Why we can’t have nice things in the #UMC…Progressive Methodist addendum.

Let me begin by admitting fully that I have no idea what Progressive Methodists actually believe. I don’t say this to be mean, I say it as an honest admission and also as a statement of part of the problem. An awful lot of people claim to be progressive Methodists or progressive Christians, but there is no real codified system of belief so it seems. The only points of belief seem to get eviscerated when anyone tries to speak about them as not being representative. In the case of an evangelical Methodist, I have some expectation of the focus of their theology as it relates to Methodism. With a Calvinist I know where they are coming from. I can see the benefits and draw backs of Lutheranism, etc. With the progressive United Methodists I do not. I can understand that not all progressives are defining themselves by the 8 points (if comments are to be believed most do not) and that is certainly their privilege, but what do you believe. What are the core points? What is the doctrine? Surely it is more than ‘full inclusion’. If this is really all it is then jump under the reconciling banner and let’s move forward with attempts at solutions. I don’t think that is it however. I understand and appreciate that you have disagreements with the conservative Christians, but say what you will about them, you know where they stand and what to disagree with. I mention this in the hopes that it can be explained to me so that I can process and examine your beliefs and thoughts as they differ with traditional Methodism. Part of why we can not have nice things could very easily be we are using the same words but speaking a different language.


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16 Replies to “Why we can’t have nice things in the #UMC…Progressive Methodist addendum.”

  1. I don’t speak for anyone but myself. My two points are “God loves everyone ON THE WHOLE PLANET.” And if your religion leads you to hate and fear “the other,” you are doing it wrong.

      1. Well, I’m liberal and I’m a United Methodist. I can’t speak for “Progressive United Methodists” because I don’t know how they may or may not differ from me.

  2. Scott, What is a progressive Methodist? I have taken all of the certified Lay Servant Classes Completed CLM training, wore the pages out of my 2012 BoD and read the 39 articles of religion and don’t recall seeing the term progressive Methodist.

    1. I don’t know Keith, that is why I am asking. There was a great deal of backlash over my posting about the points of belief of Progressive Christianity as not being representative of progressives within the UMC, so I asked the question to find out. Having thus far received no answers, I am left to assume there is no such thing and am back to the points of Progressive Christianity as being representative of that movement inside the UMC,

      1. Because of your friendship with Joel Watts, i was trying to respond as if yours was some complaint other than the age old “Libruhls are taking over my church.” Maybe I was giving you too much credit.

        1. I am not complaining about liberals at all. I never mentioned them, you did. Unless “liberal christian” and “progressive christian” mean the same thing…which you have said they don’t. I will, and have, complained about those who violate the BoD in the UMC, conservative and liberal alike. I pointed to a specific set of points that “progressive Christianity” purports to ascribe to. The consensus of those who cared to comment was that this was not what, at the very least, most progressive Christians in the UMC proscribe to. Upon asking what the beliefs of said progressives are, there has been no coherent answer. SO one more time…if you, or anyone that you know, does not follow or believe in those 8 points, then this is not about you. If you do, then yes it is, and you are indeed a part of the problem. Near as I can tell those who have chosen to respond have only been to try and tie this to something it is not connected to or to make clear this is not them. And of course the obligatory complaints about fundamentalists which have little to do with anything that was written.

  3. One of the true tragedies of fundamentalist Christianity is its intellectual isolation. Ignorance and superstition abound. So does fear and paranoia. The end of the world is ALWAYS just around the corner; and the world is out to get them.

    Despite often exaggerated claims of doing good, conservative Christians are among the least socially engaged human beings on the face of the earth. Likewise, they are numbered among the most unhappy.

    Politically, fundamentalist Christians are little more than useful idiots. They vote as told and agitate when prompted. Otherwise, they are irrelevant.

    More concerned with the next life than with this one, and too timid to organize, the anti-intellectual disposition of fundamentalists makes then useful as cheap labor and little else.

    As point of fact, fundamentalist parents are expected to break the will of their children by beating the literal Devil out of them in order to discourage original thought. This all but insures a lifelong subservience as wage slaves to their capitalist masters.

      1. On the other hand, it might explain why someone would write: “… I have no idea what Progressive Methodists actually believe.”

        1. Conservatives’ real issue with Progressive Methodism’s 8 Points of Christianity may be simply that its inclusiveness precludes establishing a state church.

          Part of conservative Christian mythology is that United States was founded as a Christian nation. It wasn’t.

          To follow the Christian nation line of reasoning requires going back to the days BEFORE there was even a consideration of unification — before the 1721 British notion of “Empire of America” — to the disastrous Massachusetts Bay Colony. That misadventure in theocracy sealed its fate with rampant religious intolerance.

          Subsequent attempts at American self-governance followed a more secular line of reasoning. At the same time, there was a ground swell of Christian diversity flowing to America’s shores. Yet, the central governments (there were actually two) were increasingly secular.

          The national government produced by The Declaration of Independence was governed by The Articles of Confederation. Perhaps influenced by the Iroquois (League) Confederacy, it proved to be unworkable.

          Thought the machinations largely instigated by a relative handful of influential Northeasterners, The Articles of Confederation was replaced by a totally secular Constitution of the United States in 1787. Though amended, that document still constitutes the basic framework of the United States government today.

          In addition to creating two layers of government — one at the state level (a carryover from The Articles of Confederation) and the other at the national level — The Constitution divides the traditional power of the king.

          Thus, those making the laws cannot enforce the laws. The Legislature must defer to the Executive.

          Those enforcing the laws don’t get to decide whether those laws were enforced correctly. The Executive must defer to the Judiciary.

          Those deciding whether or not the laws have been enforced correctly have no power carry out their ruling! The Judiciary must defer to either the Legislature — to create a new law — or to the Executive to enforce the ruling.

          Since the above scheme cannot be found in the Bible, it drives biblical literalists insane. Not only that, nowhere are democracy or voting mentioned in the Bible!

          Instead, the Bible if filled with ruling priests (theocracy) and kings (monarchy). There is God. There is (are) the ruler(s). At the bottom of the pile, there are either the obedience masses or those going to hell.

          Thus, the notion that the United States was founded on Christian principles is pure FICTION.

          For much the same reason, The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity are likewise an anathema to conservative Christian sensibilities. Conservative Christians want a directorship! After all, it’s in their pulpits, damnit!!!

        2. Good to know that they like me so much. I have of course applied to their group to respond, but I am not holding my breath.

          1. I’m sure I’m sounding like a broken record here, but the administrator/founder of the Progressive Methodists Facebook page is a layperson. He uses the page to pass on “stuff I find interesting.” I don’t dislike him, but he does not have the accountability or responsibility that comes from a clergy standing.

  4. I am sure that I am sounding like a broken record here when I say, again, that there are churches and pastors who do buy into this, and that I, as of yet, have heard nothing from Progressive Methodists how their beliefs differ from this. In fact, I have had literature, from Progressive United Methodists, suggested to me that hinge upon these 8 points. I don’t really care who came up with them, I care that people are following them and it is hurting the UMC as many of the pints disagree with the doctrine of the church in drastic ways, most notably by proclaiming that Christianity is not the sole way to connect to God.

    1. You know, I just about willing to bet that Pope Leo X said something similar concerning Martin Luther when he excommunicated that heretical friar.

      Before that, there was the apparently unemployed and unmarried neerdowell from Nazareth. Reportedly possessed by a devil, this incendiary firebrand was given to eating and drinking, and associating with tax collectors and sinners rather than knotowing and genuflecting to the religious orthodoxy of his day.

      Now, how dare those 8-Point Christians part with a crumbling early 21st century canonical, conformist, conventional, and conservative Christian doctrine. Don’t they know they’re doing irreparable damage to Christianity by loving their neighbor as themselves?

      Why, it’s all so downright unchristian of them!

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