Three Cheers for the Indy Plan (or Some Variation of It)



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2/3 majority

The idea of having a 2/3 majority to vote for a traditionalist church to leave is a non starter. Yes Ideally you would have that type of agreement in the church. But it would have great unintended consequences. My church is 90% traditional, but I do not believe that 2/3 would vote to disaffiliate. The few progressives would definately come and vote against it. Many of the older folks out of a sense of loyalty may not vote for disaffiliation. However those that are highly engaged in this conversation (I am not encouraging it, to prevent conflict) will vote for disaffiliation. Unfortunately this is the same group that are the leaders, the doers and the givers in the church. It includes those of my younger generation who are becoming increasingly traditional. They have made it quite clear that if the denomination allows gay ordination and marriage they will leave. The effect of requiring a 2/3 vote is that my church will be left with a lesser number of pew sitters in the Sunday service and no one to fill leadership roles. Meanwhile the Baptist churches in the area will encounter a sudden bump in membership or a non-denominational church will form. By forcing the majority to bide by the will of the minority, you will force the laity, who can vote easily with their feet to leave. While this plan may be well intended to prevent pain, pain will be unavoidable. It is better to rip the bandadge off, and let the chips fall where they may. Then we can all go on and serve the Lord. This idea was first floated by Mainstream USA whose goal seems more to win than to find peace. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would assume that it really is a plan to drive out traditionalists individually while keeping their property. How are they going to maintain it without 40+% of the laity.

Scott more than 1 year ago

I agree

But I'd still think it would be best to consider a 'greater than 50% +1' as a threshold.

I think there is more fear of voting among the clergy than among the laity, to be honest - probably because, as you rightly note, people will simply vote with their feet. I would also suggest that each DS ought to help with the marshalling of the votes - if you have 3 centrist/progressive churches and 6 tradtitionalist in an area, making sure that the locals understand which ones lean which way are important. This is a time to have a 'great migration' within the American UMC.

Those leadership folks are really important - when they leave a church, it is hugely impactful. By helping to manage the process, the clergy (at all levels) can make this work very smoothly. We tend to be very siloed in our own churches, when we ought to be (right now) making connections between them.

I thought about each AC determining their own threshold, but you might have a couple (who are primarily one direction or another) react a little more punitively, which would only exacerbate this problem.

Would it be acceptable to go with 55% or 60%? I would hope that with good solid communications about the process and the end goal, hitting a decent threshold would be workable. That feels a little political, but I think it would be to everyone's advantage here.

JR more than 1 year ago