A Change of Delegate Definitions Could Hurt Diversity

During the Monday business meeting at the General Conference (GC) Session, an amendment to better define “frontline employees” in the GC constitution and bylaws was brought up for a delegate vote. It appears in the agenda like this: 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11825

this lack of diversity among decision-making delegates needs to be seriously looked at in my view…specifically, i see very little wisdom in weighting delegate selection so heavily towards church employees, let alone full-time church employees…that is, i don’t see that church employees have more talent or mental ability than lay persons…in fact i think they have less, in many cases…i do see that lay persons bring a perspective that insulated, life-long church employees cannot be expected to have developed…i also see that our prophet portrays the finishing of the work essentially in terms of dedicated lay persons…

delegate selection among church employees comes across as self-serving elitism…and look at how that elitism screwed things up in San Antonio…apparently, a majority of delegates didn’t know or care about the obvious lesson of unity through diversity outlined in Acts 15, even after the GC Secretariat spelled it out…this is practically unforgivable…a more diverse delegate input, in terms of age, gender and experience, would have never made this error…

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The Anglican church in Australia has two decision making bodies. For policy to change both must agree. One body is composed entirely of lay people, the other clergy. Both are of equal size. This way authority is shared and no group (Lay or Clergy) can dominate.

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Full time, “front-line” workers have more to loose if they “step out of line”. What middle-aged, full time worker is going to vote for changes in church policy… on anything. You just quietly do your job and hope nothing changes so that you’re still employed at 55 - especially with a degree from a non-existing college. That’s called top-down control.

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The only thing the laity can do is vote with their feet and their pocketbooks.

Church employees are tethered to official policy out of economic dependence, and in many cases, a lack of any other marketable skill.

Non church employees rarely have the leisure time to attend such conferences and committee meetings - church employees are paid to do so.

SDA ecclesiastical government is government of the clergy, for the clergy and by the clergy. It has always been thus ever since the model of fulltime paid clergy was introduced. Once a man has dined at the trough of tithe money, his independence is gone.

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I would clarify that today church government is determined not so much by the clergy as it is by an administrative class composed of organizational professionals, including risk management, legal counsel, and financial pros. The idea that the clergy govern the church is outdated. Frankly, due to the increased quotas for lay involvement, the pastoral clergy have very little to say regarding church policy.

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I always heard how Adventists were afraid of “changes to the US Constitution” and how it would hurt them…
Well, I checked the GC serssion today for a minute. It was all about ammending the SDA Constitution.
Hmmm… interesting…

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That’s a great system of procedure. But, can you imagine if Adventists decided to use it as well? :roll_eyes: :cold_face:
Well, of course it’s not goin to ever happen because the bl;ack suited guys upstairs have now total control of the process and they are the ones voting to make sute it will never happen.

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I’m guessing “front-line, full-time employee” might be with particular reference to “from home-base to front-line” Inter-division Employees (IDE’s) aka cross-cultural missionaries. These are full-time mission appointees who take their annual furloughs around the time of the GC session. Thus, it’s customary for their employing division to appoint them as official delegates. In my view, these front-line, full-time employees with cross-cultural experience tend to be independent minded.

Edit: I just found that this revision about front-line, full-time employee is under GC Executive Committee rather than GC Session delegates.

I like the Baptists, but with the current sex scandal that popped up a few days ago, I am thinking that migrating to the Anglican Church would be the most advisable at this time. :wink:

Seriously? Do you really believe that the GC wants to increase the number of “independent minded” people?

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Hmm… I have seen a number of full-time paid pastors step to the microphone and and loudly proclaim their opposition to positions the GC leadership holds to be sacrosanct.

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One church pastor from each division regardless of division membership, plus another church pastor or a front-line, full-time church employee from a division with 500,000 plus membership. Does anyone know who might that church pastor be from the NAD?

I think the scandal was with the Southern Baptist Convention specifically. There are quite a few other Baptist groups. I haven’t looked into it that much, but I think I’m correct in stating that it was the SBC that was involved in the scandal.

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Yes, you are right, the problem is with the SBC. But one has to be careful when picking and choosing, not to end up associated with a church that may potentially have problems like plagiar… err sexual exploitation. :wink:

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Full time “pastors” aren’t employees of the GC; they are employees of the local conference. How many are publicly opposing the views of their local conference administration?

But be that as it may, all of this political wrangling is primarily an internal power struggle among various clerical factions; the lay membership is only tangentially affected.

SBC is not even part of the Baptist World Alliance! Just as Shepherd’s Rod is not Adventist.
However, having said this … I just had a conversation with another researcher who found that sexual abuse can be found a lot even in main line churches. Finding the right church will not circumvent that particular issue… It appears to be deeply human.

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I just came to a point of wondering, Does one actually need a Church?
It appears that the Church needs the members more than the members need the church.
Any input on this?

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Yes, one does… Look at all the people who left the Adventist Church… They still hang around in Spectrum, Atoday, even FB and follow what is happening in their former home. That is one of the destructive issues of the current toxicity. “I will go” is easier said than done. Where to? We will have to learn to redefine Church for post-modern times… and maybe one day we will find a construct.

What is currently hurting us is the regulation-mania … common sense is no longer desired - or plain absent. In my class “professional ethics” I usually say: where there is no ETHOS, you need ETHICS (as in “ethical standards” - spelled out to great details)…

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Dr. Bruinsma wrote a very interesting paper related to this GC session:
http://reinderbruinsma.com

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