Reform, an evangelical group in England is promising guerilla warfare against liberal bishops by working to prevent funds from supporting such dioceses and by bringing in conservative bishops from other dioceses to perform church functions. The eight bishops who publically supported a celibate gay man, Jeffrey John, as bishop of Reading, are on the top list of targets.
And the Institute on Religion and Democracy had a glowing report on the right wing turn in the United Methodists. But it also provides a chilling picture of their vision for the future of the church, including "reforming" seminaries and the church boards, which is pretty much how the southern baptist right took over. In that context reform of seminaries was done by firing liberal professors, instituting doctrinal litmus tests, and scrapping the practices which make for academic freedom.
And what of liberal ministers, parishes and lay people? IRD has a vision for them as well:
1.We recommend allowing a gracious exit for those who cannot or will not accept the essential beliefs on which the UMC is founded. This is to say that when the right takes over the church, those who disagree will now be considered to be in opposition to the newly defined essential beliefs.
2.The UMC should adopt a fair plan to permit their voluntary, peaceful departure. Their beliefs are strong and sincere. They have a right to believe and worship as they choose, but they do not have the right to divide a Christian Church by undermining its basic beliefs. Again as a mainline church, there has always been room for folks across the spectrum, but now liberals working in the church by definition undermines the right's beliefs.
3.Some of the unfaithful are now talking about leaving; the UMC should aid their departure. They don't want to diaglogue, they want us liberals out of the church as quick as possible. We're the unfaithful, anti-Christian and the like. This is the dynamic that we face in many of the mainline churches. In such a context, what possibilities exist in terms of the church holding together. I'm not sure, but am pessimistic these days.