Eli Stone is a show I will miss. I've had some great spiritual discussions with folks that I may not have had access to if not for Eli Stone.
The episode titled "Two Ministers" just aired and as usual a great episode. In the episode a transgendered pastor had been fired after recovering from the surgeries. The show stated in one bit of dialogue that the pastor was in the United Methodist Church. The UMC church has struggled with this issue. Pastors have had to take action to be allowed to remain. I believe it is healthy to examine ourselves our beliefs and our biases to which they give rise.
A few items stop this episode from being reality for 12 million United Methodists in the US (and the apparently three or four of us that watch Eli Stone).
TV: The pastor served at St. Ann's UMC
reality: Our saint names are as predictable as John, Paul, George and Ringo; Mathew, Mark, Luke and John)
TV: St. Ann's fired the pastor.
Reality: As United Methodists our pastors are subject to an itinerancy system (appointed by the Bishop of the conference). As such, the local church does not call or hire pastors. Which means we do not get to fire pastors as a local body.
TV: The pastor always worn a clerical collar.
Reality: Some UMC pastors choose to wear clerical collars. It is not the norm. An exception would be chaplaincy situations.
TV: The pastor sued the local church for the right to remain.
Reality: The pastor would have appeared before the Judaical Council of the UMC (after many other steps). If after this there were a civil case the defendants table would have been packed with individuals from the church, district and conference.
This is minutia to most. However, it is important to note the United Methodist Church is not a mish-mash of Catholic and Baptist polity.
All of this to say, anyone wanting to hire on a consultant for future media projects give me a call. You can make 4 or 5 of us very happy!