Unity: The Conservative's Worst Nightmare or Our Best Hope?

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The article begs the question

Just what is "conservatism" anyhow? It is what we call "reaction" to the real world and a retreat from reality, and anything but the usual meaning of what is conservative, i.e., to conserve resources and act prudently. Instead, in the U.S. at least at this moment it means fear, irrationality, and trust in self-proclaimed authority figures. For the religiously inclined it means women being reigned-in to the old "Kinder, Kirche, Kuche" [that's German for "Children, Church, Kitchen") limitation of female experience. for LGBTs it means faith in the illusion fueled by McCarthyism that they are security risks and sex fiends and the 1950s decision by the federal government to fire the astronomer Frank Kameny on the basis of his sexual orientation was perfectly reasonable along with hundreds of other civil servants, while their chief persecutor, J. Edgar "Mary" Hoover, who lived with his (male) deputy and exercised his obsessions on the national zeitgeist, was a hero. For minorities, it means we'll help you advance but not very fast. Its management theory consists of two rules: 1 - The boss is always right, and 2 - see number 1. The idea hotel maids might organize a union is feared. I will say this, "conservatism" embraced bad "Christian" music and discarded the old hymns per the advice of marketing consultants: now insipid "praise songs" dominate their worship while the fine old standards are left to the shrinking Mainline churches. Leave it to the mercenaries to adopt the worst genres of pop music, soft rock, into "Jesus is my boyfriend" dreck.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Unity

We are fond of talking connectionalism and then look at early Methodism and say people joined themselves to Wesley and translate that to the important thing is that as long as we call ourselves United Methodist we are connected. Reality is when people joined themselves to Wesley, they joined themselves to a very specific set of beliefs and understandings at the core of which was Priority #1: connecting individuals to God and to each other;John Wesley never ever wavered from that.

I was a loyal church-going Methodist for a very long time until the wheels came off and I distanced myself from all things church and finally discovered what all I did not know/understand about basic orthodox Christianity starting with it has very little in common with modern fundamentalism. I finally found myself standing in the wide open space of God's amazing grace. After engaging some of the modern fuzziness present in progressive/liberal thinking I find great comfort that my faith is rooted in something that has a long history rather than in something just invented. Where progressive/liberals have gotten lost is in the fact that yes, initially God created us good and in his own image BUT we continually rebel and modern progressive thought is part of that ongoing rebellion! My own life experiences tell me that we have not evolved, that we are not working off some new enlightenment when it comes to defining who God is and who we are.

Acquaint yourself with the full blown story of God's creation, our rebellion, and God's redemption of us. My starting point was the Heidelberg Catechism and three books about it: "Body & Soul" by M. Craig Barnes; 'The Good News We Almost Forgot" by Kevin De Young and "Teaching Minds and Comforting Hearts" by Starr Meade. And the Daily Text at seedbed.com provides amazing follow through.

The UMC does not need a better structure or more money--what it needs is to reclaim the amazing message and method that brought it into existence; it needs to reclaim its Priority #1 which is connecting individuals to God and then to each other!

Betsy more than 2 years ago

Unity

The article starts well but flounders on "Three Simple Rules." I appreciate Reuben Job and others who want to appeal to Wesley. I appreciate the appeal to the General Rules. But to say we discard the content as presented by Wesley and replace it with whatever seems good to us is to render the Rules meaningless. In the hands of progressives the moral and ethical life dilutes down to something like: try harder and do better and be kind. Flesh out what specifically the "Simple Rules" would be then we can have a discussion.

Riley Case more than 2 years ago

Christy Thomas

There just might be some disagreement on what "attending upon all the ordinances of God" means. I wish she had included the Wesleyan quadrilateral in talking about our common ground. But even that, for some, gives too much weight to scripture and not enough to reason and experience. We just have to go back to love.

Betty Likis more than 2 years ago

"I confess my sins....."

You said you "confess your sins..." Without the structure of the Bible, how do you know Who (or what) to confess them to? How do you even know they are sins?

Mike more than 2 years ago

To sin is to act wronfully

I don't believe scripture particularly describes what is sin and what is not to apply it to everyday life in every situation. General guidelines like the "Golden Rule" suffice to some extent, but everyone applies them differently. Should one, for instance, as an airline passenger, refrain from asking for an upgrade to first class with the knowledge others would benefit more? Everyone makes such decisions based on our experience at the moment. Should we recycle? Should we avoid conflict when its unspokenness functions as "the elephant in the room"? Scripture provides no easy answer often enough. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

scripture more than 2 years ago

Notable Quotes


Brian McLaren"All of us, especially people of faith, need to proclaim that white supremacy and white privilege and all other forms of racism and injustice must indeed be replaced with something better – the beloved community where all are welcome, all are safe, and all are free. White supremacist and Nazi dreams of apartheid must be replaced with a better dream – people of all tribes, races, creeds, and nations learning to live in peace, mutual respect, and neighborliness. Such a better world is possible, but only if we set our hearts on realizing the possibility."

– Brian McLaren, writing in "What I Saw in Charlottesville" on the Auburn Seminary website.


"The idea of racial (or most any other) supremacy is antithetical to that Gospel. We should remember that Jesus himself grasped for no superiority, no rank, but instead made himself a servant, giving himself in love. What we saw in Charlottesville was therefore a kind of anti-gospel, something that must be resisted, yes–but more, something that must be overcome."

– Dr. Craig Hill, dean of United Methodist-related Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, on Facebook.

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