200 Years of United Methodism
An Illustrated History

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A bureaucracy dominated by white males was the second form Big Brother threatened to take in The United Methodist Church. Cover of prospectus published by Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Atlanta, 1972.But this threat was averted by the mushrooming of caucuses for women, blacks, youth, Native Americans, persons with handicapping conditions, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. Three other caucuses helped guarantee the church's pluralism. Good News, the voice of theological conservatives, fretted about pluralism but abetted it by publishing its own confirmation materials and by discussing the possibility of commissioning its own missionaries. The Methodist Federation for Social Action, the voice of theological liberals, augmented pluralism by espousing liberation theology and unpopular social issues. And Affirmation championed acceptance of gays and lesbians as Christians and worked for their right to be ordained.

Caucus Methodism helped make it possible to say that Big Brother is not alive in The Photograph from BMCR prospectus, 1972.United Methodist Church in 1984, the year George Orwell picked for his triumph. And in the world at large the most brutal Big Brothers have yielded here and there to persons of faith, such as Lech Walesa in Poland. Indeed, as Orwell in 1948 was predicting the triumph of Big Brother, he forgot that in 1941, when Hitler attacked Russia, Stalin permitted the practice of religion for the first time since 1918. All of which sharpens the point made by historian Paul Johnson: "The outstanding non-event of modern times was the failure of religious belief to disappear."

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