Saturday, November 12, 2005

Methodist Mush

Although I am not Catholic, I admire any number of Catholic intellectuals past and present, the late Pope John Paul the Great, and of course First Things. However, I am a member of the denomination I was raised in, the Methodist Church. My attitude towards my home denomination is uneasily ambiguous. I attend my church, participate in a few activities, shell out for a set offering a year and for various emergencies, such as the hurricanes. And that's basically it. I try to avoid thinking about the leadership of the Methodist Church, knowing it to be shot through with all the liberal vices that have helped cause the shrinking of the mainline denominations over the past several decades.

But sometimes the leadership intrudes on my repose. Like when a sizeable chunk of the bishops issue something like this: A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice

Every stale liberal cliche is on display here. Every set of liberal blinkers is firmly jammed in place. The twelve year run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom described as a "rush to war"? Check. Blaming terrorism perpetrated by middle class jihadis on poverty? Check. En passant line about "but we support the troops"? Check. The breastbeating, that they didn't sound off sooner and louder? Check. Demanding that the results our troops are fighting to achieve should instead just float down from the sky? Check. Denying that anything good is coming or could come out of our efforts in Iraq? A given, needn't even be mentioned.

There's the occasional double-edged sword, that any string of generalities is liable to bump up against:

Let us with compassion share the pain of God's children who suffer from the devastation of war and those who live in poverty resulting from misplaced priorities and misguided public policies.

You can guess what they think those misguided public policies are. You can be sure that in this section the bishops aren't clamoring for more sweeping welfare-to-work programs and for more grassroots free market entrepreneurship, but for more entitlements, more government dependence, more enervation of personal responsibility. More underclass despair caused by self-stroking liberal do-gooderism.

But anyway, the war. You can't expect bishops to come out in favor of war, of course. But why not wish for a speedy end to the war, ending in victory over the evildoers and the blossoming of democracy and human rights in the area?

Because over the last couple of generations, as the Left has taken over the leadership of mainline denominations, the ideal of being a progressive "world citizen" has created many pitfalls of moral equivalence. Foreign "insurgents"--how can you be an insurgent in someone else's country?--massacre children scrambling for candy, patients massed in hospital emergency rooms, jobseekers lined up outside police recruiting stations, people voting in a free election for the first time in living memory.

These vipers don't need to be stopped? They aren't evil?

Who knows. The bishops don't mention the jihadis, even once.

But they do mention evil, once; along with the necessity of confronting it. And since the whole foregoing part of their statement was an attack on the current adminstration's foreign policy, it's safe to assume they aren't calling for stouter resistance against the bloody Islamist jihad. Nope, just like in the first Iraq war, and just like in the Vietnam War, and just like in the Cold War, the only evil in the world emanates from home sweet home, the U S of A. I sometimes wonder if the peace and justice crowd have statements like these loaded up in a fill-in-the-blank .pdf file somewhere, to be printed off as needed.

Most of the rank and file Methodists I know go about their daily walks of faith in serene disregard of the doings of the church's top leadership. I do the same, though it takes a little determination at times.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, be glad you're not episcopal then. Otherwise, I feel your pain a thousandfold


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