[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
Re: [HoB/D] Call for 20/20 nominations
On Nov 30 3:36am SELawton@aol.com wrote:
; and it would appear that the movement of the Spirit
> tends to defy ownership by any one group. Our role is to propose
> strategic and supportive action for something which is already
> underway and which tends to overflow bureaucratic boxes. The work is
> emerging from the grassroots -- we seek mainly to discover it, to
> encourage it, and to support it with strategic proposals for the
> Church to consider.
I respect this perspective and do not diminish my respect one iota when I
caution that the 20/20 Strategy Group needs to attend to the bureaucratic
boxes very carefully if you want to affect the institution in a
One of the grave problems, in my view, with the 2020 Task Force report is
the number of places where it specifies actions in the passive voice
without naming an agent. In most of those cases it is easy to suggest as
agents existing parts of the bureaucracy. Any freshman in high school
should be able to take the structural details in the front of the
Episcopal Church annual and make those choices with a high degree of
accuracy in about half an hour. It is also possible and desirable, but
not nearly as easy, to provide a persuasive rationale for new structures
to replace or augment existing ones.
For example, we all say we want more people of color in the Episcopal
Church. What strategies will offer the best chance of our success? What
strategies are already working successfully? What structural changes will
those strategies require?
The hard work of asking and answering questions like these is precisely
how a plan differs from a vision. General Convention has asked for a
plan. We already unanimously affirm the vision.
Plans that involve structural specifics will make your work harder: they
will provoke argument: indeed they should, so that decisions about
structural matters are negotiated openly, not in a back room.
I can well understand that disciples at the grassroots, including a
majority of those who need to shape the 20/20 strategy, have limited
knowledge of the bureaucracy. I'm guessing, but would be surprised if in
most parishes of ECUSA more than than 70 percent of those in attendance on
a Sunday morning could name all the members of their current vestry, more
than 60 percent could name their own bishop, more than than 30 percent
could name the Presiding Bishop, and more than 5 percent could name the
Archbishop of Canterbury. Even if I am right, I see no cause for concern.
One can be a vibrant and effective disciple without knowing what the light
and gas bills are for the quarter or the year, and even without knowing
who sees that they are paid. But any program that hopes to survive and
work well until 2020 needs to have the bills paid, the letters mailed and
You don't need many in the Strategy Group who are savvy about the
institutional structures, but you need several, and those especially need
to represent the broad spectrum of ECUSA to minimize the real fear that
one party or another might use this movement to wrest power
disproportionately for its own party's interest -- all in the name of
Jesus. That concern is legitimate and should be named and dealt with as
openly as possible.
Factionalism does not magically disappear merely because we want it to.
While the Holy Spirit does indeed "tend to defy ownership by any one
group," all groups, including those to which I belong, have a hard time
heeding that, for we all believe we receive our special insights through
the work of the Holy Spirit. We must be vigilant to respect the work of
the Holy Spirit in all factions, especially in factions not our own.
No one party holds the franchise on evangelism. No one party holds the
franchise on justice. Evangelism without justice work is cheap and
sentimental; justice without evangelism becomes a parlor exercise, with
fewer and fewer in the parlor.
Not everybody who is talking about evangelism is really doing it. Some
who wouldn't dare talk about it are doing it very well and need to
influence the 20/20 strategies.
Not everybody who is talking about justice is really doing it. Some who
wouldn't dare talk about it are doing it very well and need to influence
the 20/20 strategies.
One of the major bureaucratic boxes that we must not dismantle is our
democratic process. Of necessity, appointments do that for a season, and
are necessary to get us thinking outside the box. But all of the visions
and the plans rightly must come back to democratically elected deputies to
General Convention for final decisions about implementation.