United Methodist like Anglican/Episcopalian?

Diana Butler Bass has an interesting post here titled “Rowan Williams and Katharine Jefferts Schori: Anglican Smack-Down.”

I’m interested in anything Ms. Butler-Bass has to say, having read her The Practicing Congregation, Christianity for the Rest of Us and her latest A People’s History of Christianity. I follow her on Twitter. This post is about the Anglican Church (and the Episcopal Church), but I find a lot in it that resonates with the current state of The United Methodist Church.

I find this particularly interesting because Butler-Bass makes clear that the issues are not theological – at least not theological in the liberal v. conservative or the orthodox v. heretic sense.

Read her post and tell me (us) what you think.

2 thoughts on “United Methodist like Anglican/Episcopalian?

  1. “The argument isn’t really about gay and lesbian people nor is it about, as some people claim, the Bible or orthodoxy. Rather, the argument reprises the oldest conflict within Anglicanism–What kind of Anglicans are we to be? How do we relate to the world and culture around us? And very specifically now: What kind of Anglicans are we to be in the 21st century? And how to we relate to the plurality of cultures in which we find ourselves?”

    I think these questions really define where we are right now as United Methodists. We must decide what our values are, and how are we going to be relevant to the culture that is around us.

    “Despite their smack down, I think that Rowan Williams and Katharine Jefferts Schori might actually agree on the fundamental questions of identity, mission, and 21st century change. I also suspect that Rowan Williams would secretly find the “sweeping tidal change” more spiritually interesting than trying to keep the Anglican institutional ship afloat in the waters. But he thinks that he’s in charge–and he’ll be captain of his Titanic until the last.”

    I think this represents the struggle between the older generation and the upcoming generation of UM’s. Essentially, I think the two coming together and agreeing and seeing the needs around us would be so simple. But the one group does not want to let go of what they are comfortable with, the structure that they have come accustomed to.

  2. I think about a paraphrase of an Alasdair MacIntyre: Whose authority? Which Hierarchy?

    I’m one of those who yearns for a less hierarchical, less top-down structure for the UMC. But I also yearn for the UMC to find its center in orthodox theology.

    I’m suspicious of (mostly) bi-coastal urban elites who dismiss those who disagree with them as ignorant, uneducated, fundamentalist homophobes, whether those elites are found leading our denominations or our country and its other institutions. Though I’m not a Nietzschean, I suspect that their pleas for universalisms, individualism, etc., is an instance of their will to power.

    All institutions have power and authority. If they don’t, they don’t hang together as institutions. While I imbibe the anti-institutional spirit of the age, I can’t reject all institutions (marriage, family, church, school, state, etc.). What I work from – and what other folks work from, whether admitted or not – is a particular vision of institutions. My anti-hierarchialism exists with a firm conviction that the Kingdom of God is a Kingdom – with Jesus as King. He IS the authority, and part of being a Christian, a follower of Jesus, is submitting to his authority. Saying, “I’m a modern/American, and against all hierarchy and authority” does not set me in a good place vis-a-vis the Kingdom.

    That’s a long, winding way of saying that I DO think this issue (and related issues) IS theological, in that it is rooted not merely in philosophy, culture or ideology, but in substantive theological convictions and visions.

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