Toward an Ecosystem of Unity: Ecumenism and Ecclesiology in the Postmodern Era, A United Methodist Appraisal

Kyle R Tau

Abstract


This essay explores the current conditions for church unity derived from the political and organizational culture of modernity and questions whether a new definition and form of unity is needed as modernity itself undergoes a major transformation.  It asks whether the centralizing legal and bureaucratic structures that now animate conversations around church unity ought to be retought in light of postmodern trends.  It proposes a more multi-textured form of unity as koinonia or communion made up of an overlapping network of relationships characterized by the mutual recognition of members, ministries, and sacraments.  Drawing upon the metaphor of a web or ecosystem this essay affirms the ecumenical shift to pursuing bilateral full communion agreements over large multilateral attempts at merger, and proposes that intra-Methodist unity be conceptualized as a communion of distinct connectional structures.

Keywords


Ecclesiology, United Methodist Church, Unity, Ecumenism

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Methodist Review, ISSN: 1946-5254 (online), copyright © 2009-2017 by The Methodist Review, Inc.