Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
September 9th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Meaningful Unity – To what end cowardice?

Meaningful Unity

Meaningful Unity

Recently, three UMC elders expressed, finally, what it meant to hold the covenant accountable.

It calls to mind the Minutes from 1749:

Q. 13. Have we borne a sufficient witness to the truth? Particularly when attacked by the clergy?

A. Perhaps not. We have generally been content with standing on the defensive.

Q. 14. May not this cowardice have hindered the work of God? And have caused us to feel less of his power?

A. Very probably it may.

Q. 15. How shall we act in such cases for the time to come?

A. Not only refute, but retort the charge. Their mouths must be stopped (only in meekness and love), and the eyes of others stopped.

Q. 16. Is it expedient for us to converse more with the clergy?

A. Yes; whenever they are willing we should.

Q. 17. With our chief opposers or persecutors?

A. It might do good: (1) When they make any overtures toward it. (2) When we can take them unawares, and converse with them alone.

[tweetthis]We have generally been content with standing on the defensive. #UMC #meaningfulunity[/tweetthis]

From theology to anthropology, meaningful unity allows us to see deeper into our world. When we are disrupted, when we are too diverse, when we are opposed to one another at every level, then we can see only these divisions and our mission is lost. For some time now, the UMC has been divided into sides, with the orthodox side showing little more than cowardice in the face of evil. This is not about the debate of inclusion, but the desire by the neopagans covenant breakers and non-orthodox amongst us to push aside 2000 years of Christian teaching and our Wesleyan distinctives.

At some point, we need to develop meaningful unity — not on property and pensions, but on Christ — On the Creeds — On our Wesleyan emphases. Some will claim they want a “holistic Methodist Church,” ignoring the “United” aspect while ensuring that “winnowing” occurs so as to excommunicate any and all who stand in the way of making the UMC little more than the UCC with an English accent. Let those who lie and create evil do so still, but now is the time for a unity that exceeds contempt for one another.

Are we content with being defensive? Where is the courage in the Lord to be found? Where is the parrhesia of the Christian?

You can follow the #meaningfulunity convo on Twitter.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. 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).


3 Responses to “Meaningful Unity – To what end cowardice?”
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    Whether it’s “the neopagans amongst us” or atheists on the outside, the church is constrained by rigid rules imposed by a Middle Iron Age spinoff of a Bronze Age Middle Eastern theocracy as well as the baggage of church history.

    Freethinking atheists are not similarly boxed in. They are, quite literally and figuratively, free to think outside the box.

    Even worse, unity can never overcome irrelevance.

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