having to do with sexual expression and experience! Besides, if a person is "committed" (whatever that's supposed to mean anymore) to the swinging lifestyle in sexual pleasures and enjoyment, who then is to say that person could not make a good pastor? Ah, we have a real proverbial "can of worms" going here folks, and the last chapter has yet to be written -- is this a new wrinkle to the old Pandora's Box episode?????

A Post Script

The "fallout" quickly began, folks, with the April 10, 1998 issue of The United Methodist Reporter in an editorial lamenting the fact that the division was now worse than ever -- a kind of set back for the U.M. Diversity Dialogues -- a major split in First UMC in Omaha, Nebraska with at least 150 members leaving at that point in time and a loss of tens of thousands of dollars in what is described as "revenue" and of course a lot of other happenings that add to the blackening of United Methodism's "eye" in this latest debacle, including the fact that over 120 pastors have gone on record that they will perform same sex "blessing" or "covenant" (or whatever label you want to use) ceremonies if asked to do so!

Since the initial "explosion" of the Creech verdict, the number of pastors stating that they will do the same gender "blessing" or whatever rituals is now more than 120! And Thomas Kimball, DS of the Golden Gate Dist. of the Calif.- Nev. Conf. told Creech at a rally, "..if Nebraska kicks you out, we'll find a place for you." One hardly needs to be a prophet to predict that possibility! And Bishop Susan Morrison and her DS's of Troy Conf. released a statement supporting Creech's decision "to respond to the pastoral needs of members of his congregation by performing a service of holy union." Ah, no doubt that conflict will continue -- there are some UM's who have strong convictions that the use of the word "holy" in that context borders on blasphemy!

The real issue is still not being faced -- what is the "root" problem here? In previous literary skirmishing about this, including correspondance with the United Methodist Reporter and Good News Magazine. The following paragraph was a part of that correspondance. The illustration, though crude, spells out the nature of our problem!

"Harmonious co-existence in the same United Methodist house makes as much sense as the American Medical Association adopting a new "co-existent" policy in dealing with cancer. The new policy would be not to remove the cancer cells nor attack them because they have a right to co-exist in the body along with the normal and healthy cells! Can the body of United Methodism expect any different outcome than we would expect for a human body if the A.M.A. adopted such an insane policy as mentioned?"

What if you were diagnosed with cancer and the reply of your doctor to your question as to what was going to be done was, "Nothing, the AMA now has a new policy for dealing with cancer!" And then he would describe it as given above -- would you accept that?????????

And now another "P.S." on this ongoing mess -- it then was reported that Jimmy Creech would not be reappointed to First UMC in Omaha where he won his so-called "victory" some time earlier! But as I heard a fellow say one time -- "It's pretty hard to put an egg back together as it was originally after you have scrambled it!!" You can read the details in the United Methodist News Service release back earlier in May. Also you can read the details of the Council of Bishops' "dance" and "fence straddling" efforts when they had their gathering -- details given in UMNS! You can dig into the archives -- some of those past events and quotes make very interesting reading -- just click on United Methodist News Service and you can go there, select the archives, (an electronic way of strolling through a cemetery!), select years you want to look at, and then narrow it down by scrolling through the headlines and click on those you want to read -- highlight, scroll, copy and paste if you want to keep the information. One of those interesting quotes of the past involves Bishop Melvin Talbert stating that ministers performing "holy unions" does not violate church law!! Whoa -- what's this -- and he is part of the Council of Bishops????????? Be sure to check in with the The Judicial Council on its decisions regarding such matters as those discussed here!

And now a "P.P.S." --- Did Jimmy Creech get a raw deal? After the trial his bishop had nothing but praise for him and announced he would be back in his pulpit etc etc -- ooops -- then the bishop later on said he wouldn't be reappointed, and as typical of bishops, dressed it all up in a lot of pious sounding terminology -- kind of looks like a pat on the back one time and a knife slipped in the next -- another demonstration in something called "consistency"!!! You've got to watch those bishops, folks -- never know what they're going to do or say next!! Ah, the saga continues -- just watch out when someone pats you on the back and gives you some praise -- especially a "church official" :-)) Of course, as mentioned above, you have the Tom Kimball's who will come to the "rescue" every time!

As Jimmy Creech goes riding off into the sunset (on a leave of absence according to a post annual conference report) he leaves quite a legacy --

First UMC of Omaha has now lost about 450 members who want to form their own church. In a UMNS release in mid October it was reported that a new congregation will be chartered and a pastor has been appointed to serve that congregation. Reported membership is less than the 450 first reported.
United Methodists in other places are leaving the denomination, a number of whom have simply "had it" and will no longer support a denomination that can't even be consistent in enforcing its Discipline much less taking the Scriptures seriously. This includes about 200 members of Kingsburg UMC in Calif.
Jimmy has paved the way for a new version of the shootout at the O.K. Corral which will take place in the year 2000, when the UMC General Conference will meet!!
But Jimmy just hasn't vanished into an unknown somewhere -- he made an appearance before the August session of the Judicial Council appealing the fact that the Social Principles of the UM Discipline are merely guidelines not law, especially the statement that declares that ministers shall be prohibited from performing gay marriages! According to Jimmy the statement is "...not intended to be a straightjacket that forces unanimity and conformity." How about that? Well then, what is the statement's purpose -- according to Jimmy's view, all it does is use up some ink and take up some space in a book that is somewhat like the Bible in one respect -- increased numbers of people, laity and pastors, really don't pay much attention to it anymore!!!
In brief IM conversation with my DS as the news of the JC's decision was released I said, "Jimmy Creech will not roll over and die!" Jimmy will be the "point man" to rally the troops -- he will be in the forefront in helping to plot strategy and prepare the way for that "OK Corral" showdown in year 2000! And now the recent number of pastors who indicate they will perform "same gender" union ceremonies if asked to do so is reported to be as high as 365! This is confirmed in "In All Things Charity" statements.
That all this has widened the division in the UMC is no secret -- go to Cornet: Covenant Relationships Network Main Page which is devoted to the cause of same gender coupling -- and notice how Jimmy Creech continues to have a rather high profile in this -- as noted earlier, he is one of the "point men" ah, make that "point persons" (got to be politically correct in the UMC, you know!) in this skirmishing thing as we move toward Y2K! And take a look at Signers of Statement of Commitment -- the listing of pastors by conferences who are committed to doing same gender ceremonies when asked to do so! And you can go to In All Things Charity and see a statement which clergy and laity have signed which roughly translated says, "We don't care what the Discipline says!" When you get to that page, you will have to click on certain links to get more information. This last site has been set up by Broadway UMC in Chicago -- is the name significant in this matter? Greg Dell is the "pastor" until July 5, 1999, having been tried and found guilty back in March -- "suspension" does not begin until July 5 -- whew, we really are quick to enforce that Judicial Council ruling aren't we?

And as might be expected, the name of Jimmy Creech just keeps popping up in all this -- don't forget he is a point man -- ooops, I keep forgetting to be "politically correct" -- that is an absolute must in the UMC -- so make that "point person" in Jimmy's case!

Hey! Hey! He did it again! yes, Jimmy did another one -- willfully and brazenly in defiance of the Discipline and Judicial Council ruling concerning pastors doing same gender ceremonies -- this one at Chapel Hill, NC -- read the advance news release on it at UMNS Release #222 -- but on other hand, sort of puts some of us to shame doesn't it -- this guy is willing to stand up for what he believes publicly, while we gripe and growl in our little groups privately, but won't go public and yell out about the unholy invasion of the church by persons for whom God's revelation means nothing! Bombard the bishops and the media groups -- scream and protest in spite of the negative labels they hurl back at you!

Finally! A complaint has been filed against Jimmy -- details in UMNS Release #291. Ummm -- wonder why it took a month, and then his bishop is not involved in filing the complaint? He'll just start the "process!" Jimmy did show up at his annual conference, but did not take the "Most Popular Pastor of the Year" Award!

Ah, at last, it has been announced that Jimmy will go on trial again! He has issued his own press release which you can read at Press Release by J. Creech in which he stated,among other things, that

"The trial will be an act of violence against lesbian, bisexual and gay persons, and a betrayal of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and all who participate in it will be complicit."

You can check out United Methodist News Service #490 in the archives at Daily News -- ah, the saga of the UMC's Creech Caper continues!

Jimmy's trial took place on November 17 & 18, 1999 at Trinity UMC in Grand Island, Nebraska with retired Bishop William B. Grove presiding. Mark it down -- this was just a few days after the big SOROL IV event in Foundry UMC in Washington DC -- guess who was the BIG man of the hour at SOROL IV -- our "hero" -- the one who has certainly exploited the news media, secular and religious, in his ongoing same gender coupling crusade -- the one who has gone where no other UMC preacher has ever gone before -- with a second trial under his belt and as you now know -- he has become Mr. Jimmy Creech!!!!

As noted, Jimmy didn't ride off into the sunset and disappear -- he is presently deeply involved with Mel White and the Soulforce gang -- for information on what this bunch is up to, slip over to Unholy War Declared!

Ah, for sure - a little monster or two have gotten out of the UMC's version of Pandora's Box on this one, folks, as we have been observing for some time now!


For an overview of the same gender coupling "crusade" going on within the UMC take a look at The UMC's Version of the Energizer Bunny!

Check out the Prayer Boot Camp on suggestions for praying about this problem that is tearing the UMC apart! It will involve a bit of "negative praying" at points!!!

Meanwhile, Same Gender Sex Lifestyles Can Be Transformed!

The same gender coupling crowd likes to cry "Foul!" when it is reported that Jesus Christ has touched and transformed some of their own -- it's like, "Jesus, don't go meddling in our lives!" And then the media culture (both religious and secular) is reluctant to publish the facts on these happenings - doesn't look good for those pushing the same gender coupling lifestyle on our culture! For a couple of miracles in this area of life visit Ann Paulk and Jon Paulk! Also, check out Family Research Council June 2 Release! Now for those of you who don't like this, take your complaint to the One Who changed these people, and see if He agrees with your objections to what He has done in bringing peace, purpose, and hope into their lives! But before you do that, maybe you best review what He went through to make those miracles possible - look at Amazing Grace - All for Us!!


An Observation


There are 3 major players in this drama being played out on the stage of the United Methodist Church as the world looks on -- oh yes, there will be some of the leadership dancing around behind the scenes as well!

First, you have the "same gender coupling" crowd which is headed up by Mr. Jimmy Creech, Greg Dell, Don Fado, that Wogaman fellow et. al. with a clearly defined agenda which is being aggressively pursued. Obviously one objective is to have those troublesome and meddlesome statements in the Discipline of the UMC to which this group objects irradicated!

Second, you have the "Lines in the Sand" people. These are the ones rallying around the "No Lines in the Sand Manifesto" initiated by Sweet & Co. While admitting differences exist, this group, which usually includes editorial people of UMC publications, appeal for all to be civil and get along with each other -- don't "fight" and "shout" at each other -- let's just celebrate our "diversity" and be one big happy family, showing the world how we can really work together, get along, and bring in the Kingdom! And you can see how the "seeds" of this thing has taken root by going to Lesson in Compromise!
By the way, did you ever hear of people celebrating the diversity that takes place in making a team out of an ox and a jackass? Ooops -- now why did I go and say a thing like that?

Third, you have that group that is usually labeled with such terms as "Bible thumpers", "mean spirited", "fundamentalists", "bad news" people, the "rabble rousers" who cause division and disunity within the UMC. Whatever or whoever is causing bitter dissension within the UMC today, the fingers usually point to these people -- that is, if you listen to media reports, whether church or secular. Once in a while the word "conservative" may be applied, but that's a little too positive -- one of those terms already mentioned is much preferred -- because these people are the really bad guys -- if we just get rid of them, then the church will move ahead -- OR WILL IT?

A while back I received a communication from a disturbed pastor who clearly suggested what I just mentioned, saying among other things, "If you don't like the trends in the United Methodist Church then leave, and pray for your own EGOTISTICAL soul!" He is right about one thing -- I plead guilty -- and about the "egotistical soul" bit, well, Someone with a bit more authority than he will determine the reality of that matter! True, I don't like some of the present trends, but I'm not alone on that one! Ah, I believe there was a fellow named Noah that didn't like the trends of his generation and spoke about that for 120 years -- you do remember how that one turned out, do you not? And there was a fellow named Lot who lived in a city called Sodom who didn't like the trends going on in that city (Peter refers to that in his writings, you know) and things eventually didn't fare too well for that city -- in fact, as I recall, it doesn't exist anymore and there are comments about God's dealing with it and another named Gomorrah!

However, there is also a group (the dancers behind the scenes) that is scrambling all over the place, making "pronouncements" from time to time as this drama continues to play itself out -- once in a while, some members of this group may identify with one of those first 2 groups, but never with the third! You see, it is a kind of unwritten law that a bishop in the UMC must be TOLERANT of other view points -- the fact that some bishops issued a statement at a General Conference a few years back concerning that "meddlesome" statement in the Discipline proves that they can and will throw in with the first group that Jimmy C. is actively involved with! And as the Creech saga has been moving along, a number of Bishops have gone on record as to their "endorsement" of same gender coupling -- look at UMC Episcopal Endorsement of Same Gender Coupling!


Oh, before you leave, I would like for you to slowly ponder the following statements -- uh, these were originally produced by that One Whom CR says is the "greatest Theologian" ever to produce written works on Planet Earth -- perhaps it will help someone at least to see why we are in the pathetic state of moral, ethical and spiritual confusion as a society in which we find ourselves wallowing at the present time!

2 Peter 2:1-7: But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Proverbs 14:12: There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

1 John 1:7: But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 Peter 1:13-19: Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Matthew 7:21-23: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

(All Scriptures quoted from NKJV)

What Creech started in the early part of 1998 has created an avalanche resulting in the same gender coupling crowd with its clearly defined agenda rolling like a juggernaut! They are intensely resolved to see the UMC Book of Discipline statements on homosexuality changed so that same sex coupling and "union ceremonies" that are performed will have the approved "blessing" of the United Methodist Church! This in turn will greatly help to give public sanction to that particular lifestyle. And this will be another "milestone" on the quest for the status of "legal" marriage in eyes of state and church! There were unprecedented disruptions, arrests, and protesting of all kinds at General Conference 2000 and getting up a full head of steam to really go for the "brass ring" at GC2004 in Pittsburgh PA -- it will be an updated version of the OK Corral shootout, with an interesting religious twist to it!

And here is what it comes down to -- will the UMC change its Book of Discipline and essentially say yes to

THIS?

or hold the line and say THIS?

OK, OK! I guess I deserve to be in the middle of this shootout since I sowed some "seed" decades ago, and now it's "harvest time!" If you don't know what I am referring to, then you need to check out the Special Place Circuit Rider set up for me -- that's not the real name, however. You will have to wait until you get there to see what it is called :-))

Order "no-no" same gender coupling union badges!

And just what might future headlines in the United Methodist Church read if General Conference 2004 in Pittsburgh fouls up in "speaking for the church?" Go to United Methodist News from the Future!

What a caper! Take me back to its beginning now!

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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Clayton D. Harriger