Reconciling Methodist

Be “Born Again-Again” into Rioting Wokeness, Argue Reconciling Methodists

Kate Cvancara on July 8, 2020

In a June 28 online Pride Month worship service hosted by the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), clergy and bishops hailed the righteousness of rioting, accused United Methodism of white supremacy, and called participants to be “born again-again” into wokeness. The message of United Methodism’s unofficial LGBT caucus was meant to encourage victims of white supremacy. But there was no coherent message beyond praising resilience, which is equated with leftist politics.

Speakers contended that white-supremacist “systems” made LGBTQ and Black people resilient—a virtue now fundamental to who they are. Is a virtue that one is forced to develop, that requires no intentional fostering, really a stable anchor for identity? The consequences of this attribute’s expression suggest not.

When UMC Home Missioner Helen Ryde announced “we are gathered to celebrate LGBTQ, which started as a riot led by trans women of color” [an apparent reference to the 1969 Stonewall riots], it became clear that pushing back, even violently, is cause to “celebrate.” None of the represented clergy insisted on nonviolence.

Ryde argued, “At the root of all marginalization and oppression is ‘othering’ other people.” This statement was ironic, as arrows aimed at “oppressive systems” often “other’ and wound people just trying to work and live. Attacking the “system” sometimes means real people, such as the immigrant family running a deli below IRD’s office, get looted and robbed, as they were during recent “anti-racist” riots. Clergy should beware “othering other people” into inanimate systems as its own form of dehumanization. There are often people behind the smashed glass.

Similarly, Ryde called for being “born again-again” into a “new way of seeing” for affirmation of all people in “all their sexual orientations and identities.” So we need take a double-dip in Jesus’ blood for his redemptive work to really sink in.

Once we finally see as God sees, according to Ryde, “our Mother and our Queen” will use us to make “deep systemic changes.” But when Jesus first came, He explicitly defied expectations of political revolution. If our highest calling is to challenge oppressive systems, then Jesus should have prioritized delivering the Jews from the Romans systemically as people then wanted. Systemic evil exists because systems are composed of broken people. Making ourselves saviors of systems tends to distract from our Savior’s personal, real, and eternal work.

Pine United Methodist Church Pastor Jeanelle Nicola Ablola, in her RMN remarks, warned against using resilience as an excuse for ignoring systemic oppression. But still she insisted: “We have no choice but to rise in solidarity because of who we are. We shine when we join movements beyond labels of identities and transcending man-made borders.” Resilience is both inevitable and not enough. So, although the service repeatedly thanked people for their resilience, what exactly was there to praise?

On behalf of the entire United Methodist Church and the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ , RMN’s cast confessed global Christianity’s role in perpetuating the evils of colonialism that, according to retired Virginia Bishop Charlene Kammerer, “has perpetuated the sin of queerphobia and transphobia…especially in the USA.” The American church is essentially one of the most oppressive.

This statement was immediately followed by RMN Conference Coordinator Dennos Akpona recalling his flight from the torture and killings of homosexuals in Nigeria. Is colonialism in Nigeria also responsible for the severe persecution of queer and Christian alike? Jihadist insurgents Boko Haram and Fulani extremists would say otherwise. Even so, Akpona complained the USA church should have protected his identities better, following Kammerer’s claim that United Methodism and Christianity perpetuated harmful phobias against queer and transgender persons.

The sermon closed with song and slides showcasing intersectional injustice: climate action, disability rights, racial justice, economic reform, etc. As the Pastor of Haller Lake UMC Rev. Austin Adkinson concluded, “All of our oppressions are intertwined” with white supremacy.

What to do with all this systemic evil? The Rev. Grace Imathius of First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois insisted we must “grieve to pass into healing. But if there is joy, let us rejoice. If life has brought us confusion, help us sort through the threads. Seeking itself can be an answer.” Such solutions are not tangible, which is perfectly on brand with the call to be “rainbow-chasers.” Our feelings will, presumably, lead us to support leftist polices that abolish systemic oppression.

This triumph of feelings is about the only conclusion to draw from RMN’s service, besides vaguely celebrating resilience.  Each speaker began with the disclaimer “speaking from my experience,” meaning that any challenge to their diagnoses of systemic oppression undermines “their identities and truth.” They implored that, if we think differently from them, we should ask God to be “born again again” into a rioting wokeness.

  1. Comment by LukeinNE on July 8, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Just a reminder that every single one of these progressives decrying “white supremacy” prefers schism over submission to African bishops.

  2. Comment by William on July 8, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Exactly. These people practice a unique form of insidious racism — along with hypocrisy, deflection, and deception reminiscent of the precision of a fine maestro.

  3. Comment by Mike on July 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    None of that sounded the least bit Biblical, at least not according to the Bible that I have been reading for over fifty years. Must be an example of what the apostle Paul referred to as “another gospel which is not another”, which means that it is a different gospel, and, in the end, no gospel at all.

  4. Comment by Lee Cary on July 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Mike, the Bible (AKA Scripture) has about as much to do with this movement is all about as the US Constitution has to Antifa.

  5. Comment by Lee D. Cary on July 9, 2020 at 9:34 am

    The secular, inane banality of the LGBTQAI+etc. wokeness dribble is the new mantra of the UMC. It replaces the legacy Creeds in the Book of Worship, as aging supremist UM bishops (of all genders and colors) align to virtue signal their support for the New Credo of the United Methodist Church.

  6. Comment by Dan on July 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Was this real or a Babylon Bee article? To be sure, these RMN folks are not Christians, they are pagans masquerading as Christians,co -opting and guilting the “useful idiots” in the UMC to advance their cause.

    Telling that retired bishop Kammerer spoke. She was a pox on the Virginia annual conference.

  7. Comment by Living in Grief on July 10, 2020 at 7:57 am

    I would love to ask the speakers who are quoted in the article:

    “Why would you or others bother with church at all?”

    There are other religious vehicles and versions of spirituality that would get them and their fellow travelers to their goal a lot faster than practicing in a Christian church.

  8. Comment by Lee Cary on July 10, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Living in Grief, I suspect they “bother with it” with the aim of taking it over to advance their own agenda.

    Their “goal” is control. And when they finally get all of it that they can, they’ll look around and see how few there are behind them.

  9. Comment by William on July 11, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    This is an installment of where the Post Separation UMC is headed. SEPARATION from this is long overdue and can’t get here fast enough.

  10. Comment by Sarah Lynn on July 11, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.“ Matthew 16:24 …No one is forced into the Kingdom of light and everlasting life, but all are bade “come,” by the King. The gate is strait, the way narrow, but oh, to worship and serve HIM Is glorious! Even the imprisoned are free. The self, sin and flesh are tyrants. But if one doesn’t have a heart to leave that bondage behind and love the LORD alone with ALL their heart and being, no one is dragging them into the assembly—which they obviously find peculiar and oppressive. It’s just as I’ll-advised to try to drag Jesus into every fleshly and sinful pursuit … and grievous for a church body to tolerate and endorse it. For if anything it is the Antichrist system at work and leading the vulnerable and children astray.

  11. Comment by Skipper on July 13, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    I don’t understand how the Reconciling group can give their approval of un-natural immoral lifestyles with all the Bible has to say about how evil it is. Romans 1 makes this very simple.

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