Genesis 32 tells of a story where a man named Jacob wrestles with one often understood to be God. In the middle of the story this exchange happens:
But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’
What is interesting is that when Jacob/Israel wrestles with God, it is Jacob who prevails. We sometimes think of this as like a WWF match, where one person prevails and gets to walk away with the championship belt while the other is a looser. However, how is it possible for anyone who has wrestled with God to loose? How could anyone who has ever come face to face with the God of life ever loose?
It is the very act of wrestling with God and with man that one prevails. It is the one who does not wrestle who does not prevail.
It is this story that I would submit to the General Conference of the UMC. To think in terms of which side prevails and which side does not prevail misses the point. It is the act of wrestling that we do in these days that we all prevail. If we decide to split and fracture, we refuse to wrestle.