[UMC] fixing an earlier error

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.  


Serial narration


Oops… mea culpa (my bad)

As Tom Lambrecht and Tom Berlin’s efforts obviously failed to work, I should have realized that the typological model that they created in 2016 was in a state of critical disrepute. By deciding to adapt their model, I unwittingly invited the inclusion of all the critical baggage their model had accrued. 

I really ought to have realized it before I received pushback. Initial reactions didn’t actually apply to what I was thinking, so I minimized their significance. I suppose I imagined there would be some benefit to starting within an existing conversation space. Nope.

I also messed-up by trying to round-off on the language, i.e., from ‘Compatibilism’ to ‘Compatibilist.’ Bad idea! Language doesn’t “round-off” like numbers do. Providence has provided me an opportunity to model doing what one does when one has messed-up, i.e., “mea culpa,” and start over.



As I really don’t need their model to make a clear categorical distinction, I’m abandoning the ‘sugar packet typology’ Lambrecht/Berlin created. 

I’ve created some new comps that mark the crucial distinction (absolutist vs. non-absolutist) based on familiar-sounding terms — compatibilism and incompatibilism [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy articles]. This one has a ‘scientific’ feel:



And, this one makes me wonder how “Adam Hamilton’s ‘bucket detractors'” will react:



Would this imply we’re akin to monkeys?



Or, perhaps this one. Are baskets disarming? Wait. “Basket of deplorables.” Oops!



Even these new comp graphics raise another point, one of long-standing concern — anything sounding like ‘incompatibility’ language is highly suspect. My selection of the language was very deliberate; however, the initial execution of my idea was not good.

Transformational language

I’m not sure who’s authorized to change linguistic usages, but my move follows in the steps of others. When I was growing up (b.1952) the term “queer” was used as a bigoted/vulgar slur against homosexuals. No mistakes; the term was clearly and plainly meant pejoratively to demean, bully and dehumanize an entire group of persons who were different from the majority. It was a term that cast people who were different in the role of a societal problem.

I don’t know who, when, where, or how; but at some point, an LGBT activist proudly adopted the term “Queer” to identify the community of people who refused to be demeaned or silenced by the shame and exclusion that were intended by a bigoted society’s use of the term. In so doing, they began to redeem it, transforming the term Queer by employing it for healing rather than for harming. The collective community acronym transformed from LGBT to LGBTQ

This move to invert the term that is meant to do harm to persons and to use that same term to heal and empower then forms a piece of the justice process. It’s a move to paradox through irony. [“Americans and, particularly, Methodists should appreciate this; since the terms “Yankee” and “Methodist” were originally used as slurs against certain people who were seen as societal freaks.” —editor]




Compatibilism-ists” and “Incompatibilism-ists”

These are the terms I’ve adopted for my simple typology for two main reasons. First, they are technical terms from philosophy (in the context of the determinism vs. free-will question) that inhabit/enact a relational dynamic (e.g., absolutism vs. non-absolutism). The second, probably chief, reason is that the terms are homophones (i.e., ‘Incompatibilism’ sounds like ‘incompatible’) of the very problematic term at the heart of fifty years of lethal harm done by our “incompatibility” dogma.




Turning the tables

In identifying those (the 5%ers, comprised of both “Traditionalists” and “Inclusivists”) who, on the basis of their own ideological certitude, would exclude others, the language of the “The 95% solution” typology liberates the targets of exclusion and shines the light of reality on the absolutists who comprise the 5%. The reality is, the 5%ers (Incompatibilismists) are the ones whose ideology is antithetical to Christ’s holistic community, the church. 

By supporting the inclusion of the homophone, “Incompatibilism,” in the typology, LGBTQ+ folks are refusing to accept, and rejecting any suggestion of their being less than equally beloved children of God. 

Next week, the problem of harm as we further examine the bifurcated understanding of it in the UMC


In the process of my ‘a holistic take’ project, — meant to work on correcting our (well-meant) error from 1972 and its unintended consequences (lethal harm) since — the present piece corrects for a problematic error that I made when I began this project. Like “ice nine,” premises create structure, and I premised this ‘a holistic take’ project on an already dead typology. So, first, I totally renounce the Lambrecht/Berlin typology. Second, I’ve created a simple typology as a corrective to my earlier error. It’s meant to reset my project with corrected premises and better execution. 

The homophones (Compatibilism and Incompatibilism) used for the typology serve to invert the meaning of the harmful “incompatibility” image and apply it to those (5%ers) who are projecting it onto the innocent LGBTQ+ community and Compatibilism-ists


If trauma helps create 5%ers…


Your thoughts? 



25 thoughts on “[UMC] fixing an earlier error

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