Only Wonder Understands...is an excellent, open, thought provoking blog written by Jay Voorhees (and not just for members of the UM Church). It's well worth visiting from time to time. Today's article talks of our UM Bishops and their need for dialogue in a trusting environment. Although there are no pat answers, I can see the issue and do not envy their position...
In the face of that, I’m not surprised at the call for a private
meeting without a press presence. But that need points to the fact that
our faith is broken for we fail to acknowledge, recognize and celebrate
that power and strength in God’s Kingdom is found in our weakness rather
in our strength. While I understand the need for a safe space for open
and honest conversation, what a witness it would be for our bishops to
acknowledge that they too have not yet reached Christian perfection,
that they too struggle with the same issues each one of us struggles
with, and that they too often have moments of uncertainty about God’s
call for them and for our church. What would it mean for our active
bishops to share openly about the elephant in the room — that the world
has changed dramatically in a very short time and the experiences of
many of our retired bishops have little connection with the realities
they face today? Are we really willing to let the bishops say openly
what they want to say — that they can see the problem with the future of
the church and that problem is us — a church that has equated
membership with discipleship and is bearing the fruit of failing to
develop disciples for the future.
I’m all about openness and transparency, but we are a part of the
equation as well. Openness and transparency is a factor in bringing
forth trust, but so is acceptance and grace. Are we really willing to
have the grace, gentleness, kindness, acceptance, and the desire for
connection to allow our bishops to say what’s on their mind?
Apparently, given their decision, they think not.
It is hard for our leaders because, as Jay mentions, so many of us don't want to see them as human with weaknesses just like us. Taking away these weaknesses would be detrimental to us all, for without them they cease to be human. It's not easy situation but it's not impossible either. We (the congregations) must learn to give our leaders a voice...to speak their minds and not respond with anger or hurt. We expect them to hear us without judgement...why can't they expect the same?