The Likelihood of UMC Structural Reforms

I have a question . Do you have a sense of how likely the structural reforms are to be passed? That is, eliminating and combining Agencies, and creating a new executive function?

The Steering Team is trying to create a sense of urgency, which reminds me of the urgency after 9/11 which was used as justification for the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security. I believe the parallels are strong, that the foundation for authoritarian governance is being laid by the Call to Action.

Three justifications are offered for these authoritarian measures. The first justification is accountability, which in corporate parlance means the power to fire, demote, and sanction, as well as reward and promote. The second justification, which on the surface at least seems weaker, is the need to fill the decision-making power vacuum that exists between conference sessions. The third justification offered for these authoritarian measures is efficiency. There is so much rhetorical subterfuge, so much deliberate obfuscation in the Call to Action and the Apex appendix, and I’m afraid that in this “urgent” rush an awful lot will slip in under the radar.

So what are the chances of the Call to Action being implemented? Is it a question of them asking for the house, knowing they’ll settle for the kitchen? Or the garage? Is shutting down select Agencies the goal of some CTA supporters? They have urged officials to take actions “that do NOT require legislative action.” Do they think that legislative action will not be forthcoming, or will be watered down?

Or are the reforms genuinely urgent, and designed to foreclose further efforts to make the United Methodist Church more inclusive, open, and affirming, which the CTA says threaten “disintegration”?

Some may say I’m being naive, but God the Messiah did address this issue. Jesus said, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them call themselves ‘Benefactors.’ But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.” (Luke 22:25-26, cf. Matthew 20:24ff; Mark 10:42ff) And (if you’ll excuse the naive reading) there’s Israel, who cried out to Samuel, “Give us a king!” (I Samuel 8:5-6)

[To see a complete list of Call to Action posts, click here.]

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
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2 Responses to The Likelihood of UMC Structural Reforms

  1. Ed Rogosky says:

    Before any reform can begin, there must be one question answered and that is about the Intent of the Reformers. You have asked it and it is a good question. What do you suppose is the intent of the Council of Bishops?


  2. Pingback: One lay leader’s take on Call to Action | John Meunier

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