aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Speaking to my fellow traditionalist UMs

John Wesley came to America in 1736. He left in 1737. His tenure was not a success. He was already an ordained minister in the Church of England, but he had no personal faith. Upon his return to England, he said he had gone to America to convert the Indians, but who would convert him?

This is the true meaning of that annoying canard, "Wherever you go, there you are." We take our selves with us wherever we go, and with us comes all our baggage, all our dysfunction. If we are going through hell, it's usually because we brought our personal hell with us. Many of us worked long and hard to construct our particular hell, and we're not giving it up just because you say we should. So there.

The application of this to the situation in The United Methodist Church should be obvious. Once the phase of separation (however contrived) is over, and there are multiple denominations where once there was only one, each of those successor orgs will be what the people in them already are.

I think that for the centerprogs, that means not liberation, but accelerated decline, punctuated by ever gaudier celebrations of wokeness. But the church will at last be as they think it should be; what matter that there are far fewer of them? So goes the thinking in all the mainline denoms that have bought into the progressive agenda. But that's what they want, so leave them to it.

I'm more concerned about those who leave to form a new, traditionalist denom. For let's not think that's going to be a bed of roses. We trads have contributed to the dysfunction of The UMC in various ways; furthermore, we are not all of the same mind on many questions of policy and style, of worship language, of practice. A lot of difficult work is going to have to go into making a denom that isn't simply a collection of all our quirks. If we succeed at that, though, I think we will grow and prosper.

The goal is to grow and prosper, even in difficult times: to preach the gospel, disciple the nations, witness for Christ, stand by the widow and the orphan. We will no longer have the opposition from the centerprogs, we will not be weighed down by our structure. Ah, but we will still have our selves. And we have within us all we need to wreck the best of starts, unless we have a new beginning in our hearts.

Wesley came back from Georgia lost, at loose ends, discouraged. But in 1738, he had his heart "strangely warmed" at a meeting in Aldersgate Street. The self he now took with him across Great Britain was no longer the stumbling block it had been. Now, he could get something done. The result was the beginning of Methodism, which has now spread around the globe and has 80 million adherents.

Creating a new denomination isn't hard. Making it work is hard. And if we are the same old people we've always been, still fighting the same old battles (even though our opponents will now be in a different denom), it won't work. But if we allow God to make us new, then all that we set our hands to will demonstrate the power and glory of God. And we will do just fine.

  • Time Warp

    I’ve been researching old tunes to match the lyrics of “The Wife of Usher’s Well,” an old British ballad about a woman whose three sons who were lost…

  • The Eccentric and the Weirdo

    Many years ago, I read an essay in TIME magazine by Pico Iyer called, “The Eccentric and the Weirdo.” This followed upon some outrage committed by…

  • The diagnosis is the easy part

    A world dominated by China will be an uglier world. To keep China from bullying other nations, the US and our friends and allies need to decide where…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.