By David Reinholz
May 19, 2016 | Portland, Oregon

Dear God, I’m an old, white, heterosexual man. I have as much privilege as any segment of our population in the United States can get. I’ve had that privilege since the first Europeans arrived on the shores of North America. For now, I still have clout internationally in this Western, Euro-centric world. I have the money, I control American politics, and I control The United Methodist Church.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

Creator God, old white men have allowed your creation to be destroyed and resources pillaged. Our reliance on fossil fuels contributes to global warming and climate change and jeopardizes the lives of some of the most vulnerable people around the world. We have broken treaties and colonized entire civilizations simply so we can claim their abundant resources for ourselves.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

Lord Jesus, old white men in this country have destroyed Native American peoples, while old white European men have colonized Africa, India, and South America. Old white men enslaved Africans and destroyed entire tribes and communities in your name. We have considered those whose skin is darker than ours as unworthy, not of value, or subhuman.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

God our Mother, old, white, heterosexual men have raped and abused your beautiful daughters and seen women as sex objects, as things to be possessed. We see homosexuality as a threat to our manhood because lesbians renounce us and gay men are seen as traitors to male power. We are afraid of people who have different sexual orientations than what we consider “normal”.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

Gracious God, old white men control your United Methodist Church. We are afraid of anything that loosens our grip on power, and think we know best. We see inclusion as diluting our power and are desperately afraid of losing power or being proven wrong by allowing more voices to be heard. So, we old white men dominate conversations, using our cultural privilege to bully, persuade, dominate. There are a lot of us here at General Conference, and we are sucking the air out of the room.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

Lord Jesus, old, white, heterosexual men are not the only problem in The United Methodist Church, but theirs are the voices most often heard at General Conference, this despite the absence of men in the work of our local churches. Certainly, there are other voices that echo the same arguments made by many old, white, heterosexual men. But, the voices of women and people of color are seldom allowed to be heard because they are not the voices of old, white, heterosexual men.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

Creator God, we old white men of the United States have proven incapable of leading your United Methodist church. We have not listened to your voice, nor the voices of your children around the world. Help us to use our power and influence to become bridges, not barriers. Help us to use our privilege to add a chair at the table for each one of your beloved children. And, may we, the old, white, heterosexual men of The United Methodist Church, have the courage to step aside and trust a new generation of young, diverse, spiritually grounded sisters and brothers to lead our church.
Lord, have mercy on old white men.

David Reinholz is the PNW Conference Associate Lay Leader and serves as the reserve lay delegate to General Conference. He is a retired USAF officer and former high school teacher. David’s passions include music and mentoring youth and young adults.

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  1. Dear David,
    From one old, white,heterosexual man to another: THANK you for such a wonderful, honest, insightful and humble prayer. I am deeply moved and appreciative. I am very pleased to share this reality with you in searching ways to be deeply mindful of the white male privilege with which I have grown up and live within. I join you in seeking to speak truth to a culture in deep need of this kind of confession.
    Jim Davis

  2. Dear God, I thank you for the “old, white, heterosexual men” who are not afraid to stand by the Word of God in this day of compromise. Please help the UMC to stand up for her beliefs and the guidance of John Wesley.

  3. And thank you, Lord, for changing your earlier rules that required me to look inside myself for the source of unhappiness and injustice in the world, and instead allowing me to see old white guys as the sole source of evil. Amen.

  4. I am an old white man.

    I think the United Methodist Church is nothing if not diverse. Truly global. That is a great gift!

    I believe that it is in fact the old white men of our denomination advocating that our Book of Discipline stray from Christ’s teaching.

    It seems to be the people of color here and abroad that are trying to keep us as a denomination true to God’s Word. Thank God for those all over the world trusting Scripture as the Berean Jews in Acts 17:11.

  5. Sister Jean posted this for me to read, really good David, and the truth about a lot of the world today, Old White Men are becoming extinct and replaced with the new moderns as is should as our world as we know it is changing for the good we all hope, we all must accept change and embrace it. Judy

  6. After reading your unconditionlove-in-heart comments, I am deeply moved by their intent and desire to stay true to the motto of UMC. Would that more “Old White Men” could…….Be blessed as you serve Him and His beloved gay children.

  7. Are you seriously discriminating against a group of people on the basis of how they were born? Shame, Shame

    • He is not discriminating against anyone……he is trying to tell you your rein of power is over and it should be. You had your chance and now it is time to hear a NEW VOICE

  8. I grew up Presbyterian with some Hebrew as some of my family was . Yes, my family represented the “Old White Men ” you speak of and I could never understand the prejudice of not having Black folks in the church. I dropped out when I heard that Presbyterians THEN wouldn’t allow gay folks. No, I’m not gay . I am an older White , asexual trans woman and Mom. . I’m so happy that at least the Presbyterian USA churches at least allow me in the door . In my years , I have grown to know God created all , even the closed minded .

  9. So many are jumping on this white guilt bandwagon. I make no apologies for my race or sex as I’m a God-created individual and not a scapegoat of the world’s ills due to my chromosome count or pigmentation. This is so sad and emasculating.

  10. Again, we’re bombarded with one side of the story. Thank God, David, that you have the first amendment right, provided by old white males, to broadcast this nonsense. Remember where most of the stuff you think is necessary to your well being came from – electricity, communication, transportation, medicine, food, the list is endless. For the most part, old white males developed and provided it all. And God help the kids you mentor. They will really need “safe space.’

  11. This is the reason I am a United Methodist. Ask Catholic what is the truth, s/he will tell you to ask the Pope. Ask a Baptist what is the truth, s/he will tell you its in the Bible. Ask a UM minister what is the truth and s/he will tell you, “we haven’t quite figured that out yet, we are just trying to find a way to get along in the meantime.” 😉 From an Old White Woman/Crazy Radical Social Worker (aka the New White Rose) Blessings…

  12. You people don’t know what truth is????? Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life….” I have been reading many posts and comments this week as I attend a Methodist church. I am a white 51 year old female. It’s been very eye opening. It seems to me, from most of the comments I have read including this post and comments, that most American Methodists are not in love with God, Jesus, or the Bible, or the teachings of John Wesley, but instead are in love with themselves, their Denomination, and the new religion they are creating based on some parts of the Bible. It breaks my heart.

  13. It’s nice to see someone in the religious community recognize the horrible things that have been done by white men, much in the name of religion, and accept the fact that these things have had horrendous impact on the world and people around us. That this had to be said tells a lot about why so many rational people have decided that religion, and in particular Christianity, is no longer relevant to today’s world. Better by far to live life motivated by empathy and compassion than driven by outmoded, contradictory, and often horrible theology developed by men.

  14. Bless you for your sweet humility, your ability to lift us to a place of better understanding, your generous spirit, and your love of our neighbors everywhere…

  15. Finding my voice (after half an hour of my OWN reflection after reading this ‘Reflection’)…

    I found this “Prayer for Old White Men” repulsive – and not just because I’m married to a 70-year-old white man… who attends church every Sunday with me; has worked with our HandyMEN’s group that offers free help to shut-ins and the elderly (HA – some of them were younger than HIM!) with tasks they can no longer do; is currently driving someone 35 miles – one way- several times a week to receive radiation treatments (i could go on, but I think I’ve made my point); has even helped the same person – who has lost the ability to move one side or stand without assistance – with things like showering and taking him to the bathroom… (and no, my husband is NOT a home health aide. He is a Christian

    This ‘reflection’ was not only repugnant, it was in error. The denomination’s leadership might once have been led by ‘old white men’, but that is certainly no longer the case.

    Finally – Imagine if someone wrote something like this titled “Young Black Men” – or “LGBT Folks” or… well, take your pick. The prayer singles out an entire group of people and stereotypes them in as bad a way as if we blamed all blacks or all homosexuals for the problems we face. Isn’t this type of thing something we fight against, not celebrate? In my view, this “Reflection” was simply unfair and inappropriate. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and I cannot believe how many people are writing in support of it.

    If I had been at the PNWAC I would have walked out of the room if I’d been asked to take part in this ‘prayer.’

  16. I am not a Methodist, but I strive to be a follower of Jesus. I think the prayer was beautiful and truthful. Of course, old white males help to do things, work hard around the church, this prayer doesn’t deny that. It isn’t the help that people “old white men ” give, it is the attitude, the power they dare anyone to take away from them, the idea that they know best, the very phrase “white man power” does seem to upset more women on this post than men. Why? Look at our Congress, look at who runs the companies, although some women have finally broken through to the top, look at who screams the loudest about women who are pro-choice. Look at what old white men with few exceptions are preparing to do to our country. I ask you if the women walked out of your church tomorrow what would happen? In Peace.

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