a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
A founding error of this “[UMC’] …” project
When I initiated this project attempting to disrupt the doom-loop in which The People Called United Methodist [UMC] have been caught for the past fifty years, I took off on the wrong foot. My hope was that appropriating the typology created in 2016 by the Toms, i.e., Tom Lambrecht and Tom Berlin, would be beneficial (familiarity, etc.). That was a mistake, because their model came burdened with some very negative baggage.
So, the graphic above (unpacked here) has been my way of correcting the earlier error and of moving a typology motif forward. Many (*raises hand*) would argue that Christ transcends simple binary absolutes. However, in the UMC, it seems that we are unable to consider our differences on any basis other than a binary one. In contrast, I’m seeking to establish a means by which to include the largest possible number of folks around these issues. We’ll talk a little about the graphic for the new typology in a minute; but first, a quick review. So, let’s structure this Micah 6.8 premise:
Review – Reshape – Reset
I’ve touched on most all of this before. This collects it into one (summary) spot.
So, earlier, we examined the idea that premises create structure. We can trace this line of thought through two different parts of the “[UMC] …” narrative. —An important reminder is that the entire “[UMC] …” project is grounded upon the divine grace of Unintended Consequences.
First, our thinking “premises” trace way back to the ancient Greeks. Using Edward de Bono’s work, we noted that our oppositional thinking (e.g., rational, traditional to modernity, “rock logic”) combined with our society’s conditioning (systematically sorted and polarized) serve to create what amounts to a schismatic structure — the saying that ‘every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets‘ springs to mind.
Second, in 1972, in the bliss of our ignorance, we unwittingly set ourselves up for fifty years of bitter strife. Through what has come to be known as our “incompatibility language,” we created premises for a structure bound to produce schism. Our hyper-sorted, hyper-polarized zeitgeist has insured that extremists on both sides of our apparent divide would structure the discourse and command outsized influence.
A two-category frame
Wanting to deconstruct/redirect the power of the prohibitive language, I very intentionally adopted a homophone. Borrowing from philosophy, I used two terms that actually define the way the UMC discourse is trapped. If the UMC insists on being in a discourse stuck in a mutually-exclusive binary mode, then why not bind the debate (in a ~95%, ~5% division) and use the philosophical terms (Compatibilism – Incompatibilism) that literally define the (absolutism) problem in the relationship of the two?
The new graphic
Let’s consider the featured graphic of the new typology. Well, actually, let’s just consider one aspect of the comp/graphic, namely, this story:
I asked one of my Facebook interlocutors what they noticed about the Ark illustration that I used in the comp. One thing they observed was that the artist only used one of each creature. I asked them why the artist may have done that.
They replied: “I suspect the artist identifies as Progressive or atheist and doesn’t care much about the details of the story.”
Perhaps. However, I was thinking of something a bit different. It could also be that the artist wanted to represent as much diversity as possible within the given space.
So, if the latter, I was considering what it says that the artist is able to do that, i.e., what makes the artist feel at liberty to do it that way?
Well, I’d like to suggest that the artist did it that way because they were confident they could do so without any risk of misrepresenting the story (cf. Gestalt, “completion”).
Wait. What?! Why?
Because, it’s a revealing demonstration of how broadly the story is understood. Almost everyone knows the story of Noah and the Ark. It reflects something that is nearly universally obvious, that it takes both a male and female to reproduce. Nearly everyone knows that. It doesn’t need to be reiterated; it’s “a given.”
The Ark story underlines the fact that it’s patently obvious (cf. Romans 1.19-20) that G-d blesses heterosexual relationships. No one contests that; it needs no comprehensive visual representation (nor, an “incompatibility clause”).
The question becomes, why is G-d limited in whom to bless? To ease the fears/insecurities of the overwhelming majority?
Isn’t the covenant of marriage the means by which G-d blesses the love of two persons for one another?
Can’t G-d bless both heterosexual and homosexual relationships within the covenant of marriage?
Disciples of Division or Disciples of Love?
We have allowed our Greek thinking patterns and some powerful unintended consequences to divide us. Whereas, allowing that G-d speaks through both majority and diversity has the power to unite us.
Want to follow Jesus?
Then make disciples of Love who make disciples of Love, just as Jesus did — Jesus as the Love algorithm.
Next week: [UMC] *political technologies*?!