I’m not so much making a point with this post as asking a question. I have been in dialogue with a friend who asked: Is the unity of which we speak in the UMC a baseless unity? In other words, what is the common thread that runs through the UMC and holds us together?
Our unity does not lie in doctrine, though I believe that it should. But there are many clergy, including some bishops, who seem to have little regard for the Doctrinal Standards in the Discipline. They would point, rather, to the section called “Our Theological Task,” which articulates the method we have come to call the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral.”
That leads to the question: Is our unity in this theological method? Clearly, it is not. The method is so broad that it is virtually useless. To say, for example, that we consider scripture as primary is not a very helpful claim when we have so little agreement on the nature and function of scripture.
I’m not even going to suggest that our unity is in ethical issues or commitments to social justice. We’re all over the map here.
Is our unity, then, confined to matters of polity? Are we only held together by the trust clause and our pensions? I really, really don’t want the UMC to split. I would consider that a great tragedy. Yet what are our main reasons for staying together?
I’d appreciate receiving your comments below.
Oh, and be nice.