Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Observations on One Proposed ABC Structure

In a prior blog I posted Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins III's "thinking out loud" piece on the future of ABC structure. It did not, however, include any evaluative commentary by me. My observations were posted to another forum where they were picked up by an actual member of the GEC. In an e-mail directed to me this afternoon, that person observed: "Maybe you've already touched on it many times on your blog site; but this is a HUGE issue for ABC-USA . . . You could not be any more correct." In light of those words of unsolicited support, I am reprinting my breezy message board response to another writer as follows:

My "take" was that he did not want to appear critical of Roy, so he excused Dr. Medley from blame in order to make his more substantive points. Does it hold water? No, not exactly. But, that is one of MY points. In a system with such diversity of values and deep core convictions, "processing" ourselves to death under PC rules will only ensure a lowest common denominator denomination. The outcome will be unsatisfying to both left and right.

[Person's name], you predicted that the "Shared Table" had a virtual lock on acceptance because it had at least 21 votes lined up before the meeting. Yet, a single progressive EM reportedly threw a tantrum at the GEC and the proposal was "tabled." In a system where everyone "has" to "get along" with everyone else, don't expect winning ideas to receive winning support. Rather, the consensus outcome can be counted upon to produce a result as unworkable in practice as it will prove frustrating to just about everyone. As long as members of the GEC are more concerned about the internal dynamics of their group than they are the future of the denomination, expect such relationally driven factors to continue yielding gridlock or paralysis.

The burden of my evaluation has to do with internal process dynamics inherent in the ABC structures. The theological diversity experienced by participants can only be managed by elaborate and somewhat Byzantine mechanisms placing more emphasis upon not "offending" and "getting along" than upon forward progress. As long as this corporate culture predominates, expect to see a continuation of the mission giving numbers cited in my previous post.

[His Barking Dog professes no special skill set beyond barking and chasing ecclesiastical cars passing by. My noises are strictly due to my own mangy nature and not to be attributed to any of my masters in the southwest.]


beacon churches said...

Hi Dennis,

Your insight is helpful. As always you cut to the heart of the matter.

The one area where I experience a sense of disconnect is that so little is done to get along with moderate (and conservative) evangelicals. For instance, it would not have taken much to get along with PSW and even now TM is open to constructive relationships. The get along that will endure is one that requires accommodation of the liberal agenda and it is not a two way street.


Kevin Comfort said...

I agree. The "Thinking Out Loud" betrays the inability to really think differently in order to create a new physical structure, and a new corporate structure. I say find the most creative Christians, lock them in a room, tell them to create a structure to best help a group of churches do mission, and do what they come up with. Oh, and btw, they cannot be involved in denominational leadership. I don't say this to mean, but to point out that those who are intricately involved in a structure have great difficulty in seeing beyond what they have known.

roy said...

obviously "getting along" is not enough... but true consensus is a good thing and I believe at the core of Baptist identity. The problem is obvious... how do you get consensus when we are so diverse in so many ways? It may not be possible unless that diversity can become the bedrock of the consensus.