The “majority” almost always votes with the current power block. But the prophetic voices come from the margins, from the people without that all-corrupting power.
The “majority” voted for Barabbas to be spared, not Jesus. Holy conferencing, the centerpiece of the United Methodist connection, is completely shut down by Robert and his currently
Holy conferencing, the centerpiece of the United Methodist connection, shuts down with Robert and his carefully followed, labyrinth and manipulatable Rules of Order in charge.
Four: The “God must be blessing it because it is growing” mantra.
Cancers grow and grow rapidly. So do the kinds of weeds that choke healthy growth. People flock to easy Christianity, authoritarian theologies, and cheap grace because they justify spiritual and mental laziness.
The decisions to define a church or a clergy person as “effective” based on how many people show up for worship and how much money they give compromises the core of the gospel.
Yes, healthy things grow. If a church does not grow, there is something unhealthy about it and it needs uncovering and healing. Rootbound, totally-self-centered churches should be repotted and replanted–and sometimes that hurts a lot.
But fast growth means nothing in the scheme of holiness or blessing. Healthy growth comes in different forms and at different rates.
Five: The current adoration of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
This cumbersome, nearly unreadable, often contradictory, many-times amended book, possibly fully understood only by the few experts who define their lives by legal minutia, is slowly strangling the life from this one glorious connection.
Grapevines have to be radically pruned yearly to stay vibrant producers. With proper care, they can live for generations and bless all who enjoy their abundant fruit.
An untrimmed grapevine looks sturdy and can provide great shade, but it produces little fruit. That shade too often protects us from seeing the real light. We must radically trim The Book of Discipline to bring life back to this connection.
Six: The structure that permits decisions that affect the entire church made only once every four years.
Sigh. This structure probably did work quite well in the 1800’s. But now? Seriously? Gulliver again anyone? Things turn on a dime now, and our inflexibility leaves inadequate space and zero flexibility for good responses to rapid changes.