In a previous post, I shared about a metaphor Richard Rohr shares about spiritual formation. He asks us to imagine there are three boxes, "order", "disorder" and "reorder". Fr. Rohr believes that conservatives tend to get stuck in the "order" box. I shared in the previous post how important it is for the voice of our conservative sisters and brothers be heard. The desire for order is noble and essential for all of us. However, getting stuck in the box of order can lead to rigidity in thought (at best) and self-proclaimed defenders of what is pure (at worst).
While conservatives may get stuck in the "order" box, according to Rohr, progressives tend to be stuck in the "disorder" box. Progressives are often the ones driven by dismantling the things that are ordered in an attempt to examine values, assumptions and advocate for any change that may be needed for the new day. It is something many people go through in their lives when we come to question why things are the way they are. We tend to push back on the rules and expectations that ordered our lives up to a point but now we examine why these rules and expectations are there to begin with. For anyone who has ever said they did not want to "become like my parent" is going through the process of disordering. Just as it is natural to order it is also natural to disorder the things in the world. Both have their place, assets and liabilities.
The progressive group in the UMC called "Love Prevails" is an example of the progressive tendency toward disorder. The movement advocates for three actions: Disclose(t), Divest, and Disrupt. These call to action are at their core expressions of disorder which you can read in their definition of each action.
Disclose(t) - We can no longer sit in silent acquiescence before the unjust laws of The United Methodist Church. The time has come and gone for behind-the-scenes, closeted support of LGBTQ people. As LGBTQ Christians and straight allies, we will speak out publicly about our lives, our families, our friends, and our ministries. We will claim equality for ourselves and for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
Divest - For too long, the cost of injustice has been hidden by our loyalty to the institution. Beginning now, we will redirect our time and treasure to efforts aimed at ending discrimination against LGBTQ people. We will divest our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness from all structures within the church that support the status quo.
Disrupt - The time for polite persuasion has passed. To ensure discrimination no longer flows uninterrupted, we will protest and disrupt local, national and global events. We will undermine all policies that limit or deny the full participation of LGBTQ United Methodists in the life of the church. Through our media campaign and physical presence, we will stand in the way of business as usual.
I am not making a value judgement on these actions, only desire to point out that while Good News is locked into "Order", Love Prevails is locked into "Disorder".
And perhaps the most frustrating thing for those of us in the middle is that both those locked into order or disorder feel they are correct and it is the other that is doing the damage to the denomination. The fact of the matter is, anytime anyone is locked in a box, there is a human desire for freedom. This is the Gospel proclamation. God desires that all be free from being locked in/up/out. Jesus did that work on the cross. We are all free from the shackles of sin and death because of his Grace and Love.
This is why the spiritual life is one that include the assets of order and disorder but also transcends the liabilities. Christianity points not toward life or death but toward resurrection. Or in this case, we are not to be people of order or disorder but a people of reorder.
What would General Conference look like if it we include and transcend order and disorder to the "box" of reorder?