Leaving and Going #UMC and #WCA

In full disclosure, I was not at the initial gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association on Friday, October 7, 2016 in Chicago. This is not a commentary on the WCA's actions at all but the underlying conversation present in many of the UMC leaders: schism.

Right now there still seems to be a battle over who is leaving whom. It is a defense mechanism to all parties to say that "they" left "us" and that "we" did not leave but held fast to the "true" expression of the denomination. I get it. In Christianity, perhaps only in the USA, there is a bit of a stigma to leaving. Leaving looks like you quit and were a failure, and there are only a few things that American Christians hate more than quitting and failure. So no one desires to be the one who "leaves". 

In the battle for language, it is much more effective to communicate that you are not "leaving" but that you are "going" somewhere. When you say you are going then it looks like you have a mission and a purpose; that you have a righteous calling that you are "going" to live into. Going is much better than leaving in part because of the assumed righteousness in "going".

From what I could see on the #WCA2016 Twitter feed, there was a lot of talk about "going". Here is a sampling of the feed:

This is a small sample size of tweets, but a quick search of "leaving" on the Twitter feed returns a couple of responses that are about how excited people are leaving their home in order to attend the conference. The sentiment on Twitter gives the impression to this outsider that the desire of the WCA is that of "going" and not "leaving". 

I don't want to read too much into the tea leaves, but I raise this matter as a point of caution that there is a difference if you say you are "going" or if you are "leaving". The WCA may feel like they are "going" but it feels like the WCA has already left.