Recently, a friend and I agreed to disagree. I believe this is possible because we have mutual respect for each other, and we have far more in common than our differences. Unfortunately, the warring factions in Washington have lost sight of this perspective. It seems that power, party, politics and prestige have trumped We The People.
Though my friend and I differ politically, our foundational principles are secure. We are Christians and we are Americans. As a result, we are tolerant of each other’s positions.
But, what happens if someone is coerced or forced to change a foundational principle? My wife Becky believes such a fundamental revision requires a change of heart. I agree. No law can force a change of conscience. Sophocles’ play “Antigone” teaches that conscience must override legalisms. Martin Luther, on trial for his life in 1521, stated the same. When confronting an opposing perspective, the classical options are fight, flight (run away) or surrender. Jesus added a fourth option. Agape is the Greek term for his sacrificial love.
Recently, an article appeared in the local “fish wrapper” about the Methodist church’s approaching schism. This term is defined as a split between people or parties with strongly opposed differences of opinion or belief. I became a Methodist in 1975 when Becky and I married. I find the perspectives of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, more compelling than any other Christian doctrine. Wesley’s Quadrilateral of foundational principles can be imagined as a three legged stool. Like Martin Luther, Wesley believed you “sit” (stand) upon scripture. This foundation is supported by the legs of personal experience, tradition and reason.
Methodism is the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States, but is half as large as Southern Baptists and one tenth as large as Catholicism. George Bush, Elizabeth Warren and Jim Ferguson identify as Methodists. Unfortunately, Methodism, like other mainline doctrines, is dead in Europe and is dying in the Northern hemisphere. Fortunately, Christ’s church is growing in the Southern hemisphere. Perhaps affluence breeds the notion of self-reliance or one where God is replaced by government.
The United Methodist Church is a worldwide entity. And that’s where the issue of schism has surfaced. Conservative Methodists are opposed to the ordination of openly gay ministers and believe marriage is only between a man and a woman. This has been mischaracterized as homophobia. It is not. I agree with Methodist doctrine which holds that all people are equally loved by God. However, if Becky and I were Catholic, she could not be Pope. And because I’m a man, I can’t be a Lady Vol. Paul writes that we all have “gifts differing,” but I am bound by my DNA and can’t become pregnant.
Since 1972, activists have repeatedly sought foundational changes to Methodism regarding marriage and ministers. And since the activists have not prevailed, schism is now inevitable. The Methodist church will continue to grow in the conservative Southern Hemisphere, and will be sundered in America.
Most believe irreconcilable differences are justification for marital divorce. I believe church schism is as well. Schism is preferable to a compromise of conscience or perpetual warfare. Jesus once said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them.” Perhaps He needs to be there to keep the peace, at least until they respectfully agree to disagree.
Apparently, schism of our country is sought by the Democrat leadership. Their refusal to accept the 2016 Presidential election is comparable to a child being told, “No.” A tantrum has resulted which has evolved into hatred and irrationality. The Democrat wailing, gnashing of teeth and delusional thinking have produced the apparitions of Russians under every rock, Ukrainians in every White House stocking and the conclusion that Trump must be impeached because they have no candidate or vision for America which can defeat him. Nadler said they can’t trust an election to remove Trump!
We pick up our grandchildren from school several times a week and we’re always on the lookout for an after school activity. Because our Cute Ones missed the school influenza prevention, we took them for Flu shots, but told them we were going for “vaccinations.” Our ruse was akin to the Gary Larsen’s cartoon of a dog barking from the car window to his doggy friend, bragging that he was “going to get tutored.”
As we waited for the pharmacist we asked our Cute Ones who wanted to go first. No hands shot up, so we introduced them to the game of coin toss to choose who would go first. Fortunately, the older Oakley won and bravely submitted to the fearful needle, as we sweetened things with an iced lemon cookie from Ham and Goodies. They both were brave enough, though four year old Josie had several tears.
The coin toss game caused me to reflect on Inspector General Horowitz’s reported inability to find bias in his investigation of the FBI. Reportedly, Horowitz found seventeen places where the FBI made decisions favoring Hilliary Clinton and against Trump. I guess it’s possible to flip a coin seventeen times revealing HRC’s tail and never Trump’s head. My seven year old grandson quickly understood the improbability of never getting heads with a coin toss.
The Democrats have shown a willingness to destroy confidence in our election process, so long as they can destroy their great white whale (Trump). They have an utter disregard for the 63 million Americans who sent Trump to Washington to fix the mess of weaponized government agencies like the IRS, FBI, CIA and the Justice Department. The schism of America is irrelevant to the likes of Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi. And unless there is accountability for abuses, we are lost as a country and free citizens of a Republic.
As I finish this column, the economy is booming and the Dems are swooning. The Stock Market and wages are up. After nearly a year, Pelosi has finally released from hostage a vote on the USMCA (US-Mexico-Canada Agreement). Unemployment is at a fifty year low. A trade deal with China is imminent. NATO members are paying their dues. Constitutionalist Judges are being appointed at a record pace. The border wall is being built, and Trump lives!
The Democrat leadership and their Presidential candidates are devoid of realistic ideas. All they have is hate, the very thing they accuse others of having. The American people have been watching the Democrat disaster.
It’s going to be a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!