Friday, July 21, 2006

A Quick Organizational Behavior Audit of Reactions to Dr. Medley's Statement

In the immediate aftermath of Dr. Medley's recent courageous statement on ethics and morality, reactions were swift and predicable.

A couple of early statements from AWAB voices summed it up well:

"This is indeed a disturbing message and offers, I think, a rather important clue to where things are headed for the ABCUSA. or where a significant faction would like to see them headed . . . I think all of us on all sides of the issue, will find that the denomination will take on less and less meaning for us. There are other formal and informal alliances, associations, and fellowships that will take on larger meaning for us. In fact, this is already a reality for many of us, no matter where we are on the theological spectrum of American Baptist life . . . So as distressing as the General Secretary's message is, and its implications, all of our eggs don't any longer need to be in that one basket. We need to help shape life in that basket the best we can, but it is also time to weave another basket or two. Any Baptist basket makers out there?"

"I, too, am extremely disturbed by it, on several levels . . . I find it offensive that the tone of the letter speaks from an assumed authority to make his pronouncements--something quite contrary to the Baptist principles I adhere to . . . I am most troubled, though, by the third paragraph, where the following "issues" are lumped into one . . . There is no acceptable or understandable reason why a Christian leader, especially of the ABC, would link the concepts of sexual obsession, sexual abuse, and sexual impropriety with homosexuality. Whether intentional or not, I find this nearly unforgivable . . . I am disturbed and ashamed by this letter. I am attempting at this point to discern a more rational response than I feel right now."

Comments from the right were mixed. Some, like His Barking Dog applauded the statement as courageous and welcomed it. Others, such as Durable Data, opined that "the theo-left has nothing to fear from the Medley letter." He reasoned that "the idea is to have a letter on hand to use to shut up conservatives. Expect no implementation." The general tone of most conservatives was a very cautious "wait and see."

Those in the middle, particularly officialdom, gave strong support to the statement, citing Dr. Medley's proven record of personal probity, high level of integrity, and genuine spirituality. Dwight Stinnett, of "ABC Views from the Middle," typified this response, hailing it as "important . . . and unprecedented." He reasoned that no General Secretary has ever taken the risk to be so forthright and candid in such a way during recent memory.

The most likely immediate fallout will be the use of the statement by moderate Executive Ministers anxious to staunch the hemorrhaging in their regions. In the near term they will answer any negative questions with reference to the "clear and unambiguous" statement by the General Secretary. It would probably be a "smart" idea for EMs to feature Medley's statement in their montly/periodic newsletters going to pastors and lay leaders. In this way they could purchase the near-term quiescence of some of the pastors wondering what all of the hubbub in PSW was about and rally a cadre of lay leaders against future suggestions of withdrawal at the same time.

Mid-term, however, actions speak louder than words. The GS will need to follow up his statement in some demonstrable way lest he have wasted his efforts only to antagonize the left and further alienate the right.

[His Barking Dog disclaims any position of authority or special insider knowledge. Nearly 50 years ago my box of frosted flakes lacked the promised secret universal decoder ring. I have been paradigmatically clueless ever since.]


Amill-Presup said...

Ah, an quick post with an very quick proof-read.


jesuit spy said...

Medley's statement is too little, too late. Its a dog bone throne to the remaining right of the ABC. Its incredible it issued after PSW left.
In the end it will be "Much Ado About Nothing"

Dennis E. McFadden said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dennis E. McFadden said...


Thanks for the quick catch. Most of my posts are 15 minute jobs done before 8:00 a.m. The title got changed from "An Organizational" to add the word quck without checking the syntax. Thanks for the correction.

Hey, I never claimed to be literate (or grammatical). Just a poor Baptist preacher.

Amill-Presup said...

Don't sweat it... I'd put you in the top 2 percentile of bloggers for spelling and grammar.