By the way, every founding leader and member of the Churches of Christ/Disciples of Christ was an Exasperated.
If in fact this is true, then Skip is correct that argument and divisiveness are built into the movement (at least that's what I understand Skip to have said in the past.)
Yes, divisiveness is "built in" to the coC. It is built into the very fabric of the church - we are either in Christ or not.
The big difference, to me, between "g-c" and "traditional" is nothing more than where we draw the boundaries of fellowship. Nothing more, nothing less.
A "g-c" coC Christian and a "traditional" coC Christian could probably enjoy a conversation together about "how wrong" the Mormons or JWs are. Change the topic to Rubel Shelly and they will probably not agree; pretty soon the "traditional" will be a "Pharisee" and the "g-c" will be a "Change Agent" and they will part ways.
One of the basic problems with people - all "labels" included - is selfishness. Neither side can compromise - that's a powerful American trait, and a trait not to be proud of.
There may well be an increasing division and isolation in the coC as the article asserts (in fact I agree that there is division in the coC), but from my viewpoint and an examination of history, it seems to me that a 'clean split' in two (with a few fragments) is likely. The "more liberal" will move doctrinally and worship-style wise in the direction of groups such as the Christian church and other conservative / fundamentalist evangelical groups. The "more conservative" will remain the "traditional coC". And (it's a sign of the times) a few independent groups will spring up - after all, we in the USA are in the midst of an explosion in the number of difference religious groups. But all-in-all, roll back the clock 100 or so years and you will see today's situation as if in a mirror (except that we drive SUVs and they drove horse-and-buggy, and they fought over "the organ" and we fight over "worship styles").
One of the basic problems with the article is an oversimplification of motives. I just scanned it, but it seems to me that Mr. Beam ascribes pure religious motives to all, which is far-too-often not the case.
Example: Two departures from our coC, "traditional" (but 20 or 30 years ago we probably would have been called "liberal-leading" if not just plain "liberal").
Departure One: Exasperated, and left, because the full bar at home in the family room was not accepted by the church as OK. In truth, it finally boiled down to a choice between the bar and the church, and the bar won (it was easier to change churches)...
Departure Two: Zealot who left us because the installation of the overhead projector made us "liberal" (so they found a church without one (yet)).
Note that if I leave because of an overhead projector I'm a "Zealot", if I leave because they chose old-style songbooks I'm "Searching", if I leave because they won't accept my divorce and remarriage I'm "Exasperated".
Despite the fancy labels, probably the root cause in every case is a form of selfishness. They're just not doing it "my way".