"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grace Grieving 7: Who "won"?

     One (hopefully) last post on the debacle of February 5: 
     Someone who supported the proposed changes to the Statement of Faith said we (Watchmen) won because we were able to block those changes.
     It's hard for us to see it that way. First, the Bylaws require members not only to support but to "advocate and propagate" the existing Statement of Faith. Not to do so is grounds for dismissal. Yet the Executive Board of Elders has been ignoring the Statement for years. They haven't taught it to new members since 2006 and they do not require church leaders to believe it. Instead, they've advocated and propagated their proposed version, the one that officially lost the election. It has been posted on the church website for a long time as "Our Core Commitments."
     Second, the Statement of Faith is part of the proposed Bylaws, which will be voted on in June. (In keeping with the trend of this church, the proposed Bylaws continue to remove substantial rights from members. You will lose the right to have any say about the budget, choice of senior pastor, missionaries, staff appointees allowed to become elders without requiring membership approval, women given all the rights of pastors, etc.)  Since every elder was re-affirmed, those who want those changes are still in power--and their agenda has not changed. Regardless of the wishes of the congregation, legal or not, they are determined to ram their agenda through.
     Third, even though the Statement of Faith was in effect when the names of those who supported it were made public, and even though the Statement of Faith is still in effect the leadership has used that list to punish and discriminate against those who signed it.
     So in what sense can we be said to have "won"?

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