The battle between not-always-clearly-divided forces for the hearts and minds of the religiously and politically motivated may be the central issue of our time. Here are some examples.
The Mythic Extremes of MonotheismsPrimarily treating Islam and Christianity, where does experience direct the eye of inquiry when wondering about the dark roots and flaming branches of fearful religious violence? Extremes accompany ultimate ideological singularity. When does my Salvation/Survival/Security wrap itself up in needing to control, overawe, or annihilate those who are fundamentally different in some central way? Moreover, when is this control or destruction essential in my mind when it is the central way in which we are similar?
Under the auspices of "The Institute for Religion and Democracy" (IRD) a multi-million dollar initiative has been at work for over a decade to shift the legislative and constitutional base of the mainstream Protestant churches (United Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal) around the world which organize themselves through democratic and parliamentary systems. Aligned covertly within "The Renewal and Reform Coalition", an entity that comprises the Confessing Movement, Good News/Renew, Transforming Congregations and UMAction, the IRD uses tactics from the playbook ideologically extreme elements used to gain control the GOP and then the Federal Government of the United States: tactics like libel, influential gifts to potential allies, and personal attacks on persons designated as part of opposition leadership.
ABC co-founder, Brandon WilliamsCraig works with Epworth United Methodist Church and its California-Nevada Annual Conference to respond to these attempts in a way that will ensure moderation, inclusion of all voices in the United Methodist polity, and a return to what the church has refered to as "Holy Conferencing" being driven by compassion and radical inclusivity. The United Methodist Church just completed the sole international "General Conference" held every four years to create identity statements and set legislative policy for the entire body.