Why we can’t have nice things in the UMC…or the 8 points of progressive Christianity part 1

GodWeenSatan: The Oneness
GodWeenSatan: The Oneness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What this is…

This is my experience with those who self identify as progressive Christians, churches who identify as progressive and the UMCM which I have come to believe is little more than progressive Christianity lite. (sort of like skim milk really). This does not include all people I have spoken to who subscribe to this way of thinking, simply the majority.

The 8 points of progressive Christianity can be found hereHere we go…

1.  Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

This actually sounds pretty good. I can live with the oneness as in we are all in this thing called life together and unity as in we require each other to survive. I have some issues with putting all life on an equal level as I think that the Scriptures are fairly clear that humans are unique in creation, but I can get past it and not be so nit picky. This sounds ok really.

2.  Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

Hmmm…..I can almost go with this. I have reservations and concerns, but I can almost go with this. I can get behind the idea that there is wisdom we can glean from most anything, but for me those sources of wisdom are not outside of Christ, but are instead confirmed by the teachings of Christ as revealed through the Scriptures. So yeah I can find wisdom outside of Jesus, but if it can not be confirmed by the teachings of Christ, it may indeed be wisdom, but it may be the wisdom of this world. Scripture has some unfriendly things to say about that. I am starting to worry about this sacredness and oneness stuff now…sounding more like a mantra or chant that does not really have definition. I thought I knew what it meant in point 1 but I am wondering now.

3.  Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

  • Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,

  • Believers and agnostics,

  • Women and men,

  • Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,

  • Those of all classes and abilities;


Now see this sounds good, but I don’t think you mean it. Wait, that is not fair, it has been my experience that you do not mean it. You say that you want a community that is inclusive of conventional Christians, but then call them bigoted, backward, etc. You try to break away from conservative elements in the world wide church that you don’t agree with so that you can get your way. It looks racial. It may not be, but it certainly appears so. It certainly does not seek a community that is inclusive of conventional Christians, rather quite the opposite. It seeks to move away from conventional Christians. It doesn’t seem like sacredness or oneness (whatever that actually is. It’s becoming more and more muddied with each point).

4.  Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

See now you have lost me. If I am to believe you, then the fullest expression of what you believe is that when you don’t get your way, you try to isolate and insult those who do not agree. When “oneness” doesn’t work, you just cut away, or seek to cut away, those parts taht do not conform. The inclusiveness that you seek is only for those who agree with you, but can never be for those who may disagree. Us conventional Christians simply must have our voices stripped away so that your voice is the only one heard. You can dress it up however you wish, say it is for the sake of unity, say it is financial responsibility (yes UMCM I am talking to you as you fit the mold too), say whatever you like. It is at best the basic kindergarten logic of I am taking my ball and going home and at worst is an attempt to be politely racist and discriminatory toward the poor and marginalized…you know those people you say that you are trying to have an inclusive environment toward. Perhaps this is what you mean by sacred oneness? There are four more points, but this is the one where you are killing me. If you believe this point, then, for all the many ways you think you can find your sacred oneness, you really just need Jesus because you missed the boat on a lot of what He said. To be continued…


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17 Replies to “Why we can’t have nice things in the UMC…or the 8 points of progressive Christianity part 1”

  1. Since we seem to be busy confessing the sins of OTHER people, I’d note that when even people of “orthodox” belief, like Adam Hamilton, Mike Slaughter and Steve Harper “go off the reservation” in regard to LGBT inclusion, they suddenly become personae not gratae with people who formerly regarded them highly.

    1. I believe that I addressed this already on a FB page since this is the exact same comment. I will again say however that I was not the one who brought up same sex issues, but rather and dealing with the 8 points of progressive Christianity and how they are causing damage to the UMC currently with their application.

        1. OK then obviously your sister, while she may or may not for all I know identify herself as a progressive christian, she obviously is not a Progressive Christian as they define themselves. I did not make these up, this is their definition. If your sister, or anyone else is not a part of that then it obviously does not apply to them. (Your sister is UCC anyway and therefore would be well beyond the scope of this to begin with.) Really, click on the link included at the beginning and if you do not feel it adequately describes Progressive Christianity, then please feel free to take it up with those who have devised the points. All I can do is comment on what they have said identifies them.

    1. Yes, I meant the Centrist movement in that it is my opinion that they are, much like progressive Christianity in it’s 8 points, has attempted to use nice and neutral language to cover up selfish and/or dangerous ambition.

        1. Yes, they are in West Ohio as am I. This is the website where their goals are stated. http://umcm.today/ I have spoken personally with a few of the people involved and that is the impression that I came away with. The legislation that they have proposed can be found on their Facebook page. That is what I have used to form my opinion.

          1. You may know the individuals better than I and for that reason may have reason for suspicion that I can’t discern, but I can’t find much fault in the statement. On the “hot button” issue, my own proposal is more “radical,” in that I would leave the matter of conducting weddings to pastoral discretion.

  2. Did someone wake up this morning with a persecution complex? Not to worry, though, Richard Nixon proved even paranoids have some real enemies.

    If disagreement over theology weren’t the bread and butter of religion, there wouldn’t be over a thousand Christian denominations in the religion-mad United States.

  3. More red herrings.
    The 8 points are from A particular group of progressive Christians that started in 1994. It hardly represents the general category of what people might call “progressive Christians”. Even this particular group has already changed their 8 points three times, in the short time this group has existed.

    And I don’t see any particular connection with Methodists, unless I’ve missed something.

    Actually, from their 8 points, they sound much more like UU’s to me (nothing against UU’s. But certainly no relationship to Methodists.

    But even so, on point 4, the statement “you try to isolate and insult those who do not agree”… I don’t see any evidence of this from this particular group, or from UU’s in general. Maybe individuals you have run into. But not from any specific group I have interfaced with in the Methodists. Maybe individuals. I don’t see any group saying in their “What we Believe” section, that “we try to isolate and insult those who we do not agree with!”

    My point, red herring. 8 progressive points from any group has nothing to do with same sex marriage, or schisms in the Methodist church.

    Again, my opinion. You can debate it. I won’t.

  4. By the way…a personal question to Scott…what is the purpose of the picture you used on this post? I did a Google on it, since I never heard of it. What the heck does it have to do with anything? I am actually amazed that you would use that in association with anything. Don’t get me wrong. You can obviously do whatever you want. But the picture does not help your point.

    1. I believe that the picture was actually added in by Joel. I did not put it in. So that you are aware, I went well out of my way to address this by the eight points not because I think that all who call themselves progressive follow them, but because this is a group that has a codified system of belief that can be examined and critiqued. So, not a red herring, a comment on the 8 points of progressive Christianity as they have defined them. Nothing more or less. There is a significant number of people in the UMC (pastors and laity alike) who ascribe to this, and they are who this is directed at. There are actually entire UMC congregations who claim and follow in this vein. And again…I said nothing about schism in this post, nor did I say anything about same sex marriage in this post. I am not certain why that is being read into it. There is a large difference between those who believe in full inclusion and those who ascribe to Progressive Christianity as presented by the eight points I have chosen to comment on. I tried to make that clear by including the link to their site so that it could be looked at fairly and examined on its merits.

      1. These 8 points — and the way you characterize them — do not well reflect the mainstream of my friends who self-describe as progressive Methodists. I’m glad you linked to the specific site from which these 8 points come from. On their staff/founder/board/advisors page, they list 15 people of whom 5 are UCC, 5 Episcopalian, 2 ELCA, 2 Catholic and just 1 UMC (as best I could tell from their bios). Also the study guide they offer to teach their “8 points,” is written by their UCC Executive Director.

        So if you are trying to make a point about progressive Methodism, you’re barking up the wrong tree here. With all due respect, it seems like more of a strawman argument to me.

        1. Again, I am making a point about those who follow the 8 points as they are. Nothing more and nothing less. There is a large undercurrent of those folks in the UMC including pastors, laity and entire churches. It is not a straw man to talk about the 8 points and those who follow them. When I get around to making a point about progressive Methodism, I promise, I will call it progressive Methodism, until then, I am making comments about these 8 points and how those who ascribe to them are damaging the UMC by their actions. If you, or those whom you know who call themselves progressive Christians, but do not deal with the 8 points of Progressive Christianity then this obviously does not apply to you. If you or your friends do ascribe to these 8 points then it does. There is (I have said this a lot) a difference between progressive Christians and Progressive Christians if you will.

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