David Watson, among others, has made the proposal that the upcoming GC in 2016 be a closed session. He, and others, have tried to give us a direction out of the Wonderland we find ourselves in. This has, of course, prompted all sorts of responses from those who do not think it is a good idea, notably by UMJEREMY here. The links to the people and blogs that he references can be found within the vitriol.
Alice, a reasonable young lady, finds herself in Wonderland (If you have not read the two books, I highly suggest them)and around a colorful cast of characters, some helpful, and some not. A few people acted as my Cheshire cat, outsiders not involved in a lot, but pointing out that the UMC, as a denomination, has a stronger cumulative effect than any of it’s citizens. Just like Wonderland, the UMC has become ruled by madness so that any normal behavior becomes inconsistent with the operation of it. That which is reasonable seems as if it is madness and that which is madness seems to be reasonable. The proposal to close the GC is reasonable. The vitriol spewed is madness. Unfortunately, we are in Methodist Land and things are reversed here.
Of course the journey through Wonderland begins with the white rabbit. So that we are all on the same page, the White Rabbit is the distraction in the story. He starts out innocently enough, but it does not take long to discover that the main characteristic of the White Rabbit is anxiety. He’s always worried about being late or about offending someone. But he can also be rude or even cruel, as when he mistakes Alice for his servant and orders her around, or when he tries a variety of violent methods to get the giant Alice out of his house. He starts off so innocent, but his true colors are revealed soon. The caucus groups, and lately those of the left the most, fall into this category. It all seems innocent until you are called a bigot, a flesh eating mosquito, equivalent to a date rapist, or any other number of unseemly things. Suddenly the White Rabbit is not so innocent anymore. Suddenly he is not worried about offending anyone anymore, all that is left is his “very important date”. All that is left is his cause and nothing more. The White Rabbit has become little more than a red herring to distract you from realizing that you are in Wonderland and that needs to change.
Wonderland would not be complete without the Mad Hatter and his tea party. Trapped in the unending chaos of a forever tea party, the Hatter has indeed become Mad. Nothing matters to him, except of course, his tea party. Love Prevails fits the bill well. Just unending chaos for the unconversation that they demand to have. It is of course an unconversation as you can not say anything but what they wish you to say. Happy happy unconversation to you, to you. The purpose? The same as the rest of Wonderland, to be nonsensical and chaotic.
As we travel through Methodist land we will inevitably run into the Queen of Hearts, or in this case, UMJEREMY, who is not so concerned with the nonsense of Methodist land, but is much more concerned with absolute rule. Mind you, the rule makes no sense. You disagree? Off with your head. You have a different idea? Off with you head. Make no mistake, by painting those who brought forward suggestions of closing the GC as all manner of nasty things (racist, abusers, etc) is no different than “off with your head”. If anything it is worse as it is the sort of vague insinuation that festers in the mind and makes those around, and you for that matter, question your integrity and mission. It assumes that your motives are less than pure. It assumes that you act out of fear. It is wrong, it is vile, and it is, dare I say it, the same type of abuse that is being argued against. But, this is Wonderland, so off with their heads. After all, “If you want equal time, if you really want to stop the distractions at General Conference, then stop the abuse, fully include LGBT persons in the life of the church, and we can get back to peacefully discerning the best forms of the church in the rest of Christendom.” (UMJEREMY) So, if you want to peacefully discern (because of course, if you do not agree with UMJEREMY, you are not using discernment…OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!) what is best for the church then you must give in (even if you do not believe that is best for the church) so that you can. The word for that is extortion…or, in the language of the Wonderland we find ourselves in, off with your head.
Finally to Jaberwocky…that is to say the nonsense that we are trapped in. If you notice in reading Jabberwocky you can make some small sense of the words, but can not completely understand things as it is primarily nonsense after all. At it’s heart, it is a poem about a father warning his son.