And Now There’s Only One Way Out

Reviews of the Working Group (WG) webinar are in, and a few things are clear:

  1. After months of consultation and discussion within Synod, it was mostly thrown out in favor of the WG proposal because “some pastors” had unspecified concerns, would oppose the proposal, and it’d be effectively DOA at the Convention.
  2. This, in effect, meant that these pastors had effectively exercised a veto over all the work that had gone into project without the CCMS – much less the rest of the church membership – hearing the concerns, discussing them, and potentially coming to a mutually acceptable solution.
  3. Instead the BOD ambushed the CCMS and convinced them to follow a radically different course of action and resulting structure,
  4. The Working Group admits that their proposal has a number of known errors that they attribute to the time crunch the group was working under.
  5. The WG Webinar was, as Sola Gratia’s Andreas Schwabe expected, mostly a sales job – there was little opportunity for discussion, only “clarification”.
  6. The expectation now is that the Convention will be more of the same, and the time between now and the Convention will not provide any reasonable opportunity for discussion among the membership.
  7. This means, regardless of intention or ability, the resulting structure will not properly serve the Synodical membership, and more likely result in further grief down the road.

Back when this whole process started I wrote a number of articles on the restructuring process which included this warning in part 4/6:

The major risk of Stage Five is that the entire handbook will be re-written prior to voting on by the convention. Since the revised handbook will be the binding implementation of the proposed structure, the membership will need time to review the specific changes, agree that it is an accurate reflection of the proposed structure, and ensure that any difference between the proposed structure and the Handbook’s implementation is properly resolved.

Part 5/6 has another warning:

A perfect consensus will be impossible to achieve in a community as large as LCC, and an end-to-end rewrite of a Handbook can be a tempting time for groups with their own agenda to try and change the proposed revisions so it’ll align with their priorities over and above what had been developed by the community. As such, it may be wise to limit amendments to the proposed Handbook changes to those submitted prior to the convention so they can be distributed to the delegates for advance consideration.

Given that even the WG admits they’ve produced a flawed product, that the membership hasn’t had any chance to study much less discuss and debate the proposal, the only reasonable option left now is to table the proposals and send it back to the CCMS (not the WG) for further discussion, debate, and refinement.  As I wrote in Part 4/6:

Getting to this point in time for the Synod membership to review the handbook changes prior to the convention will be a significant challenge. If that goal cannot be accomplished then a vote on adopting the new handbook should be postponed to a later convention as it is significantly more important to get this done right than to meet an arbitrary deadline.

Regardless of what happens at the Convention, the sun will rise in the east, and the Lord’s work will be done – with our without us.

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