I just got a call from a reporter for the United Methodist News Service wanting to interview me about the apparent defeat of the 23 Worldwide UMC Constitutional Amendments voted on by annual conferences. As I write this, it appears that they are going down to defeat by a 65-35% margin. As I said to the reporter, “This is a victory for connectionalism.”
Connectionalism isn’t just a UM hallmark. It is the way God made us. We have been created in God’s image to be interconnected. American Indians have long embraced this worldview. Reciprocity in all things means that four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged creatures, fish, and all of creation co-exists. To live is to be in perpetual connection. Sure, there are cultural differences and God must embrace diversity or there wouldn’t be so many different types of creatures, colors, or clays. I say “clays” because I’m a potter – duh!
I have used clays like Standard 153, 114, locally dug and pugged earthenware, Loafer’s Glory, Little Loafer’s, B-Mix, a little bit of everything. I change every now and then, but I prefer the feel, bite, and color of Little Loafer’s the best. Anyway, we’re all clay – made from the dust. Adam literally means dirt. In our connectionalism we all belong at the table and our interdependence extends to our connection to every molecule of the planet, even the cosmos.
The 40th anniversary of humans on the moon reminds me of how Spaceship Earth is but a little slice of the heavens. Watching the stars last night in SC’s lowcountry and seeing a satellite zip by was God’s megaphone to me of interconnectedness. Watching fellow cabinet members during our retreat this week stay connected with the outside world through I-phones and Blackberries verified our connectedness, and the need for the satellite.
The rub, however, whether you’re parenting a teenager or an aging mother, is how much to stay connected without losing individuality. How can we make room for God’s gift of diversity while embracing the fact that every thing, every creature is made of the same cosmic dust? That is my challenge, our challenge – holding in tension the facts of distance and closeness without spinning apart or melting into an amalgam of enmeshment. Such is life, C’est la vie, n’est pas?