Category Archives: The Re-Formed Church

Re-Forming the Church to meet the needs of our society

Fundamentalism and the UMC

This week the UMC learned some hard lessons. Their deep desire for unity, though admirable, is also their greatest weakness. The fundamentalists within their ranks recognize this and know how to take advantage of it.  They were able to get their “Traditional” plan which basically bars LGBTQ individuals from taking part in the denomination and imposes strict punishments on professing gay clergy and clergy officiating in gay marriages.  The Methodist motto “Open hears, Open minds, Open doors” is no longer a valid assertion.
“The traditionalists did a bang-up job of political organizing and counting the votes…The progressives were all busy talking about unity and community and listening and loving. The conservatives were on the floor getting the votes.”
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/february/united-methodist-lgbt-vote-conference-plan.html#storystream

The UMC does not understand the fundamentalist ideology in their ranks – it simply escapes them. While the “progressive” Methodist sees God in the beautiful, peaceful things, the fundamentalist finds God in battles fought and victories won.

“In one Methodist church I attended … the pastor would ask “where have you seen God this week?”  Invariably the answers would consist of grandchildren, flowers, sunshine, etc.  Pretty things, hopeful things … this is what they want to hear, and this is what they want God to be.

“Go to a (fundamentalist) church … and ask that same question … You will most likely here accounts of great “victories” …  This is what the (fundamentalist) will want to hear, and this is what they want God to be.  A confrontational God, a warrior God, a judging God, a God that stands up and fights for their version of what is right.”

What makes the Evangelical, Evangelical?

The UMC did not comprehend that Fundamentalism does not seek unity, it is an ideology that seeks squash opposition and advance it’s own agenda. The UMC did not comprehend that Fundamentalism does not believe in democracy or democratic systems like the UMC. Fundamentalism only sees those systems as tools that can be manipulated, controlled and used for it’s own purpose. There is even accusations of vote buying at the convention, which is promised to be further investigated, but you can be sure that any results incriminating of the fundamentalists will be squashed.

 

The first thing that the UMC must do is stop kidding itself using words like “traditional” to describe any part of what happened this week.  This is a Fundamentalist plan to promote a Fundamentalist agenda.  It is as simple as that.  As long as the UMC proceeds with “traditional” blinders on, it will continue to be taken in by the Fundamentalist elements.

 

This is more than semantics.  Fundamentalism is not a Christian ideology, it does not matter what religion or philosophy it buries itself into, Fundamentalism remains Fundamentalism.  Methods are all that differ; in the UMC conference, the method was to use the Methodist “democratic” system to take advantage of the great desire for unity on the part of their opposition.  What resulted was pure Fundamentalism:  agree with them, do things their way, or be punished – dissention is not allowed.  Further, if you don’t like their agenda, then leave the conference.

 

The Fundamentalist, quite simply were very successful at imposing their agenda on the UMC while blocking any other alternative from being considered.  While the “progressive” side focused on very admirable principles of unity and acceptance, the Fundamentalist did not care about any of that.  If they had cared about unity, the One Church plan would have been the way to go because that was the plan that allowed for unity while acknowledging differences.  The Fundamentalist however does not care about unity, only imposing its own agenda.  To reiterated, what happened is pure Fundamentalism in action.
The UMC is a worldwide, political hierarchy.  It is cumbersome and difficult to understand even for the insider.  The concept of a worldwide, “democratic” church was something that the UMC prided itself in; however here this “strength” became a vulnerability.  In general, the “progressive” elements are not good at managing the politics of the organization, not so with the fundamentalist.  Fundamentalism completely dominated in this instance, promoting their own agenda.  Their domination was so complete that the “One Church” plan endorsed by the progressives, and the Council of Bishops, never even made it to the floor for a vote.  What was seen here was a complete takeover Methodist denomination by the Fundamentalist factions within its ranks.

 

I find it doubtful the UMC can recover from this, this was a devastating defeat for those who wish to follow the way of Jesus, and a huge “victory” for their Fundamentalist enemies; but God can still move in all of this.  If those who wish to follow Jesus denounce this anti-Christian Fundamentalism, recognize their own weaknesses that made the UMC so vulnerable, and look for something better, they can join to growing movement to Re-Form the church into what Christ had desired it to be.  This will not be as the UMC, that is lost, but it can definitely be better.

 

 

 

What do we do?

Like most of us I’m sure, I have watched the events of the last week unfold feeling almost a sense of disbelief.  We have had racial killings, attempted terrorist assassinations against, not one, but a number of former top officials, and today, and antisemitic mass murder in a synagogue.    Along with that we find denials, talk of conspiracies, accusations of “fake news”, or at best, perhaps insincere calls for unity from those who have, at least up till now, been the ones who seek to divide.

Even if you don’t want to believe that the political rhetoric of our country today has directly inspired the horrific bombing attempts, assassination attempts, murders, antisemitism, racism, and hate of this week, it certainly has not helped. It certainly has not sent a message that affirms Christian values, or any values, except the self indulgence of our leaders. Without that message, our leaders are subtly endorsing the violence and hate, giving it a wink and a nod when they should be condemning it without hesitation. They are emboldening those who seek to destroy.

The church in this country is already inept, powerless to confront the evil around it.  Instead it succumbs.  It casts its lot with the evil one.  It makes a deal to keep its doors open from one week to the next, but it has no power.

So to this I say, why not close?  Close, and see what you have left — will there be anything at all?  Perhaps not, or very little, but what is left, if anything, is what Jesus can use to bring the Kingdom of Heaven that He announced was already present 2000 years ago.  You are a stumbling block the way you are.

As Christian’s, we have no more choices, we must speak out, and we must do so now – in no uncertain terms. Evil is evil, and it is engulfing our country. It has already overcome the evangelical churches, it has crept it’s way into all our churches, and it threatens to destroy our democracy and even worse, destroy Christ’s Church in this country. Now is the time for the resistance church, churches that will say no to the anti-christ that rules in American churches.   Now is the time we must call on ourselves, each one of us, to return to Jesus.

Jesus calls to us.  He stands at the doors of our churches and knocks.  His Holy Spirit still moves where we invite Him in.  There is still hope for those who open the door of their heart to let Him in.

Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message. (Mark 1:15 MSG Version)

 

Join Me in the Re-Formed Church

Matthew 28:18-20 MSG Version:

“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

Jesus in His Great Commission to His followers, just before His ascension, told them to “train” and “instruct” everyone they met to “practice” all that He had taught them.  This means His life, ministry, teaching, and example.  We can not simplify this to an easy act of “conversion”, we must dedicate ourselves to discipleship.  This is what re-forming the Church means:  Not simple conversion, but building discipleship.

The Wander2Jesus Re-Formed Church Online http://w2j.wanderingmanproductions.com/