As Christians, and I'm guilty of failing at this...miserably...it us up to US to be our brother's keeper. WE are the ones who are supposed to reach out to those in need. God does not want us to just pay our taxes and decide, “The government's going to care for those poor people.” Nor does He want us to occasionally give to the food pantry when we could reach out, interact one-on-one with each other and truly get to know these people to help understand what they need to ultimately help themselves.
The UMC seems to have lost sight of that, as many pages of the conference's manual discuss social justice and the further involvement of government. There seems to be an entire bureaucracy built within the church itself, which is another form of government and yet another barrier between God's congregations in His churches and God. It's hard to bow down to the King, have any kind of relationship with Him or understand His purpose for you when you've got several people who think they know Him better, standing in the way.
But the major issue is that this dependency, and bureaucratic way of life filtering into the church, makes it easier for the church to be utilized to advance political causes. The UMC is imposing unnecessary forms of segregation on itself, with boards dedicated to causes for specific ethnic groups. To me, any emphasis on skin color or background is a political cause. The church has even funded discussion groups on college campuses with Jews and Muslims.
I'm all for having an open dialogue with those of other faiths, but is this the wisest use of church funds at a time when churches struggle to keep their doors open? I was always taught that we are all one people, brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds. Instead of specifically pointing out these groups, why don't we try to just come together as people of faith? Why should the church continue to focus on our differences instead of strengthening those ties that bind us?