Associates in Advocacy now has two sites on the internet. Our primary help site is at http://www.aiateam.org/. There AIA seeks to offer aid to troubled pastors, mainly those who face complaints and whose careers are on the line.

Help is also available to their advocates, their caregivers, Cabinets, and others trying to work in that context.

This site will be a blog. On it we will address issues and events that come up.

We have a point of view about ministry, personnel work, and authority. We intend to take the following very seriously:


Some of our denomination's personnel practices have real merit. Some are deeply flawed. To tell the difference, we go to these criteria to help us know the difference.

We also have a vision of what constitutes healthy leadership and authority. We believe it is in line with Scripture, up-to-date managerial practice, and law.

To our great sadness, some pastors who become part of the hierarchy of the church, particularly the Cabinet, have a vision based on their being in control as "kings of the hill," not accountable to anyone and not responsible to follow the Discipline or our faith and practice. They do not see that THE GOLDEN RULE applies to what they do.

If you are reading this, the chances are you are not that way. We hope what we say and do exemplify our own best vision and will help you fulfill yours. But we cannot just leave arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance to flourish. All of us have the responsibility to minimize those in our system.

We join you in fulfilling our individual vow of expecting to be perfect in love in this life and applying that vow to our corporate life in the United Methodist Church.

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If you have any questions or suggestions, direct them to Rev. Jerry Eckert. His e-mail address is aj_eckert@hotmail.com. His phone number is 941 743 0518. His address is 20487 Albury Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Thank you.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another result . . .

The Church tried to navigate a course down the middle through the rocky waters of the homosexuality debate.

The right defeated a statement for the Social Principles that would have said that Christians of deep conviction were on both sides of the issue. The legislative committee reported that out as their motion. But as I described earlier, the right seemed to have been supported by the presiding bishop and that motion failed.

However, the right was unable to stop some new definitions from being added to the Social Principles, one for homophobia and one for heterosexism.

The right has been claiming it is not homophobic for many years, pointing to how it has ministries to homosexuals through congregations in the Transforming Church movement. They have been far more clear about their concern over "practicing homosexuals" because that behavior is the problem, not the orientation to it.

So instead of finding another middle path which calls on all sides in the church to realize homosexuality is on a continuum with heterosexuality so that all of us are more or less both gay and straight, sometimes in the same person's lifetime, something science is now trying to call to our attention, the GC chose to add "heterosexism" to our vocabulary.

Now the left wing has a new feather to pound on the right wing with while the main body of the church is trying to fly. The problem they see with the right is that it is heterosexualist, prejudiced against homosexuals.

Next GC, someone on the right will probably succeed putting into the Social Principles some kind of term for progressives who are prejudiced against conservatives!

We must love to be in conflict!

We perpetuate it by not sitting down and looking at all the evidence and experience and reason (and tradition if anthropologists are right about how other cultures have treated homosexuality through history - not just through that of the Middle East).

The right takes Old and New Testament passages as their authority and stops there despite their own family members being homosexual!

The left stops at thinking all homosexuality is from God and no homosexual has a choice in the matter, despite years of experience showing some people choose the lifestyle in order to be part of a vocation or because it becomes an excuse to avoid something else in life that they cannot deal with.

Come on, People. Let's talk about the whole range of information that has built up so we can settle this conflict.

Pasting new labels on one another is not doing much good.

We all have to face up to the reality that we are working out of prejudice rather than humble seeking of truth and justice.

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