The Mean Girl Manifesto: The UMC Traditionalist Plan

The Mean Girl Manifesto: The UMC Traditionalist Plan November 12, 2018

The Traditionalist Plan is a classic mean girl manifesto. “If you don’t follow MY rules, I will kick you out of the group. Nyah, Nyah, Nyah.”

Any rational group of delegates, assuming they are mature adults, seasoned with grace, and aware of their foibles, would laugh this plan out of the room. But I bet it wins. 

The mean girl manifesto: do what I say or leave. Now.OK, this post is probably only going to make sense to those who have been following the slowly sinking ship of The United Methodist Church, fractured by fights over the proper use of one’s genitalia.

A quick recap

The following info is for those who have blissfully remained unaware of the state of the UMC.

Only the General Conference (GC) of The United Methodist Church, which generally meets just every four years, can make changes to our Book of Discipline, which contains our constitution, doctrinal standards and the thousands of miscellanea and arcane rules which govern (theoretically) the day-to-day operations of the many churches and agencies that make up our connection.

The UMC is a global body. The non-US United Methodists, especially those from some African nations, have shown more substantially greater membership growth than the financially dominant US portion. The number of delegates from any given region to GC is determined by percentages of global membership stats.

If current growth and decline patterns continue, eventually the non-US delegates will outnumber the US delegates. We are already quite close to that dynamic. Hold on to this thought for a moment.

The increasing divide between US and overseas delegates

Many in the US churches, like the US as a whole, stand firmly in support of same-sex marriages and the full rights of human dignity given to all, no matter the sexual orientation or gender identity.

The vast majority of the overseas delegates, again especially those from the African conferences, see anything other than purely heterosexual activity as irredeemably evil. Thus, anything that may in any way support same-sex attraction or partnerships must have no possibility of church embrace or sanction.

The US church provides about 99% of the financial resources for the global church. Because of the overseas growth numbers, the GC is interestingly close to being in a situation where the non-US delegates can take complete control of the global connection, including making all budgetary decisions.

The non-US delegates will also have the power to enforce their sexual standards over the US church. Because of the nature of the way the overseas conferences are formed, the US does not have reciprocal power over them. Yeah, it’s complicated.

A near collapse of The UMC in 2016

Let’s go back to the use of our of genitalia. In 2016, the GC came perilously close to a complete collapse over petitions about to land on the legislative floor that dealt with human sexuality. Many of the US delegates wanted what is clearly discriminatory language in the Discipline about same-sex activities deleted. A minority of US delegates, along with most of the overseas delegates, want the language to stay and even be strengthened.

A last-minute appeal to the Bishops resulted in all legislation dealing with human sexuality temporarily removed from consideration so the Conference could continue with other mandatory business.

The appeal also resulted in the creation of A Commission on a Way Forward. The charge for the Commission: create a plan that will give us a way to actually move forward with renewed vitality in ministry as a united, global connection, even with the deep divisions over these issues.

The Bishops then arranged for a specially-called General Conference, which will be held this coming February 2019. At this time, delegates will vote on plans developed by The Way Forward.

Are you with me so far?

Read it!

The best thing possible for you to do right now is to click on this link, download the 236 page, single-spaced document you’ll find there, and print it off. That puts in your hands the 2019 Daily Christian Advocate (DCA), the advance edition of everything you ever wanted to know about GC 2019. It includes the complete report by The Way Forward. Read, with care and close attention, every word

The DCA also includes all motions to be brought to the GC2019 legislative committee for consideration–I believe there are 99 motions. That committee will determine what actually goes to the floor of the General Conference. Unfortunately, 864 people sit on that committee. Yes, you read that right: the one single legislative committee has 864 people on it. For more on this craziness, click here.

In case you didn’t slog through the entire DCA or the proposals, feel free to peruse my summary below.

My summary

The Way Forward ended up thoroughly discussing and laying out the possibilities for two different options for holding the church together and yet giving space for ministry contextualization.

The first is the One Church Plan. Relatively simple, truly elegant, and full of grace, it ensures that there is no coercion or pressure on any clergy or church or conference to violate their consciences in these highly disputed matters.

The upside: we stay together, essentially with our current form giving hope for long-term stability. We do not take votes–they are inherently divisive, something the Commission clearly understands–but we do give space and safety.

The downside: we have to act like adults, recognize that there is significant disagreement on the subject, and treat one another with peace-imbued humility over those differences.

The second is the Connectional Conference Plan. Far more complicated structurally, it divides the US into three conferences, affiliated not by geography, as the jurisdictions are now, but by general theological preference.

  1. Far right: no gays allowed and no connection with those who think differently on the subject.
  2. Center: let’s just quit talking about this and get back to doing ministry again, and
  3. Far left: if you don’t fully affirm non-hetero sex, then go away.

The upside: we can still manage to stay together and possibly not wreck the somewhat fragile pension situation (the Westpath report should be required reading for everyone), AND you only have to talk with people you agree with.

The downside: those people you disagree with? They still get to be called United Methodists.

And then there is the third plan, one not originally included in the Way Forward report. But . . . well, you know what pressure does, so it got a last minute inclusion. And there we have the “mean girl” manifesto.

I read it and thought, “Did the writers have ANYONE look at this to find some aroma of grace and humility?” Nope. Not possible.

It’s punitive, nastily so. Either agree with me (that means, NO GAYS EVER), or get out–and don’t even think about calling yourselves United Methodists again. Rip the insignia from your churches, your publications, your hymnals. Don’t CONSIDER trying to stay in if you are in the least sympathetic to same-sex couples because WE WILL FIND YOU AND PUNISH YOU!

The upside: You never, ever have to converse with or work in ministry beside someone you don’t agree with.

The downside: Jesus has left the building. And, by the way, so has the hope for stable pensions into the future, especially for our oldest and most vulnerable retirees.

Oh, one other thing: if by some stroke of fate, you, or perhaps a child or grandchild of yours is born intersexed, i.e., with ambiguous genitalia so that it is impossible to be categorized neatly as “male” or “female,” you no longer have personhood. Why? Because whatever gender you are assigned at birth is yours forever. Since no assignment is possible . . . I guess in the eyes of the Traditionalists, you are not really a human being made in the image of God. The trash heap for you!

Rules, rules, and more rules

Mean girls strategyWhen my sister and I were younger, and by the way, we are very close friends now and hold the deepest of love for each other, we had our share of sibling rivalries, particularly during the years we shared a bedroom.

I remember in one of my fits of pique that I decided I’d write out a set of rules as to when she could and could not talk to me or enter the room or basically breathe.

Yeah,  I was the older of the two. And yeah, I had my “mean girl” tendencies as well, although I was never the popular one who could terrorize classmates with them. But try to terrorize my sister? That’s another story.

Anyway, the more rules I wrote, the more I needed to write. Each rule had to be modified by yet another set of rules. Finally, even in my immaturity, I realized the silliness of trying to do a relationship based on rules and we just went back to the normal fighting with each other.

But that sums up the Traditionalist plan: rules, rules, and more rules. Violation means expulsion. No options. No differing opinions permitted.

And that is why the Traditionalist Plan is a classic mean girl manifesto. Do exactly this and don’t do exactly that and if you do cross that line, I will make sure you pay and pay mightily. I will ostracize you; I will hang you out to dry; to use today’s term, I will “ghost” you permanently.

Any rational group of delegates, assuming they are mature adults, seasoned with grace, and aware of their own foibles, would laugh this plan out of the room.

But it will probably pass. Remember I told you about the composition of the delegates to GC? There are enough ultra-conservative US delegates (of course, they call themselves the “orthodox,” or “the right ones”) to join forces with the non-US delegates to hijack the Conference.

This coalition will claim only for themselves the name “United Methodists,” although surely even they realize that such a name carries deep irony in this situation. After claiming the name, they will systematically eliminate every single clergy, Bishop or church that disagrees with them.

That’s the mean girls’ technique in the hands of mean adults.

As I said, Jesus has left the building.


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  • The Mouse Avenger

    I hope we’ll be able to come to some sort of a consensus on this issue soon. As a bisexual liberal Methodist, this is tearing me apart… 🙁

    • Cynthianna Matthews

      *Hugs* to you, TMA. This is why all this political posturing is nothing if not the work of the devil. It is hurting people. It is not helping people. And worse of all, it is not helping us show the Love of God to each other in the denomination or to the world at large. What kind of example is that to non-Christians? At the end of the day, those outside the U.M. Church and Christianity at large will go their own way and snicker at us, saying: “There goes those ‘so-called Christians’ again attacking each other and beating up on gay folks and saying hatred and bigotry are all good things. So glad I’m not one of those pompous hypocrites.” I think Jesus had something to say about hypocritical people like that–he called them “whitewashed tombs” or something, didn’t he? It’s time we stop being “tombs” and dead in our sin and without love and compassion for ALL of God’s children and become the actual community of love and compassion Christ modeled for us. (Because, as you know, Jesus never once said a word about stoning gay folks or who could marry and who couldn’t, did he? Why are we saying he did and being so hateful to deny the joy of marriage to all consenting adults just because we harbor a personal prejudice against gays?)

  • stan c

    1. now write an article on the spoiled little kids who throw a tantrum when they don’t get their way or the teenagers who break their parent’s curfew and then get po’d when they get grounded.
    2. the only thing uniting us now is the trust clause. the traditional plan’s gracious exit is the only intellectually honest report that acknowledges this.
    3. and this gets to power and control – becuase who ever has it, ultimately pushes the other side around. there are no “adults in the room.” Look at what’s happening in the Episcopal Church with B012 – progressives imposing on traditionalists in the name of LGBT+ justice.
    4. and the sky is falling over pensions in just not true. Wespath is probably the one thing in the UMC functioning well. even the gracious exit strategy makes sure that churches who would leave fund the one of three pension accounts that is fully-funded by the denom and not the clergy person.

  • Dale Drum

    Let’s see; U.S. Churches not following scripture and membership plummets. African churches follow scripture and membership is exploding. In the mean girl spirit, just saying.

    • Ann

      Depends on what is meant by “following scripture,” I suppose

      • Dale

        That is the nut of it. But if one can not figure that out, then I do not have an answer that wouldn’t be offending to some.

        • P J Evans

          Which is more important to you: scripture or Jesus?

          • Dale

            Why? What’s your point?

          • Cynthianna Matthews

            The point is that “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh.” Jesus is who a follower of “The Way” follows–not just words printed on a page. Words themselves have no life without love and action behind them. Words that condemn and hate do not have love and therefore are not from Christ. If “God is love” and the Trinity is real to you, then you must ask yourself: why do I worship the words of hate and division rather than the God of Love and Harmony?

          • soter phile

            Problem: what you are calling “words of hate and division” are the same words Jesus (“the God of Love & Harmony”) said are the Word of God. To the least pen stroke.

            You can’t have it both ways.
            Yes, Jesus defines love… and…
            No one in Scripture has a higher view of Scripture than Jesus.

            If you claim to follow Jesus, why wouldn’t you share his view of the Scriptures?

          • Cynthianna Matthews

            As someone stated above, when Jesus was asked “What is the greatest law?” Jesus answered “Love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul.” Jesus never once said, “Oh, and by the way, do NOT love people who happened to be gay or different from you. And for added measure, be as nasty and mean-spirited as you possibly can to anyone who would treat these gay people as equals to heterosexuals. Be sure they can’t marry, too.” Somehow in all my years of Bible study I’ve yet to come across Jesus saying any of those words. Perhaps you should read the Scriptures for yourself and see. Jesus is God and God is Love–Love seeks no wrong but rejoices in the truth. The truth is those who “gay bash” are not acting in a loving manner. They are not acting according to God’s will and they are not following the words of Jesus. They are acting out their own hate-filled prejudices against gay people. Why should a follower of Jesus want to support prejudice and hate in the world? (Answer: If you follow Jesus you want to love your neighbor, not hate your neighbor. If you don’t agree, then perhaps it’s time to find a new religion that preaches hate instead of unconditional love.)

          • soter phile

            To be clear, Jesus said it was the sum of the law. People seem to forget that there is no sum without the constituent parts. It certainly does not mean love is contrary to the law. Love is not “do whatever you want.” It is the SUM of the law – and the law delineates between what is good and what is not. Do not call ‘good’ what Love says is not good.

            Love does rejoice with the truth – and the truth is not always gentle. For example, go read Mt.23. Jesus is not always simply ‘nice.’ Sometimes he is very direct. Is that the embodiment of love? Biblically, it is. But not by your logic.

            A father’s love for his alcoholic son ENTAILS hating the alcoholism that is destroying his son. It is not “bashing” his son to stand against it. On the contrary, the father’s love for his son necessarily means he has a settled opposition to anything destroying his son – even & especially when his son is willfully embracing it.

            You want to appeal to the concept of love without letting Love Incarnate define it for you. The same Jesus who welcomed all also said “go & sin no more.”

          • blogcom

            God of love and harmony you say———you must be a New Age disciple who infuses false Christianese into your Pagan speak.

          • Cynthianna Matthews

            No, I’m the daughter of an ordained minister and the granddaughter of missionaries. What’s your point with the name-calling? You aren’t demonstrating God’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” by name-calling. You’re just acting mean-spirited. Is that the definition of “Christianity” for you? Perhaps those who name-call and do not love their neighbors are the ones who are not following Christ?

        • Ann

          Actually, it’s not all that hard, though some certainly make it so. Jesus told us very clearly what is most important in Matthew 22:

          36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

          37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

          38 This is the first and great commandment.

          39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

          40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

          • blogcom

            Why are you so desperate?

          • Ann

            Your question makes no sense at all.

    • Your conclusion is based on a logical fallacy known as “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” the mistaken idea that because B happens after A, A is undeniably the cause of B. The relationship between the Church’s fidelity and its membership growth is complex, with many inter-related factors.

      Plus, it is naive to assume that outcomes in the US and in Africa can be compared in an apples-to-apples manner. The two cultures are utterly different, so we should expect causes and effects to be different as well.

      • Dale

        Wow! You said a mouthful. Some people are too smart.

    • Cynthianna Matthews

      Membership in the Nazi Party exploded in Germany in the 1930s because many felt pressured to join to keep their jobs and their social status. Others joined because they genuinely believed in its tenants–they truly believed in the superiority of whites and the inferiority of other non-white groups. So, folks who followed the German Nazi “scripture” and allowed its membership to grow by leaps and bound were doing “good” and those who opposed the hatred and bigotry (at the cost of their own lives at times) were doing “evil” in the world in the 1930s-40s? That’s the analogy you are using, and I hope you would be able to see the fallacy in your logic. Just because a group gains members in one part of the world doesn’t mean it’s doing good and/or following the Love of God in Christ. Many, many groups have used the name of Jesus to hide a multitude of sins against their neighbors–some have even killed others in the name of Christ, such as the Conquistadors did to the Aztecs. Just because a group has the power and greater numbers at one point in history doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on the right side of things. Genocide isn’t showing the Love of God, now is it? Why should we follow an “exploding membership” that is preaching hate/prejudice instead of God’s Love in Christ to the world? As practicing Christians, we should want to have nothing to do with them really. I realize many “on paper-only Christians” will beat me over the head with their Bible and tell me that “Jesus loves you, but he hates the way you think” and condemn me to hell. Fortunately, I know Jesus loves me just as I am, even me, and that is more than enough to deal with their close-mindedness and stone hearts.

  • I’ve made these two statements so many times now, and I believe they ring so true, these have become my most common mantras whenever I can’t avoid thinking about the fate of the UMC:

    (1) The Church cannot make faithful, effective decisions by voting governed by majority rule.

    We have bought into this procedural method hook, line, and sinker because we have been culturally immersed in it all our lives, but it is totally antithetical to the Spirit that indwells the Church. Any substantive decisions on which a consensus cannot be reached (or at the very least a super-majority agree) should not be made.

    (2) The drive to make the UMC a legislatively linked global institution was a mistake.

    Whether it was a naively idealistic but misguided dream of a single worldwide Wesleyan Church as a counterpart to Roman Catholicism, or a calculated, cynical power play driven by the sinful human desire to win and thereby gain control over others, I fear it may well be our death rather than our redemption. Autonomous regional churches, free to organize themselves for mission and ministry according to their distinct cultural contexts, but connected through a re-envisioned World Methodist Council could have accomplished all the good aims of globalization, while avoiding the fatal dismemberment of the denomination, accelerated by the sinful aims of globalization.

    I fear it may be too late for the UMC, the denomination that introduced me to God’s love in Christ 48 years ago (at a Lay Witness Movement at St. Matthew’s UMC on N. Shepherd in Houston), baptized me, married me, baptized my children, to which I dedicated 38 years of my life in ordained ministry, and which is now breaking my heart.

    But I hope and pray that whatever survives . . . or rises from the ashes of our prideful self-immolation . . . will learn from this tragedy and avoid these two fundamental mistakes in the future.

  • Dan

    Genitalia is just the presenting issue for a lack of orthodox belief among UMC clergy. When I had my UMC pastor openly state that she did not believe in the virgin birth or bodily resurrection of Christ, and then further opine that she represented “mainstream” Methodism, I knew it was time to leave. When UMC clergy, such as the infamous Joe Sprague, cannot say any of the ancient creeds without “crossing their fingers”, then the UMC has a deeper issue than genitalia. A 1997 sociologist survey of clergy showed that among Protestants, UMC clergy had the highest percentage of those who denied the physical resurrection of Christ at 51%. Would anyone like to bet that this figure has not risen in the intervening years.

    Lots of folks are fond of quoting Galatians 5:22-24 but conveniently neglect the immediate preceding verses 16-21. God is love, but love is not God and speaking the truth in love is compassionate and inclusive. Finally, I really wish that a more accurate name than the “One Church Plan” would be used. Perhaps the “God gave them up to dishonorable passions plan” would be more accurate, or on an apocryphal note the “Once Church Plan.”

    • Jon Beets

      I would bet the 51% who don’t believe in the physical resurrection are progressives….

  • LastManOnEarth

    “The US church provides about 99% of the financial resources for the global church.”

    Seems like the US church needs to stop funding bigotry and find better, more humane places to support.

    • soter phile

      Funding bigotry? Did you read that paragraph?
      the author is saying “we’ve got the money; forget those Africans.”
      Ironies abound.

  • swbarnes2

    I find it fascinating that you discuss these proposals 100% in terms of how it will make straight people feel, and 0% in terms of how it will make gay members feel. Your “center” group, which you seem to think is so obviously moderate, completely misses the point, because the whole point is how should gay and transgender people be ministered to?

    The downside: we have to act like adults, recognize that there is significant disagreement on the subject,

    “The subject” that you aren’t honest enough to straightforwardly describe, is whether or not gay and transgender people are sick and diseased monsters who prey on children.

    You need to be honest about what solution you are pushing: “If my kid were gay, I’d welcome people in my church who thought he deserved to die because of how he was born. I’d expect my son to respect those people and their opinions of him”

    • Ivan T. Errible

      Religion, for gay people, is just another drag show.

      • TS (unami)

        Not funny.

        • Ivan T. Errible

          Not really trying to make anyone laugh-but thank you for playing!

  • Reese

    Well, hush my mouth, but I am just shocked at such a sexist metaphor from a leading famous man-bashing liberal women’s rights blogger, Ms. Christy Thomas! I can’t imagine what hell would result if an old conservative like me were to use the metaphor of endless disagreement being like the nagging of women or that the internal hostilities equaled an office full of women with no man to organize them… But, Christy has her own rules on righteous indignation…

    Yet, I think we would agree that the African Methodists are facing an unimaginable financial crisis. A split in the UMC is inevitable – not because we are acting like children, but because we are adults and Christians with our own certain sets of values. Many of us learned those values from preachers, teachers, parents, aunts, uncles and even drill instructors. To call us children, or little girls, is most insulting. Others have different values for different reasons. I don’t condemn them in the way we traditionalists are insulted, I just don’t accept their values in my church. Our opposing positions are non-negotiable, and those who will pay the biggest penalty are those who have built their foreign missionary programs on our contributions.

    Those contributions are dwindling and will soon take a major hit. Unless leadership of all groups stops trying to force compromise and “love” between irreconcilable values, and thus find that amicable way to split without too much litigation or disruption, we will all suffer – our missionary partners will perish.
    Remember: the Lutherans split over these issues in the 70s. The Presbyterians split over these issues in the 80’s. The Episcopalians chose not to split, but to go liberal and they are about one generation away from disappearing. Our internal strife is not just us, it is universal. Like in any ugly divorce, the “children”, our missionaries, will suffer the most.

    • TS (unami)

      Ahem. The Episcopal Church is growing, actually. And we welcome people that Jesus did, even if others do not.

      • Reese

        Ahem. Seriously? Not according to these:
        Why is the Episcopal church near collapse – Beliefnet
        New York City’s “Church Center,” the national Episcopal headquarters, up for sale.
        why is the mormon church growing and the episcopal church …
        Nov 17, 2008 · The mormon church is one of the only organized religion growing left in America and the Episcopal church is FASTEST shrinking church in America.
        Episcopal Church Continues Uninterrupted Decline – Juicy …
        Declines in Episcopal Church membership continue a downward spiral that began in the early 2000s. Updated statistics made available this week by the Episcopal Church Office of Research

        • TS (unami)

          2016? You come at me with OLD reports? Sorry, but that’s not been our experience AT ALL in our diocese.

          • Reese

            Somehow, my reply did not show up, so excuse this second reply: Do you not know of the $18MILLION ECUSE has spent in lawsuits to keep control of buildings and grounds of parishes that want to leave and join the Anglican church of just leave? Hundresds of parishes have closed. My former small church has about 40 over two services each Sunday, down about half since early 2000 when I and others left over the lesbian bishop. and gay marriage. Have you not heard that ECUSA is trying to sell the New York headquarters? Yours is a truly unique diocese, I’ll say

          • Reese

   shows the “Mass” exodus from ECUSA to the Anglican and others. Many stories and scores and history of a once-great denomination’s determination to disappear.-

          • TS (unami)

            Gee, your *former* parish is declining… one that you *no longer attend*…

            Funny that, because my *current* parish is GROWING — several hundred strong and climbing. Maybe our welcome to those pushed out by others is a factor.

            And, gosh, the NYC building up for sale? Wow… I never knew that religious organizations both bought AND sold property from time-to-time for a wide range of reasons. But you’re not Episcopalian anymore, so all you can do is guess and bad-mouth whatever good and viable reason there may be for selling and buying another property.

          • Reese

            Noting your no comment on $18 MILLION in legal expenses against break-away parishes… LOL

          • TS (unami)

            And you are not Episcopalian, so what dog do you have in this?
            Funny how you just side-stepped my comment that our parish is *thriving and growing*.

            Oh. And BTW…
            Church assets are a thing. When a group wants to splinter themselves off from ANY denomination, they don’t have the right to seize those assets that are owned by the diocese.
            Tough. That’s part of your decision to be a Schismatic.

          • Reese

            The cancer of liberalism cost me my denomination. I was on the Vestry of two different parishes over 25 years, was proud of our churches, volunteered, mowed, etc… My values would not let me continue as that cancer metastasized in the early 2000s. Went to the UMC and now the same cancer is about to take over there. I use the ECUSA to warn fellow Methodists what is going to happen. Now, on ownership, I think if we all knew then what we know now, we would not contribute to “building campaigns” if we knew that the denomination would let us pay, but keep the deed. Episcopalians are learning and Methodists will soon be learning about that sham rip-off. If we locals pay, we locals should own. We live and learn…

          • Reese

            P.S. “Tough” for me? The reality that we “Schismatics” can’t leave and take the church WE paid for with us is tough, but we can still LEAVE. And we have. We continue! ECUSA is down over 40% if you also count those who just don’t come anymore. Total ECUSA pew attendance rivals toilets for being flushed. Your single church, no doubt in a very liberal area, is growing great, but 100’s have closed. They are vacant, or are now bars/restaurants or torn down for strip centers. We just leave, refusing to offer legitimacy to lifestyles we find immoral, not to mention, ECUSA’s stupid and arrogant support of global warming hoax, etc. Tough ain’t it?

          • TS (unami)

            EVERY MAJOR RELIGION in America is DOWN.

            Sheesh. Read the Pew Report.

          • Reese

            Mostly MAJOR RELIGIONS are down because they have sold out their values and morals to the cancer of liberalism. The big no-nonsense non-denominational churches are growing, as is the “Cowboy Church” we now attend (good old gospel, toe-tappin’ music and a message with rules, regs and hope – not too much hype, pomp and circumstance). You denied the dramatic decline in the ECUSA in your first response and have proven in ensuing posts that you know that. That misrepresentation is what liberals do, isn’t it?

          • TS (unami)

            Cowboy Church. Do you actually ride your horse to church? I know that’s a thing in parts of TX, but never heard of it elsewhere.

          • Reese

            Elsewhere does not matter! But, other non-denoms continue to grow -except in liberal thought-controlled areas.

          • TS (unami)

            What is it with all the “liberal” this and that? Everything isn’t political, Reese.

          • Reese

            The battle between good and evil is constant and on every stage of our lives. Liberals try to destroy our traditions in government, education, social and certainly in the foundations of our culture, our religion. We who believe in our Constitution, as written and proven over two centuries, we who believe in Bible teachings of over 2000 years, we who believe what our parents and scouts and churches taught us are on guard on every front in every way.

          • TS (unami)

            While you pander and look to a man who is a blatant liar, racist, xenophobe, homophobe, transphobe, and p*ssy-grabbing misogynist as your Dear Leader…

            I’m not going any further into politics with you. The hypocrisy of Fundies calling that man “God’s choice” when he is demonstrably anti-Christ and everything Jesus taught is astounding.

          • Reese

            “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…” or how about Slick Willie’s actual rapes, evidently he wasn’t satisfied to just grab. Merry Christmas, liberal.

          • Reese

            P.S. I will agree frustration at anyone saying Trump was “God’s Choice”. God has a universe to run and I do not believe he has time or inclination for American politics. We 63,000,000 made that choice and polls show 90% are still with it. Plus some blue-state coal and steel workers have joined us. We Americans made the choice because we want the wall to protect our families and jobs, we want no Paris accord crap – as do the French people evidently, we do not want NAFTA and it is leaving and we want conservative Supremes who respect and honor our Constitution as written – the same one I swore to protect and defend over 50 years ago and still consider myself bound by that pledge. But, these are things of men on earth with His influence and guidance, not his personal intervention. Can we close on that agreement?

          • TS (unami)

            When did you “choose” your heterosexual “lifestyle”?

          • TS (unami)

            Yeah, let’s just pollute and pour nasty sh*t into the air without reserve… Hey, we won’t be around. New Earth, right?

      • Adrian

        The numbers don’t lie. The number of baptized members in ECUSA has declined from 2.3M in 2000 to 1.7M in 2017, and average Sunday attendance has fallen in the same time from 850K to about 550K. You may be seeing an uptick in your own church, but the overall trend is a sharp decline, as it is in most of the mainline Protestant churches.

        • TS (unami)

          All churches across the board are in decline.

          • Adrian

            So the Episcopal Church is growing, and all churches across the board are in decline? It can’t be both.

          • TS (unami)

            All churches are in decline, but our diocese is growing.

            Why do you even care if you’re not Episcopalian?

  • soter phile

    a) “your” side has all the money (99%) & matches culture (LGBT-affirming)
    b) “their” side is 3rd world, growing, & actually believes the Bible is God’s Word

    In this analogy, who better fits the “mean girls” paradigm?

    • Ivan T. Errible

      Are you suggesting that “progressives” and the 3rd world could ever be in conflict?
      I’m shocked!!!!

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Churches are ridiculous.

    • jekylldoc

      Humans are ridiculous.

  • Joan Watson

    Was John Wesley a “mean girl” when he left the Fetter Lane Society over theological disagreements and set up his own society at the Foundry? And those disagreements were not as severe as what we are talking about. He took his “mean girl” stance a step further: he was very particular about what could and could not be preached at the societies under his direct supervision. So Methodism as Wesley envisioned it and we all try to claim it is the result of a theological division and Wesley monitored what was taught. Let’s go one step farther back: was Martin Luther also a “mean girl” when he nailed his theses on the door, the first step in the eventual birth of Protestantism? Oh my, Protestantism was born because of theological disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church. And once Protestantism was launched, how many denominations has it split into? How many denominations now claim a Wesleyan heritage? Where in the history of the institutional church has there not been a split over theology?
    The traditionals are not “mean girls”, they are speaking a hard truth that you do not want to hear: just as much as you think traditionals are out of kilter, we think you are just as out of kilter and we are tired of butting heads with you and would love for you to have the complete freedom to do and live as you see fit which would give us the freedom to do as we see fit. Just like the Fetter Lane Society and Wesley’s society at the Foundry were free to do. Wesley understood that opposing theologies could not coexist in the same religious organization; he wrote a sermon about it titled “The Catholic Spirit”.

    • jekylldoc

      But that “complete freedom” will not include pensions, despite a lifetime of work for the church.

  • fractal

    This is what I remember of the Methodists.

    In 1970 the Sixties had finally hit the midwest.
    In my city, there were lots of “alternative” kids with nowhere to go to have fun in a safe space.
    The Methodists set up a cafe and coffee bar in the middle of the city; other than funding it, their presence wasn’t noticed, and the kids loved to go there!
    It was the place you could find out where to get housing, free health care, news of the next demonstration or a job that would tolerate long hair on men.

    Still am thankful to the Methodists for doing so, and not making the place all preachy and Jesus-fied.
    It was ground zero for us “babes in the woods from the suburbs” when we just didn’t have the experience to make good decisions.