Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal -- At Least in ABC Circles

Earlier this week I reported on first impressions from the recent round of ABC meetings. Now more of the news has come in and the picture is much more "optimistic" for Dr. Medley's position than I had understood it to be when writing the first report.

In a round of e-mails circulating between members of the General Executive Council, industrial strength wordsmithing has been applied to the upcoming press release describing actions of the GEC. At this point, the participants are intent on finding a way to work the word "transformational" into the statement in place of the more pedestrian "helpful," "progressive," or "positive." They want to be seen as advocating truly radical and transformational, rather than merely incremental, changes in the organization supporting ABC life.

One person suggested that the public release should simply say that "we engaged in discussion about controversial issues that have paralyzed us. And that we think we have a starting place for meaningfully addressing issues that divide us."

Others have seen an analogue to the controversy over WCC/NCC participation a couple of decades ago. Conservatives who were bothered by the affiliation were given the option to go on record as non-supporting of the WCC/NCC. An additional advantage is that conservatives seemed placated by that earlier solution.

In preparation for a September meeting of the GEC, about a half dozen structural change scenarios (complete with the advantages and disadvantages of each) are being discussed and evaluated. Several who have been part of the nay-saying crowd are reportedly speaking more optimistically of the prospects for finding a structural solution to the current impasse. At least they want to (as one participant put it) "give it one more try for the Gipper."

I am dubious of the strategy to find our salvation in structural changes. The core problem relates to deeply held theological differences in core beliefs. Papering over such divides with the arcane argot of bylaws will hardly satisfy anyone.

Unfortunately reporting on ABC life can be hazardous. I am not sure how much longer these reports will be continued. However, as long as there is information to be had, you will hear what can be known.

[His Barking Dog pretends to no power, authority, or insider status anywhere. These are merely the grunts of an old dog gnawing on a few bones out back of the house.]

8 comments:

Amill-Presup said...

food for thought:
http://www.ministerscouncil.com/Blogging/EthicsofBlogging.aspx

(perhaps for we who comment as well...)

Bills Blog said...

Thats the pot calling the kettle black. Hardly food for thought. Dennis' arguments are cogent, documented and easily understood. He is articulate, balanced, trustworthy, honest (admits when he has erred) and is compassionate. He has been betrayed as the rest of us have been. The ABC's curvature of the soul is becoming more evident each day.

Wendy Beltrane said...

Right on HK. We need more blogers willing to speak for what is right.
I didn't realize the Roger Williams Fellowship was non-vocal about controversial issues and hold back their opinion about the destiny of the ABCUSA.
To steal a phrase from a gay friend -- "silence=death".

beacon churches said...

Let's keep the Roger Williams Fellowship in context. They (and Roger Williams himself) can only be called Baptist in the broadest of fashions. And if you read some of the stuff on RWF's web site, you know that Hugenot's article on ethics is (at least perhaps) tongue in cheek.

Meanwhile, Dennis, my last conversation with an exec was inquiring about you. His observation is that with all the e-mail's he has seen, you must be a pretty important person.

Keep it coming!

Art Jaggard

Amill-Presup said...

What an awesome juxtaposition of drivel.
"He has been betrayed as the rest of us have been."

"To steal a phrase from a gay friend"

Yeah, everyone is out to get you.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Agree with me or disagree, I don't censor comments pro or con. However, it does surprise me that you keep coming back for something that makes you "want to puke" and produces such strong reactions in you.

Amill-Presup said...

"Know your enemy."
I get the AWAB newsletter to keep an eye on them as well...

I also read Schleiermacher.

I even listen to Michael Savage every once in a while.

I like to keep the people here in "non-blindly-polarized land" well informed.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Amill-presup,

Sorry to be on your enemies list (cf. "know your enemey"). You seem like an articulate, capable, and nimble-witted person with whom I could enjoy many long talks over good coffee.

My only beef with your range of exposure involves Michael Savage. Brilliant, yes, but virtually impossible to listen to due to his abusive tongue and constant put-downs.

Blessings,

Dennis