A Glimpse Behind the Curtain: GC2019



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How the vote was cooked before GC2019

In the context of the UMC's GC2019, Rev. David Livingston reports that "The pressure on Africans in particular to conform to the wishes of their bishops and fellow delegates is intense."
In other words, they are being manipulated by the system and not allowed to vote their consciences--even in secret.
David also denies that the One Church Coalition met African requests for bribery.
Even I am appalled at the flat-out crassness of the African mindset that assumes that corruption and neocolonialism infect every transaction with American Methodists.
But the real, hidden history here points to the truth of this perspective. According to a former top official in the GCFA, that's just the way it is in Africa.
[Like the line at the end of that Jack Nicholson movie: "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."]
But, given what I gleaned from the retired GCFA administrator, I should have known how the African delegations would vote.
First, the African bishops tightly control who gets to go to GC. In one incident a female delegate arrived at the GC to discover she had been replaced at the last minute because her bishop wanted somebody else. Oops!
Second, getting to go to the GC is a highly sought-after perk for African delegates: free visa, passport, airfare, hotels, food, incidentals, and the opportunity to bring home a lot of tech goodies! So, despite any personal reservations about how to vote, they tend to play it by the book and vote as a bloc.
Third, there are threats of reprisals for anyone who votes to support homosexual activity. That would include burning your house down and harming your family if you go into exile in the West. At a minimum you would be shunned and lose your job.
Fourth, the African bishops operate like village chieftains in a tribal culture. The United Methodist Church is their tribe. They get to call the shots. What they say goes.
Fifth, there are well founded allegations of internal corruption, disappearing and unaccounted-for mission funds, and ongoing disputes among African bishops and with other United Methodist clergy. Just Google 'Bishop Wandabula' for starters. That's just one case.
Sixth, there is some doubt about 'real', countable, congregational membership numbers when in Nigeria they translate to 6 GC delegates in 2000, 44 in 2008, but just 22 in 2016. And this example is just the tip of the iceberg called "What is really going on in Africa?" We just don't know, really.
Seventh, the 2004 'merger' of the 700,000-member Protestant Methodist Church of the Ivory Coast into the UMC was a HUGE tilt of the scale toward the emergence of African dominance of the UMC.
Like that line in the movie: "Forget it, Jake. It's Africa."
So if the African delegates got fooled by their inability to follow the political machinations of the last day of the conference, that's just playing the hand the traditionalists were dealt. It's called 'Hardball.' Not a nice word for those Very Nice Methodist Christians who love everybody.

Wayne more than 2 years ago

Anarchist movements rarely, if ever, succeed

David, if you despise our organizational structure so much, why not leave and form a new structure that better suits how you think denominational rules should be discussed and passed? Simply “blowing up” the process achieves nothing but anarchy, an unsustainable state of being for any organization. It does nothing to help your preferences prevail and merely frustrates the majority so that they lose faith in the ability to self govern. You seem to be urging the best we can be is a lose/lose organization. “Progressives” are frustrated and want to drop out because the Majority has held to a Traditional understanding of Scripture and Church Orthodoxy and Traditionalists will eventually lose patience and want to drop out because we are sick of being labeled “haters” because we follow our consciences and understanding of how God requires we live our lives and we don’t desire to financially support an unreformable human institution that promotes labeling us as such or Bishops or ministers who took an oath before God and His people to abide by our Book of Discipline and have absolutely no intention to do so. So no need to gloat if the Judicial Council declares the enforcement provisions unconstitutional in April. Methodism as a human institution will then be nothing but a lose/lose denomination. But lose/lose is usually fine with anarchists.

John more than 2 years ago

God Bless our African and Filipino

Delegates and all other delegates who voted for the Traditionalist Plan. They showed that following God’s word is still important within the UMC denomination. Thank you for choosing God’s Word over the Word of broken man.

Steve more than 2 years ago