For the “State of the Church” Report in the January/February 2015 issue of The Interpreter magazine for the United Methodist Church, I was asked to contribute 150 words responding to the question “How would you describe a unified United Methodist Church?” It’s hard to fit my longer-than-tomorrow blog posts into 150 words, but I think it was a good shot. They printed my contribution along with eight other United Methodists. Check out the article (it’s on page 36-37), but for those of you without one handy, here’s my contribution:
A Unified United Methodist Church?
As I look at my toddler daughter and wonder what kind of Church could possibly be unified enough for her to inherit someday, I believe a holy, just, diverse, and kenotic church might be our best hope
- A holy church perpetually seeks personal and social holiness in the Wesleyan tradition.
- A just church funnels that holy discontent to transform society into a more just community, and boldly confront the *isms within the Church itself.
- A diverse church overcomes our restrictive polity by honoring unity in diversity, engaging our varied mission fields in contextual, accountable ways through a more adaptive polity.
- A kenotic “self-emptying” church prioritizes missional needs over institutional maintenance.
That’ll do it. Oh, one more: if we truly live out our baptismal affirmation “you are a beloved child of God” that was said to my daughter—and all your daughters and sons—then God will be glorified indeed.
If you were to describe what a unified United Methodist Church would look like, or what marks would it have, sound off in the comments!