a Modest Middle Way Proposal for #UMCSchism #frivolousfriday

It’s been a rather long week in the forums – what with the 80 reduced to 79, unity covenants going around, blog posts, defriendings, hurt feelings, and very little humility. Or humor.

So…

Here are some not necessarily connected thoughts in my usual wry sense of humor.

One thing really lacking by both sides (because dang it, we have to have two) is humility. I believe in inclusion, but likewise, some humility. Plus, I know any change, or lack of change, is likely to hurt someone. Yes, offensiveness because of the Gospel is sometimes necessary — heck, look at Galatians — but it should never be the first course of action.

9dne5

Unless, of course, it has to do with any of the following:

  • Divorced and remarriage, especially clergy
  • getting rid of the authority of the Bishop of Rome
  • women ordination
  • the communion of saints
  • Marian veneration
  • preaching only the lectionary
  • liturgy
  • views on baptism
  • views on the Eucharist

Some ways to fix the UMC:

So, I got my thinking cap on and turned it on overdrive. Here are some ways to fix the UMC:

  • We need the set-aside-Bishop. Let’s put in one central location with the authority to appoint jurisdictional representatives. They will enforce Church discipline. This Bishop will, if speaking within the confines of Church Tradition, have the same voice as Scripture — infallible. Likewise, he will be able to remove stationary bishops and replace them with those who will keep church discipline. If the need arises, he can call General Conferences that can issue decisions, or canons, about important matters. These councils synods conferences would be ecumenical in outreach, of course. They would settle for all time, or until the next one, what the official doctrine of the UMC has always been since the time of Jesus. Further, this Bishop could excommunicate those who are clearly heretics, like ___________.  You’re thinking of a name right now, aren’t you?
  • We need to incorporate more prayer, especially in relation to the communion of Saints. It is part of the Apostles’ Creed. So, why not begin to pray to them for help in these matters. This will cement us to the past, open up our future, and really place us well into the Great Tradition.
  • Create different orders so that one group, remaining within the UMC, can be stricter with a focus on discipline and doctrinal purity while another order could focus more on social justice. There would be no need for competition, only in that if one feels called to participate in the doctrinal life of the church, they can go to order A, while if another person feels called to participate in charitable mission of the church… order B.
  • All clergy should be celibate. This would end the discussion in its entirety about who can and cannot be ordained. Plus, we could decide that sex is solely for the purpose of procreation. If you cannot procreate (this goes for the sterile as well), then you shouldn’t have sex.
  • Also, because the UMC seems to have confused itself with the American culture, we need to place the head of the Church the set-aside bishop in a foreign city, maybe like Rome London. This will keep the focus of the UMC on the mission of Christ and not on the culture of the United States.

So there you go…

Post By Joel Watts (10,115 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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10 thoughts on “a Modest Middle Way Proposal for #UMCSchism #frivolousfriday

  1. Some ways to fix the UMC:
    1. All sermons, and anything said from the pulpit, must be in Latin. That way, we re-institute formal liturgy, guarantee anyone preaching from the pulpit is classically educated, and no one in the audience will no what the hell they are saying. If you don’t understand it, you can’t complain about it.

  2. No, Joel, I think the set-aside bishop ought to be someplace in Africa, like Liberia or Zimbabwe or Mozambique. That way, we’d quit whining about first-world inanities and get real about the world’s suffering.

  3. Joel said “We need to incorporate more prayer, especially in relation to the communion of Saints.”
    I suggest they re-institute the Agape Feast. Combination Eucharist and potluck. This was the cause of the first, great schism. Just make sure that there is enough food and drink for everyone. No one will leave, even if they disagree.
    Reference info:
    1 Cor 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also factions among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord’s supper: 21 for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not?

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