Everything wrong with the UMC in one sentence

The new Connectional Table—a United Methodist governing body that had expected to be defunct by now—met to organize for the next four years.

Here is the story.

And this is precisely what I won’t be writing about during Lent.


15 thoughts on “Everything wrong with the UMC in one sentence

  1. Did you leave off an emoticon in your title?

    Maybe ; )

    Or : )

    If not, I guess I’m not sure it’s quite fair to say everything wrong with the UMC lies with the Connectional Table, nor in the fact that it survived General Conference.

    1. But even so, it is not the CT but the systems that go behind this whole story that strike me as the problem.

      1. I think you identified the parameters of the core systemic adaptive challenge well in your piece on innovation. And those issues can be detected pretty much everywhere throughout the entire system. Perhaps in CT these become more salient in a peculiar way through the fairly extensive reporting its work can and should expect to get.

  2. And the “Progressive” #dreamumc folks on Twitter are trying to get a seat or at least some voice on the Connectional Table as I understand… There is nothing new under the sun, i guess.

    1. That’s not quite accurate about #dreamUMC.

      First, General Conference sets the seats, not CT itself. And that work is already completed for the quadrennium. There are no more seats to be given.

      Second, ANYONE can (and SHOULD) seek to communicate with CT to share their ideas and hopes about the direction of the denomination.

      Third, after months of open, announced #dreamUMC Tweetchats that anyone with a Twitter account could participate in in real time, or anyone with a Facebook account could interact with asynchronously, the #dreamUMC folks were able to develop enough of a consensus about a couple of issues important to us (I’ve been part of these conversations as I’ve been able — I don’t know whether you’d label me progressive or not) that we sent an open letter to the leadership of CT to share that big idea– that WHATEVER CT might develop as a structure proposal would have plenty of time for a hearing in all venues, especially to gain annual conference input.” We also shared our open invitation for CT members to participate in the ongoing #dreamUMC chats, and, our hope that there might be an occasion for more of the ideas coming out of these conversations and reaching some level of consensus also to be able to be shared more directly with CT.

      I hope that helps clarify things a bit…

      1. The conversation has included a broad range of people, but has been largely directed and (i understand this could be an unwelcome criticism) controlled by a particular group of theologically and politically similar individuals. I’ve asked if leadership/moderation would start to reflect the broader group and I’ve received a noncommittal maybe. This confuses me considering that #dreamUMC was started with an eye to inviting diverse voices.

        1. John L…

          Conversations need identifiable hosts, especially in a forum as open and semi-chaotic as Twitter. Too many hosts can fork the conversation, which doesn’t help.

          So I guess I see this as being more a practical matter than anything else, at least so long as the guiding questions and sharing genuinely welcome and make room for diverse perspectives and approaches. My experience in the livechats I was part of was they did.

        2. There have been five to six “identifiable hosts” (moderators) as I’ve seen it, about half since I raised the issue by direct e-mail. All are identified with the MFSA.

          When they’ve asked people what they’re interested in following up on things like Wesleyan theology and renewal of accountable small groups appear as prominent as “inclusiveness.” That hasn’t changed the focus.

          In the sense that voices they may disagree with aren’t told to leave, they are presenting welcome and room. I’m not hopeful that #dreamUMC seeks to bring many ideas to the conversation. I do fear that it may be a cynical effort to bring prominence and legitimacy to the organizers at the expense of the original stated goals.

        3. I’d be welcome to a change. I’ve been an active participant because I was open to what it had the potential of being, but I don’t want to be roped into unintentionally joining or even being lumped in with another ideological pressure group.

  3. As I see it, the two major causes of the debacle that was GC2012 were that 1) no one considered the constitutional aspects of the changes being proposed, and 2) the rules that were adopted in order to help the delegates get some rest actually prevented full discussion and action in committee to perfect legislation. As far as #1 is concerned, disaster should have been expected since no one thought to approach the Judicial Council for a review prior to conference. The Judicial Council did the right thing in throwing the whole mishmash out. Hopefully, someone has learned something through this process and more folks will be involved in crafting a reorganization plan that can pass constitutional muster.

    1. Spot on on #1, Wayne. Judicial Review is possible in our system. No one exercised it.

      On #2, the schedule proposed by the GC Commission and adopted by GC actually increased the “official hours” available for delegates to do their work in legislative groups and on the floor while also reducing the number of “late nights” they’d have to endure in order to do that.

      And then we spent two days debating the rules– something that should have been able to be accomplished in an hour on the first night at most.

      So I guess I don’t see a time crunch at work there — I see a trust crunch. And in trust crunches, adding more time to debate often tends to reinforce rather than relieve the crunch.

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