I guess because the United Methodist Centrist Movement wasn’t… uh… unifying enough?

Have you seen this newest, separate and independent from all other groups, group that looks to unify United Methodists? I mean, Rev. Mike Slaughter who was part of the UMCM is with Uniting Methodists. How does that happen?

The “team” is the usual cast of RMN supporters, centrists, and other progressives who… I’m guessing without the money afforded by the conservative wings of the church… won’t have a job much longer or will not have a cause to allow them to have an internet following.

I find this latest, separate and independent unifying group a bit silly and harmful.

What this would do is to create a warring denomination — where one side actively competes against the other, much like we have now. Look at their “points.”

Yes, great. Let’s make disciples; however, what are disciples? To some without any sort of Christian understanding, disciple means “activist.” Others understand that it is to follow the Jesus as historically taught by the Christian Church. How might this play out? In one group, you will have disciples understood to mean political party diehards fighting the lasting election battle over the latest social trend while in the other, disciple will mean those who fight against sin as traditionally understood. Both “United Methodists” will actually wage war against the other, with one side believing LGBT people are sinners while the other believing those who think such things are the sinners.

Again, this is a matter of social holiness and as such, is actually a separating matter.

To suggest

Despite our differences, we have learned to live together and to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, affirming the same historic creeds, attending the same churches, Sunday school classes and Bible studies, and participating side by side in mission and ministry. We are bound together in a Wesleyan understanding of God’s love and grace.

… is pure fakery.

Why? Because we don’t affirm the same creeds. Let’s not forget the Nicene Creed was rejected at GC2016, with numerous creeds and affirmations having made their way into the Book of Worship, some of which are unChristian. We have pastors who cannot vouch for the Virgin Birth nor the physical resurrection of Jesus. We have pastors who turn their nose up at the blood atonement. The same creeds? Only if by that you mean we have them in the Book of Worship.

We aren’t on the same mission. Part of one side’s mission is to make the world safe for all forms of consensual sexual expression, gender identity, and an erasure of cultural norms around sex, gender and the body while the other has as part of its mission the reestablishment of traditional Christian sexual norms.

And my guess? The “Wesleyan understanding of God’s love and grace” will differ broadly among these groups, as well as from that of Wesley and the early Methodists who viewed sin as something individual and sometimes related to sex — but always within the bounds of traditional Christianity.

They proclaim to uphold the Doctrinal Standards of The United Methodist Church. What about Article 22? Marriage is a ceremony of the Church. To deny marriage to one group that has been allowed by the Church or to proclaim marriage to one group denied by the Church violates Article 22, not to mention the countless heretics who deny the Trinity, the Atonement, and the authority of Scripture.

And somehow they think that this is a matter of “interpretation.” No, not really. Here we must include the whole of Christian Tradition. We as Wesleyans are not biblicalists. We are prima scriptura. In other words, to suggest this is really about interpretation is to, well, deny Wesleyan understanding of the role Tradition plays in our understanding of Scripture. It also denies the numerous times Wesley split with others because of matters of interpretation. Further, let us not confuse this with slavery, as only the most disingenuous reader of Scripture and Christian doctrine will confuse the two.

But, I do want to step back here and see if I can put it into terms more familiar to United Methodists. What if the northern and southern Methodists, rather than splitting, had simply allowed Pastors to keep slaves while telling northern pastors to not say anything about it? You know… so that “boards and agencies” would still be funded?

This is a hilariously sad attempt at more posturing meant to preserve the institution at the expense of people — and an attempt separate from all previous attempts. Where have they been during times of disobedience? Suddenly, they want to uphold the Disciple and the Articles if it doesn’t conflict their innermost feelings? Where are the international faces? If mean… if you look at the cast of characters… it seems mostly white, mostly male, all progressive, and… American. Another fine example of colonialism.

Finally, I recall the story of Judas who, for 30 pieces of silver (a goodly sum) sold Jesus to be killed.  Think about it. There are some who suggest that this is one way — in the far future — to make the UMC all inclusive (although a few actually go so far as to say what that means). That’s fine. But let’s break that down a bit. If the UMC stays together for a while, then who benefits? Many pastors, such as many in the West and New England, are facing a substantial loss of income if separation occurs. If they stay together, these (I would bet mostly straight white male) pastors continue to be paid and have a platform.

But who is hurt? LGBT people who will still not be validated by their denomination and in many corners of the denomination, have their lifestyle condemned and they will be evangelized as the problem of the UMC. If you are for inclusion and are willing to wait, aren’t you simply selling the LGBT people for a few more years of solid salary?

And why in the world is an official UM body using monies for this…stuff…? There is literally an Abingdon email at the bottom of one of the pages.