Rather than fight over institutional control I think progressives can do much better if they leave and create something that better resembles God’s Kingdom of love, justice, and compassion. To that end here are the ten things progressives should be doing or questions they should be asking.
Though the church began as an egalitarian revolution we now have transformed an organic and dynamic movement into a corporately structured morass of selfish political games, which is utterly bereft of transformative power. We are supposed to be salt and light to the world; a living example of a complete transvaluation of all that the world holds dear. But our vertical hierarchies just show us to be just another corporation, though terribly ineffective and growing more and more bankrupt by the day.
The simple truth of this is that bureaucracies cannot have simplicity in their words. The church cannot follow Jesus here. Our “yes” cannot be “yes” and our “no” cannot be “no.” Too many reports to give, too many meetings to attend, too much money to spend on institutional upkeep, too many missional efforts to ignore or just give lip service to.
However, in spite of my sincere hope that progressive United Methodists jump into the unknown mission ahead through doing things not yet explored, I feel the need to wade back into the conservative/liberal fight that has overtaken the church and prohibited anyone from moving forward. I do this because I find the framing of what is happening in the UMC to be so manipulative and demeaning by conservative elites.
It is interesting that when you begin to imagine what it could be like to let go of your anger and even more, to bless those who once rejected you, it is actually a little frightening. Anger is so comforting in so many ways; it keeps us safe and isolated. But the blurred vision of what loving others unconditionally – even those who have hurt you – brings a glimmer of liberation to light, though it still remains hazy and off in the distance.