When I first explored joining the United Methodist Church, I was told that the United Methodist Church does not require one to think a certain way — but only to think. This high intellectualism attracted me because it allowed me to explore my Christian faith through the power of the mind, something lacking in fundamentalism.
Recently, while I was away in Cuba — a communist country full of observers, monitors, thought police, and even tone police employed by the government to control the actions in narratives of citizens — I discovered that the United Methodist Church is now more totalitarian than Fidel Castro. No longer does it require us to think, but now it insist we think and behave in a certain way monitored by observers who are controlled by their own agenda, often times in direct opposition to both Scripture and the Book of Discipline.
Updated to move DCA and Rule 44 first:
DCA…where is the Christian part?
The second case is the release of the DCA (especially proposed rule no.44) by the same commission that would create a system of control that would make Mao, Castro, and Lenin proud. Not only do they get to rewrite the English language and completely abuse John Wesley’s Three General Rules — they seem to want to rewrite history as well — but also included in this plan is a means to shut down all debate and opposition to changing the position of the United Methodist Church on human sexuality. It purports to create so-called safe-spaces monitored by outside observers that can declare without appeal that someone is offensive.
At no point do I think it speaks well of the Spirit we have in us to use the language I’ve heard used in discussing this issues — from either side — but we are compounding wrongs in this instance, and destroying the freedom needed to get to the right answer here.
Some, mainly those ignorant of anything having to do with John Wesley and the tradition of holy conferencing, regardless of all of the resources expert so they can’t and have consulted, have lied to the entire church and the world by declaring that what the DCA sets up is actually holy conferencing. The DCA is not holy conferencing but sets up a way to control the narrative so that only one side may present their view. Rule 44 even includes its own version of the политрук.
(5) Monitors—During this group process, monitors from the Commission on the Status and
1136 Role of Women (COSROW), General Commission on Religion and Race (GCRR), and
1137 JustPeace are empowered to observe the process and signal the group leader if they observe
1138 harmful behavior as determined according to the Guidelines for Conversation.
It gets worse. The guidelines for conversation (p.96-101) essentially says anyone who says they are hurt, must be apologized to without qualification. There’s no acknowledgement that people — and it happens regularly — use their “hurt” as a weapon. Further, there is no design so as to preserve this “boundary” for all sides of the conversation. Rather, what we see is a power structure protecting only one narrative – and doing so by destroying the freedom and liberty of other narrators. What we see is coercion. What we see if a police state masquerading as a Church. What we see is simply the privilege of Americans, isolated from reality, imposing their values upon each other and the rest of the world — again.
Not only do they get the Quad wrong (1968 does not mean it is historic; nor is it Wesleyan), but Scripture is a weapon (it is meant to cut away those things not worthy in us as Children of God). Further, experience is not a collection of personal experiences but the one experience central of the individual Christian — the warming of the heart, in Wesleyan parlance.
Neither Jesus (who accused his own friends of being satan) or Paul (who suggested those who abused the Gospel allow their knives to slip and thereby make eunuchs of themselves) or John Wesley (who had choice words for apathetic Christians, Calvinists, and sinners) would be able to speak at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.
If I were still as angry as I was when I first read this, I would suggest that any United Methodist who had a hand in drafting the DCA should be charged for teaching something counter to Methodist doctrine for the amount of sheer stupidity of what they allowed to be placed under under the name of holy conferencing. It is shameful that such a document could be released under the name of the United Methodist Church and that someone not pay the price for the high amounts of lies and sin it holds within its pages. How can something so counter to the teaching and tradition of the United Methodist Church — and Wesleyanism in general — come to be an official document?
These new rules must be voted down at General Conference, or simply ignored. No Christian should support them, regardless of how you fall of the issues.
I sat in a Cuban airport for 24 hours praying that a plane would be able to take us home soon. When it was first announced that our airplane was not coming to get us, we were told by several people who had been through this before that we should never appear to complain or to have any negative feelings to the situation whatsoever because we were going to be monitored for these very actions. If we were discovered having negative actions or comments to the situation, it would be offensive to the Cuban government. These observers who walked among us had full discretion to determine what was offensive. They could easily report back to either the officer standing guard or later to those with authority to issue visas and luckily the only thing we would suffer is that we would never be allowed to return to Cuba. It could even touch those who had invited us.
It is nice that the United Methodist Church is trying to become more open and adoptive of other cultural practices, but did they have to chose communist overlords?
What is so scary about ID?
In the first case, intelligent design — a theory I personally do not support — seems to be forbidden to be discussed at General Conference, or at least there is no way to discuss it. The United Methodist Church through some of our boards and agencies have signed onto the clergy statement of support of evolution. I am personally OK with evolution and oppose ID because I believe scripture does not tell us how God created but why God created and centrally, that God is Creator.
” states that exhibits are not to provide a platform to survey or test ideas but to provide products, services and resources which are credible and proven to help local church ministries), and, in their opinion, it conflicted with our social principles.” – Diane Degnan, spokeswoman for the UMC.
This denial of an exhibitor table, is in my opinion, a direct attack not only on the social principles but on the idea that we should be exposed to new ideas. They can claim it is not provable, but they can hardly claim that it is not credible. After all, Christian people actually believe that God in human flesh died and rose again to fulfill prophecies made hundreds of years before so as to effect salvation for humankind across the millennia. Further, we purport believe in afterlife that is neither provable nor credible in scientific studies — and do these things help in local ministries? If they do, then why aren’t we preaching more of that instead of, as the WVAC has called for, 2400 new confessions of faith? And if this is really about credibility to local church ministries, since when is combining faith and science not helpful?
My goodness, if you think about it, it is almost like you have to take the sum total of the Christian religion on faith and let others worry about the credibility of a man who was born and died 2,000 years ago saying he was divine and would bring salvation to the world.
In denying this exhibitor table, but in allowing tables from a cross areas of thought in direct conflict to the Book of Discipline, what we have is a destructive and embarrassing undertaking to control the narrative of the United Methodist Church. The Commission on the General Conference has declared that their voice and their view on matters such as God and science is the only one that United Methodist will be exposed to. It hurts my soul to take the side of Discovery Institute, but in this case they are correct.