“Scaredy cat, scaredy cat!”
The classic playground exchange: one child makes a pejorative accusation of another, the second denies the charge, and the first one says, “Prove what I just said isn’t true.”
And child number two is now put in the impossible situation. For there is no way to prove to the first child’s satisfaction that he or she is indeed not a “scaredy cat.”
Let’s try another example, and I write this knowing the illustration can be called “sexist.” However, since I’m a woman, and it reflects poorly on womankind, I’ll take the risk:.
Many wives have said to their husbands (to their husband’s despair), “You don’t love me!”
What they are really saying, of course, is that “You are not doing what I want you to do so I feel good about myself so therefore you must not love me.” By the way, this is why many people don’t think God loves them either–God just doesn’t always dance well to our imperative tunes.
Anyway, when the husband responds, “Of course I love you,” he plays the same losing game as the schoolyard children above. As long as his wife is convinced that he doesn’t love her, there is no way he can prove otherwise. He can’t prove the negative.
The Accusations of Racism
Right now, there are charges of racism being floated against members of the North Texas Conference and the South Central Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee that evaluated Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe’s leadership and effectiveness. With those charges now coming from several places, the chances of a reconciling and healthy resolution to this situation grow increasingly unlikely.
Why? Because we can’t prove a negative.
What would the North Texas Conference have to do to prove this negative? This question needs to be asked. What would it take to prove decisively to those who have floated such accusations that they are untrue? Those who have made such charges need to answer the question: What would bring them satisfaction?
The Problem with Numbers
This situation has made glaringly clear the problem with making numbers (“metrics” is the more sophisticated term) as the basis for determining effectiveness. A tiny gain in the number of people attending worship and 16 church plants has been given as proof that Bishop Bledsoe is effective in leadership.
Yes, those 16 church plants have helped very much bring an increase in worship numbers. But here’s the problem: most of the church plants started, or were at least in the planning stages, long before Bishop Bledsoe took office. I know–my church is considered one of them–not as a brand-new plant, but as a relocation and restart.