Thursday, February 01, 2007

RESTORING METHODISM pt. 3


What we call church is often a conspiracy of cordiality. Pastors learn to pacify rather than preach to their Ananiases and Sapphiras. We say we do it out of "love." Usually, we do it as a means of keeping everyone as distant from everyone else as possible. You don’t get into my life and I will not get into yours. - Source: "Resident Aliens" by Stanley Hauerwas.

Decision # 9: "Recognizing the reality of the United Methodist Church". To acknowledge that Methodism in the late 1930's that culuminated in the 1960's and has been reflected through immense losses in membership and worship attendance. The United Methodist Church, in some major aspects, has gone the wrong way. We must now acknowledge those wrong turns, reverse them and return to our foundational, biblical, theological, and practical Wesleyan roots. - James and Molly Scott, in Restoring Methodism: 10 Decisions for United Methodist Churches in America

Brought to you by the People of the United Methodist Conspiracy of Cordiality.

read part 1 and part 2


2 comments:

Tigger23505 said...

Having returned to the Methodist church after a number of years with the Plymouth Brethren. I find that my perspective is a little bit different. An additional skew in my viewpoint comes from 20 years in the US Navy.

One method that I picked up a number of years ago is the Boyd Cycle or OODA loop. Properly used the Boyd Cycle becomes a continuous process of evaluation of any situation. We tend to be really good at going through the process once. The problem is that while you go through the process, the dynamic situation that you are studying is changing. Once you assume that you have the perfect answer to a static situation you are likely to go off track very quickly.

A case in point is the recent discovery by the Willow Creek Churches that much of their program, which had not been regularly reviewed had in fact not achieved the goals which had been set.

Up until the late 1930 the Methodist Episcopal South branch of the church engaged in a quarterly cycle of conferences, I don't have documentary proof at hand but it appears from the records that I have seen that it was much like the annual charge conference. By looking at the state of the church on a regular and frequent basis they were more likely to catch problems early. In addition there seems to have been a more self reliant aspect to the operation of individual churches.

While I don't advocate a blind return to the old methods, we need to be careful to review regularly where we are, in respect to where we were at the last review, and the direction that we were trying to go.

Perhaps most important is the moral courage to admit that our pet programs have not achieved the aim early enough to make a substantive change.

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