I was sitting in my car listening to Sirius 58 (Prime Country) when Reba’s “Fancy” came on. I have come to hate this song. I mean, here is a girl forsaken, orphaned, and downtrodden who turns to her body to help save herself.
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.
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.
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
the communion of saints
preaching only the lectionary
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 councilssynodsconferences 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.