-by Rev. Dr. Christopher Ritter
My colleague and fellow Cardinals fan, Pastor David Joyce, shared a thought today related to my proposal for a Jurisdictional Solution to achieve amicable unity in the United Methodist Church. Because Dave thinks about baseball only slightly less than he thinks about Jesus, he used an analogy from the Major League Baseball which has two leagues that each stretch across the nation.
He noted that both the National League and the American League play the same game, only under slightly different rules. For instance, the American League allows for a designated hitter and the National League does not. In some places, teams from both leagues have franchises in the same city. Confusing? Fans have no problem figuring it out. The differences in rules are reconciled on those select occasions when Major League Baseball comes together for the All-Star Game and World Series. Two leagues successfully operate under the same commissioner.
Yes, leagues were at one time racially segregated. The fact that there was once a Negro League does not turn fans away from the concept of leagues in general. This is viewed as a regrettable part of our American story that left a stain on every cherished institution. With the Civil Rights Movement, reforms thankfully began to happen.
United Methodism needs a Major League solution. Why can’t we reinvent our system of jurisdictions to function as two leagues that play the same game under slightly different rules? We might even borrow the names from Major League Baseball: “The American Jurisdiction” and “The National Jurisdiction”. The Council of Bishops can do a coin toss to determine which name will indicate the more progressive jurisdiction and which will be the more traditionalist jurisdiction.
It is time to stop figuring out how to break the denomination apart and time to figure out how we can live together while not compromising our core principles. Learn more about The Jurisdictional Solution at www.jurisdictionalsolution.org. I would love to hear your thoughts.