Only two things in the middle of the road?

Two Methobloggers who self-identify as moderates have been writing some interesting things.

Drew McIntrye as 7 questions of traditionalists and 6 questions of progressives about our conflict and their vision of schism.

Kevin Carnahan asks what the Methodist middle looks like.

Perhaps along the same line, David Watson reports on attending the Aldersgate Covenant event at Church of the Resurrection this week.

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21 thoughts on “Only two things in the middle of the road?

  1. I’m not sure I even know what the word “moderate” even means in this context. It would seem, given the two examples above (not Watson) you can believe whatever you like about morality so long as your agenda is to keep the Institution that some call “church,” together. I’m beginning to think “moderate” is just code for “institutionalist.”

  2. I left the following comment on the via media site where they just reblogged Kevin’s “manifesto.” It was deleted, then when I put it back, they put it under moderation. Those who are doing the most talk about having more talks cannot be trusted to even do that, IMO. My comment is below. What makes it so problematic for them? That I asked a question they can’t or won’t answer?

    Talbot, I agree. I would add that this following bit seems disingenuous to me:

    “We hold that embracing this position is entirely compatible with holding strong views on the morality of homosexual behavior. We do not embrace this position because we hold weak beliefs about the morality of homosexuality, or because we are neutral on the issues involved. We embrace the middle position because we respect those who rationally, and in good faith disagree with us on this issue and recognize ourselves as bound to live together within the body of Christ with them.”

    How can this be? I would like to hear someone explain how a person can have “strong views” on the immorality of homosexuality and yet faithfully remain in covenant with those who have an equally strong, yet opposite view? 1 Cor 5 says one should not associate with anyone who insists on calling themselves a “brother” while being guilty of sexual immorality. I have yet to hear anyone in the middle make a good argument as to why those of us with “strong views” should ignore that command, or that it does not mean what we all think it means.

    1. These are good questions, Chad. I do not see any way for a reader of the New Testament to regard sexual immorality as a light matter.

      I am a bit befuddled by the extreme center position and wrote about it on Kevin’s blog. I don’t think they would advocate it for other things that people name as sins.

      If a branch of “The South Will Rise Again” Methodists began preaching separation of the races, I don’t think this position would come up as a viable response.

      In the end, I think you can only adopt this view if you think the matter in question is not really a bad thing. Underlying the appeal to say everyone can have their own opinion on this matter — it seems to me — is at the very least grave doubt about whether sodomy is sinful in all instances.

      It appears from Kevin’s comments on his blogs, though, that his concern is not to convince those who disagree. It looks to me like an attempt to consolidate a “center” group more than an effort to persuade others.

      1. I agree. Which is why I think the “center” group is not really center at all, but squarely in the progressive camp. Which is why “moderate” or “centrist” really seems to mean, “I see nothing wrong with homosexuality but don’t want to lose my job.”

        1. I don’t see their motives as self-serving as you do, Chad, but I do find it hard to actually find a coherent “center” position that does not say, in effect, that this issue is not really that important.

        2. I don’t know that I would say the issue is unimportant, though I would say it should not be church-dividing. In particular, it seems odd to make this matter of sexual ethics church dividing when we seem to not mind being lax on others (divorce, premarital sex, etc.), with both laity and clergy. I have not seen a coherent argument as to why the line in the sand should be drawn here and now. (That was meant as a response to John, but it seems I cannot reply directly.)

        3. Drew, if the Church changes it’s mind on homosexuality what will you say to those in 20 years who say, “I don’t see what polyamory should be church-dividing. It seems odd that we allow same-sex couples marry and become clergy. We didn’t divide over that, so why should we with this?”

        4. As am I – but sexual practices are not nearly taken as seriously for hetersosexual clergy candidates as for those who identify or are suspected of being LGBT.

        5. I am not sure I am understanding Drew McIntyre”s comment.
          Is Mr. Mcintyre suggesting the church, as it stand today, is willing and in practice accepts practicing adulterers, prostitutes, etc. ( moral ethics) to lead the church and continue in good standing?
          Is that what he is saying? Is he suggesting the only moral ethic the church is concerned with is related to GLBTQ practice and insinuating the UMC does not enforce othes issues of morality and sexual practice?

  3. John,
    Just out of curiosity, are you referring to the same two things as Jim Hightower does? And do you assume that everyone knows what those two things are? 🙂

    1. Only the enlightened of aware of such things.

      The headline is meant as a joke more than a criticism.

  4. I find it intriguing that Rev. McIntrye asks the conservatives / traditionalists, why if it is not about power, they do not consider joining another denomination (e.g., Nazarenes) who share their same beliefs; but does not ask the same question of the progressives. The Episcopal Church shares many more of the beliefs of our progressives than do most African United Methodists. If the progressives are not interested in power, why do they not consider becoming Episcopalians rather than dragging the United Methodist Church toward schism?

    1. As Jeremy Smith has pointed out, there isn’t really a “progressive” Wesleyan denomination to go to – the conservatives have multiple options for that, however. Additionally, the left is not talking about pulling out altogether and starting a new church – they are just acting like they are their own church and expecting no one else to mind much.

  5. So under the Carnahan proposal the right gives up its insistence that marriage is only between a man and a woman and same sex marriage ceremonies will no longer be a chargeable offense. In return for which the right gets what?
    The left gets legitimacy for same sex marriage and gives up what?
    I am struggling to see how this proposal can be called the middle.

    1. But that’s exactly how the game is played. I “exist” within a progressive conference; in reality there is “no existence” but exile. Get used to it? Adapt by bowing to it? No way. Warn all the others…

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