Second Badge of Honor

*scream heard in the night*

As you may recall, my first badge of honor was when the IRD started following me on twitter, which was after Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren did the same. I was amused at the IRD’s clear interest in my star-wars blog posts.

Then, today, I receive my second badge of honor.

Oh yeah, that’s right: the big guy himself, the main agent in charge of UMC destabilization…Mark Tooley.

Hilarious. Now, I’ve met Mr. Tooley twice: once when he covered an event at my alma mater for the IRD, and once in line for coffee at General Conference. I didn’t get the ominous feeling from him like Luke Skywalker by the Dagobah cave or Harry Potter next to a dementor. Maybe it’s all hype. Or, from the look at his twitter feed, all self-aggrandizement.

Ah well. I’ll claim it as a badge of honor anyway, and keep doing what I’m doing, because apparently I’m attracting the attention of all the wrong people. Rock on.

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  1. John Leek says

    “the main agent in charge of UMC destabilization”

    That’s a bit far don’t you think? I’ve disagreed with Mark publically and privately and, but as much as I may disagree on politics or tactics I’ve never seen him in that way.

    If we’re going to blame people do you see the reconciling movement as less disruptive?

    I personally would count sin as “the main agent in charge of UMC destabilization.”

    • says

      I think there’s a difference between destabilization and destruction. In the latter case, Sin most certainly is the main agent of destruction. I’m totally with you there, John.

      But the purpose of destabilization is to distract and weaken. The expressed purpose of the IRD is to blunt the UMC’s social witness against the ideological ends the IRD supports (started with socialism and has expanded since then). Since those ideological ends are not shared by me in the least, then I can honestly say that I see those goals as destabilizing the church not refining the church.

      In the end, the doctrine and polity is set by 1000 people every 4 years who are supposed to listen to the Spirit, not the IRD, not me. As I alluded to in my delegates not representatives post, I pray for a disruptive Spirit rather than a disruptive anything else.


      • says

        I think what caused me to respond to begin with was the tone. It almost seemed like you wrote a post just to say you didn’t like the Mr. Tooley and to call him out as “wrong people.”

        Perhaps I’ve overly sensitive, but when I read language that turns anyone, especially within our particular tribe, into “other” it particularly irks me.

        (I’ve responded to the content of your comment below.)

  2. says

    Living out discipleship means living out Jesus Christ for the world which means acting that out politically/communally and personally in ego-less action.

    Using an empty Jesus and an empty church for political gain is discipleship to self, it is self justification, though it may be hidden behind a veil of righteousness. It is known by its judgment, exclusiveness, its power, its glory, its fear, and its comfort.

    The former is known by its suffering with the poor and the outcasts, humility, and love of God and neighbor.

    The struggle of emptiness is the greatest battle the church doesn’t fight. We are oftetn in the fog of fights over the crumbs of who will have political power over a dying denomination.

  3. says

    Distraction and weakening. I think groups the IRD oppose have done more to do that than they and their allied groups. Do I agree with them on all? Not hardly, but I’d hesitate to blame them for even a fraction of our church fights. In fact I probably disagree with them on political issues at least as often as I agree.

    Here is the expressed purpose of the IRD: “We are Christians working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.”

    I personally don’t agree that democracy is necessarily God’s preferred form of government (though I definitely appreciate the benefits here). It’s hardly “destabilizing” to support “biblical and historical teachings” is it?

    I had other issues with the “delegates vs representatives” post, but I think that is a different issue altogether. (On that issue though is the question of whether pastors can choose to selectively ignore the decisions of the Church. Tooley appears to say no, while others seem to favor the approach of making their own decisions apart from their ordination.)

    • says

      What’s in a mission statement? If they say it, it must be true…

      The benefit of their mission statement is that you have your best intentions in mind, but don’t necessarily have their intention and meaning in mind.

      They say:
      “We are Christians working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.”

      “We are Christians working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings,”
      This is classically used as a way to affirm only very narrow views from a select history and a select biblical understanding, usually in a way that believes that God has stooped moving and stopped acting. It is a way of putting God in a shoebox in the closet and only bringing God out for special holidays, but effectively limiting God.

      “Reforming its role in public life”
      Unfortunately this does not mean strengthening the witness of the church, but in weakening the witness of the church, which means weakening discipleship and activity of the church in the political/communal arena. This means cutting the Spirit and the movement of God through Christian community. This means making Christianity an individual and private affair. It means making Christianity only into creeds, doctrines, and beliefs thus moving it farther from mystical community acting out discipleship in the world.

      “protect religious freedom, .”
      This is IRD’s ambiguous wording and sinister nature. Religious freedom is a nice buzz word but what that means many things. IRD by its actions tends to want to allow people to believe anything they want, but religion is only belief anyway right? So long as your belief/religion does not affect what you do in the world or influence others than it is fine. They want religion by their own definition of religion not by your lived experience. Not very free is it? Is belief without action or substance worth believing?

      “and renew democracy at home and abroad”
      This is the core belief and value of the IRD. They are a political organization funded by ultra-conservative political foundations outside the church This is their core value not democracy but politics, their politics. Democracy is yet another loaded word. You can say it anywhere in America and hearts will warm up and they will vote yes for democracy.

      The IRD can turn phrases, but where does their money come from and what are their actions?

      You will know them by their fruits.

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