Saturday, June 11, 2005

Okay, Here's what NOT to do...

Imagine if you will a small group of people sitting together around a table. This group has been convened to discuss important issues, issues that will impact the lives of millions of other people. In fact, the millions of others have specifically chosen this small group to represent them in these vital discussions. One of the things the small group does is collect information about these issues from a variety of sources, then make the best decisions possible based on this input. Can you picture that?

Now imagine that this small group is divided into two sub-groups. One of the sub-groups (let's call them Sub-Group A) has a few more people in it that the other (Sub-Group B). Because of the way the small group is run, the group with the most people can decide when, where, and about what to discuss. That means Sub-Group A has the power at this time. Got the picture?

Now imagine (this will require a bit of a stretch) that the leader of the small group, who is a member of Sub-Group A, hears a bit of input with which he does not agree. In fact, the input is pretty much directly counter to his idea. And so the leader of the small group immediately calls a halt to the discussion and leaves the table, taking all of the other members of Sub-Group A with him, literally turning off the microphones on members of Sub-Group B, and effectively shutting down the discussion altogether. I know that is difficult to believe, but can you at least imagine it?

It would be easier to imagine in a country that was not a democracy. Unfortunately, it happened in the United States House Judiciary Committee. It was the grown-up version of "If you won't play by my rules I'll just take my ball and go home" taunt most frequently heard on the elementary school playground.

Diversity means difference, and difference implies disagreement. As a minister, I hope the Church can learn something about what NOT to do by watching our current version of government operate. When the Church has important decisions to make, it is my prayer that Sub-Group A (whoever that may be at the time) will listen honestly to everyone's input before deciding anything. The Church is a wonderfully diverse body, with an array of different beliefs and ideas existing side-by-side. That is one of the things I love most about the Church. It has always been that way, and if I have anything to say about it, it always will.

Desiring Dialogue,
Andy B.

1 comment:

John said...

Well, if the subgroup B wants to spend all of the Committee's time delivering deluded rants about extraneous topics, then it would make sense to shut down the committee meeting until subgroup B decided that they wanted to participate in a civil dialog.