Saturday, August 06, 2005

Power? Did someone say "Give me more"?

Shrimp here: As said downstream, I remember when the Lutheran Commentator seemed to me like the rantings of a sociopath. That's all changed and it is amazing how one can go through old issues and see prophecies come true (try it--go to the link below and after you read that, go the home page and thumb through old issues). While we await the opening of the Assembly, here's some reading material on what's at stake:

"Restructuring to centralize power."

"The ELCA has a problem: How to repair the disconnect between congregations and headquarters? The restructuring proposal aims to fix this problem in two ways.

First, synods will nominate candidates for the ELCA Church Council. Synods, however, can’t freely nominate candidates because quotas “will be upheld through a rotational system throughout all synods.” This means that a synod will be assigned a quota slot, such as female clergy, lay male of color, etc., and both nominees must come from that category. .

Second, in order to repair the disconnect, periodic consultations will be held to foster communication between headquarters and congregations. The proposed consultations, however, will have no legislative or budgetary power.

Concentrating Power in Church Council. The restructuring proposal eliminates boards and committees, transferring their decision-making power to the Church Council. Because of quotas and the need to give several weeks a year for council meetings, council members are often people with church-related jobs or flexible schedules. Few council members come with executive experience in business, finance, and theology. As a result, many decisions are shaped for the council by the staff under the direction of the Presiding Bishop.

Conclusion: How could the disconnect be fixed? The system could be altered to require that any major policy change adopted by the churchwide assembly be ratified by 2/3 of the synods. But this change will not happen because it would take power away from the center, and central powers do not give up power.

How the ELCA is developing is evident in its restructured design: toward centralizing power. No matter how the 2005 Assembly votes on the proposal to adopt a “local option” for gay clergy, the bishops won’t delay or stop what they are doing. They will continue to place gay clergy until the opposition wears out, just as Episcopal bishops have done.

No matter what the 2005 Assembly does with its one big issue, the new hymnal and restructuring design will be adopted – all three issues centralize power.

Watch out, little frogs. The heat’s rising.

Read the piece here.

No comments:

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...