aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

Grinchy thoughts

Much is being made these days of somebody in national leadership of the Tea Party movement (whom I'd certainly never heard of before) hoping that The UMC goes belly-up before too long. I don't think he's particularly the one to point out our faults, but faults we have and some of his criticism hits home. But it's not just us. The state of the Church is pretty low these days, at least among Protestants.

The soi-disant Progressives have pretty much wrecked the mainline Protestant denominations. They've backed all kinds of crazy things, substituted political ideology for doctrine, blithely ignored their own traditions as well as the core tradition of Christianity to make it up as they go along. They are very proud of all their handiwork, and think they've made a great improvement on things, but they spread sterility and denominational death wherever they go.

The Evangelicals within the mainline Protestant denominations used to think that they could sequester themselves from the Progressives' heresies and misrule, but this has been a futile effort. For better or for worse, we are all bound together. The Evangelicals cannot act as flotation chambers to keep The UMC going, for seepage occurs constantly -- from mere pastoral turnover, if nothing else. Meanwhile, the people who do get slam-bang, struck-by-lightning converted tend not to stay with us. They're looking for something real, and after a few years (more or less) of trying to make their home church and denomination act like the Church of Jesus Christ we advertised, they leave us to go looking for it somewhere else.

And what about the Evangelical denominations and independent churches: is that where you can find the Church we said we would be? You have only to walk into a Bible Book Store to see the soul of Evangelicalism: Kitsch. I went shopping for candles for Christmas Eve in one of these places yesterday, and left in a depressed mood. (BTW, Catholic bookstores aren't any better.)

I used to say that I had spent my whole adult life trying to make a religious holiday out of Christmas, and failing at it. Now, I look at The UMC in which I have labored for over thirty years, and I wonder if it wouldn't be more appropriate to say, I have spent my whole adult life trying to deliver on the promises The UMC makes about itself, only to find that there was nothing to cover the IOUs.

Maybe it was ever thus. St. Francis of Assisi looked on the Church of his day, and realized that the mess was too big for him to clean up. So he found a new way to do ministry. He didn't fight the Church, he just went and did his thing, and eventually the Church came around to his way of doing ministry. I look at our Annual Conference and General Conference and the General Agencies and I think, there is no way these can be salvaged, and the task of figuring out something to put in their place is beyond me. All I can do is what God has called me to do. The end results are in his hands.

So, I'll be over here if you need me, celebrating eucharist and baptizing those looking for the kingdom, teaching the Faith once given to the saints. Always glad to see you drop by. Stay a while, if you're weary. But if you're trying to sell me something, don't let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out.
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