Greater NW Pride: #Resist Harm


#ResistHarm UMC

The Revised Common Lectionary reading from the Old Testament for the second Sunday of Advent was Isaiah 11:1-10. The Prophet Isaiah foretold of a child from the “root of Jesse,” in which “the spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.” Isaiah follows this description of the one upon whom the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, and might rests, with a description of true peace or shalom, with complete opposites of the animal world living in peace  with each other: wolf with lamp, leopard with sheep, calf and lion, with a little child leading them.
I read and preached on this passage last weekend in light of the announcement of the new United Methodist Church group, “Resist Harm.” #ResistHarm movement seeks to embody this passage from Isaiah, in which the day of righteousness is upon us. Those who are poor, those who are found to be meek, and those who are found to be wicked will experience God's righteousness, love, and accountability for wicked ways. #ResistHarm is a movement led by UMC leadership who oppose the openly discriminatory Traditional Plan that excludes LGBTQ+ people, which will come into force Jan. 1, 2020. Again, the Traditional Plan, adopted by the delegates at the 2019 specially called General Conference, mandates that clergy who are found guilty by trial of performing one same-sex wedding, regardless of circumstances, will face charges, as will “self-avowed homosexuals” who are ordained as ministers by their respective bishop. 
What #Resist Harm does is provide, via a website, tools and resources on prayer, worship, education, rallies, and direct action, clergy support and social media usage, supporting directly those experiencing harm because o the discriminatory and punitive actions in the UMC because of the Traditional Plan. #Resist Harm envisions a church in which all are affirmed: all ages, nations, races, socioeconomic classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.
Those UMC groups that support #Resist Harm include UMCNext, Reconciling Ministries Network, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Mainstream, Uniting Methodists, Western Methodist Justice Movement, UM Scholars, All Belong, and Affirmation. 
Slowly, but surely, we are moving to that day in which “the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious” (Is. 11:10). May shalom be on our tongue, in our hearts, in embodied in our actions as Church with one another.

May it be so.

Brett Webb-Mitchell
Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell is an openly gay Presbyterian pastor in the Portland area serving as the part-time LGBTQ+ advocacy coordinator for The Oregon-Idaho Conference of the UMC. He can be reached at brett@umoi.org. Become a subscriber to the Greater NW Pride blog to get Greater NW Pride in your email box!