Author Topic: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?  (Read 3989 times)

Richard

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 04:39:29 AM »
Are they asking Association members what it means to the Association members , or telling them what the Conference has decided it means to them?

No, it doesn't mean simply that in conference employment none of these distinctions matter as if "employment" were some kind of an "idea" that existed in a box. It means that they have made a discernment and decision to embrace a theological understanding from which their decision of whom to then employ follows.

The "half" approach would not work -- else the Conference would be free to not hire on the basis of, for example, sexual orientation for half the staff openings but would be required to not consider sexual orientation in filling the other half.  That really would not make any sense.

The idea that this has nothing to do with the Association or its congregations is what doesn't make any sense. If it has nothing to do with the associations or congregations they wouldn't be engaging in any process of attempting to explain it

Why wouldn't it work or make sense?
 I would agree that it wouldn't "work" or make "sense"because it would make the disconnect between reality and ideology and the disconnect between what the people of the UCC believe and what the leadership believes on any number of issues much too starkly apparent. 

But it is the same process that is being consistently applied to any number of categories. We just don't describe things  with much  concern for accuracy or clarity.

We've even established the necesary numerical goal needed to be a "diverse" church. Legislate the requirement that half of the people that serve in governance are women and "people of color."

We didn't even bother with any concern over numbers to declare that a Covenanted Ministry, covenanted to serve local congregations now serves the Progressive Church. No doubt it wouldn't work at all to call ourselves The 8.5 or 10 % Progressive Church and have a Center for 10% Progressive Renewal.

Calling ourselves the "Anywhere from 10 to Maybe 46 % United and Uniting Church Depending on the Issue" would be a bit unwieldy.

Saying that we seek 10% or 43.5% of our Unity In Christ or have  Half a Basis for Partial Union would be problematic, too.

But real. Might even make people think some and decide if there is any further interest in being a diverse church, let alone this pretense  that "we welcome everyone"

There's certainly nothing radical about being peas in a pod where some unelected hierarchy decides for us what we believe, who we welcome, and who we are, and whatto call us.

FWIW -- My Conference has been in discernment about a CONFERENCE ONA designation for the last two years.  This fall, members of our Witness Life Commission are attending all Association meetings to explain what that designation would mean and what it would NOT mean, to answer questions and to hear responses/reactions. It does mean that in CONFERENCE employment, sexual orientation as well as gender, disability, etc., etc. would not be a factor.  It does NOT mean that a vote to be an ONA Conference would change anything for Associations (none of ours have paid staff, by the way) or local congregations. Association delegates are encouraged to take the issue back to local churches for discussion before the next Conference Annual Meeting in June at which delegates from every church will have a vote. The "half" approach would not work -- else the Conference would be free to not hire on the basis of, for example, sexual orientation for half the staff openings but would be required to not consider sexual orientation in filling the other half.  That really would not make any sense.

goodstoryteller

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2010, 09:40:53 AM »


In any event, same issue. How can there be  ONA Conferences without the Associations that make up the Conference having first gone through the process of discernment called for?


In our case there are no Associations or to put it another way the Conference asks as the Association. (dual role)


Richard

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2010, 10:50:09 AM »
Still the same issue- how can a Conference be ONA without the congregations that make up the Conference going through the proces of discernment that ONA calls for?




In any event, same issue. How can there be  ONA Conferences without the Associations that make up the Conference having first gone through the process of discernment called for?


In our case there are no Associations or to put it another way the Conference asks as the Association. (dual role)

ArthurStone

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2010, 01:56:16 AM »
Well the real issue here is how can we intentionally be in covenant with one another and respect the atonomy of every congregation at the same time.  What I sometimes hear from both the liberal side and the conservitive side is, "I am right and they are wrong, therefore I don't have to care about their opinions or feelings."  In my opinion, this is NOT being in covenant with one another.  Nor is having one person elected by General Snyod to speak for the church as if we had one unified opinion and voice.  THAT's NOT COVENANT! (unless that GM decided to say nothing on our behalf, and only speak for us if the words truly represented us 100%)

There is wisdom in learning how to speek to a congregation with love, rather than just speaking for the congregation.  I believe this is one of the not so subtle teachings of Jesus, that far too many of us want to ignore.  It is called loveing and respecting every human being as a child of God.  Or as St.Paul put it, remembering that we are ALL sinners in need of God's grace and redemption and that none of us are any better than others.

If a local church has both conservitives and liberals do we tell half the members to leave and to go form their own church?  (Sure that has been done far too many times.)  But is it what Christ wants of us?  Didn't we form the UCC under a better vision than that?  In my local church we have learned how to work together and try very hard not to turn social issues (of caring for others in mission) into political issues with political adgendas.  Granted, this is not always easy.  It takes careful listening and good pastoral skills.

The same is needed at association, conference, and national levels because covenant only works if it goes both ways and is extended to everyone.  The progressive side cannot say it is keeping covenant with everyone if it exculdes moderates and conservitives from the table, because they are precieved as not holding the correct views.  Nor can conservitives argue that we have to exclude those precieved as liberal sinners, (i.e: "we do not want those kind of people in our churches.")  Neither view is good covenant, nor do these views honor the atonomy or others.

Sometimes I chuckle at the stupidity of some who actually think that they can legislate morality or good social ethics.  I chuckle at the stupidity of thinking that anyone, other than the Holy Spirit, has the power to change the views and behavior of another human being.  God did not call us to CHANGE others, that is God's job through the Holy Spirit.  IMHO, God calls us to love others, plain and simple . . . be in covenant with one another and to respect the right for others to hold a different view, no matter how wrong we think they may be, as long as those views are not brings harm to others.  Of course, that last thought is the most difficult to judge.

Do we choose the blessings of atonomy and covenant together, or do we choose a different path that has often led to bloody wars that seek to killing off all those who disagree.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 03:41:59 AM by ArthurStone »
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ArthurStone

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2010, 03:40:13 AM »
Today, I found this essay about the "necessary other" in the Nov. 4, 2010 blog of the Rev. Dr. John Thomas.  It speaks to the issues discussed in this thread.  I am grateful that he is teaching a "ministry" course at CTS and dealing with this important polity issue.  The blog is found at: http://www.ctschicago.edu/index.php/mnusocialmedia/john-thomas-blog?start=3

Due to the scrolling nature of blogs and URL links not always point to the correct page I have quopute the whole essay below.  Do you think of opposing views as our “absolutely necessary counterpart?”

Quote
The Necessary Other
Our “Practice of Christian Ministry” class this past week was blessed by a visit from Rabbi Herman Schaalman, rabbi emeritus of Emanuel Congregation in Chicago.  He has served for many years as an adjunct faculty member at CTS and his name graces our chair in Jewish Studies.  I had asked Rabbi Schaalman to address the theme of prophetic ministry and, in particular, to reflect on how a pastor or rabbi speaks truth to power while, at the same time, attending to the diverse voices and perspectives within his or her congregation.  In the context of his remarks Rabbi Schaalman spoke of the dialogical nature of prophetic preaching, of the need to engage a congregation rather than simply address a congregation or, for that matter, “unload” on a congregation.  In the course of this he reminded us that we must “respect the other so profoundly that the other becomes our absolutely necessary counterpart.”  It was a phrase that stuck, inviting musing attention in the ensuing days.

A few years ago I visited a senior Shi’ite cleric in Beirut, Lebanon.  Sheikh Hani Fahs was one of the signers of a highly publicized letter from Islamic leaders around the world to Christian leaders.  A Common Word Between Us and You called for Muslim-Christian engagement on the basis of a shared Biblical and Koranic call to the love of God and neighbor.  I asked my host what he and his co-signers intended with the writing of this public letter.  His answer was simple:  “We wanted to prepare friends for you.”   In the midst of our “war on terror, it was a moving phrase for me, an American Christian, to hear from a Muslim cleric educated in Iraq.

We don’t often think of the “other,” whoever she or he might be, as our “absolutely necessary counterpart.”  The member of our congregation who bristles at our preaching whenever it ventures into social questions, who complains about our perspective on faith and public life, is often seen as an irritant rather than a necessary counterpart.  The member of Congress on the other side of the aisle is increasingly viewed as the reviled opposition to be out-maneuvered and ultimately defeated, not as the necessary counterpart.  The person whose faith is other than our own is perhaps tolerated in principle (though these days in the United States that is not necessarily a given), maybe seen as a counterpart, but not often as an absolutely necessary counterpart.

Both Rabbi Schaalman and Sheikh Hani Fahs suggest that absent some move on our part, the other remains alien, perhaps even a threat.  It is only our profound respect, or our effort to prepare friends, that has the potential to transform the other into the necessary counterpart.  Neither of these leaders is naïve about the sharp divisions and disagreements that separate persons, communities, or nations.  Theirs is not a unity of agreement but a call to a community of difference.  Paul puts it this way: “The eye must not say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you.’”  Perhaps this is, in part, what Jesus is getting at in his strange call for us to love our enemies.  Certainly he doesn’t mean we must “like” our enemies.  It remains, always, an act of moral will, not simply an emotional attraction.  Like it or not, our world is comprised not only of those we like, but of enemies and strangers, too.  Others.

The future of our body politic, or of the Body of Christ, or of planet earth will not be secured by the transformation of the other to be like us by persuasion or coercion, or by the obliteration of the other so that only we remain.  One shows no respect for the legitimacy of otherness, and thus an arrogance that is derisive and demeaning.  The other offers merely a prescription for escalating violence and, ultimately, our own destruction.  Like it or not, others endure.  Whether they remain threats or aliens, or become necessary counterparts, is in large measure up to us.

The insights of these two religious leaders have deep significance for congregational life, for interfaith relations, for the future of our political institutions, for how we live with increasingly diverse neighbors across this planet.  Mobility, the media, and the gradual erosion (albeit against continued resistance) of segregations of various kind means that “the other” is more and more present in our lives.  We cannot build walls fast enough, issue religious edicts loud enough, or retreat into homogeneous enclaves far enough to flee the other.  He will not disappear.  She will not melt into likeness.  Flight is not a realistic option.  Nor is fight a morally reasonable option.  Which does seem to leave us with profound respect and the preparing of friends.  Either is a demanding option, requiring a disciplined sense of self, a disciplined faith and a disciplined life.  Who needs this?  Who needs them?  Apparently we do.

John H. Thomas

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Steven

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2010, 09:17:27 AM »
Arthur:
  Good research!
Quote
The future of our body politic, or of the Body of Christ, or of planet earth will not be secured by the transformation of the other to be like us by persuasion or coercion, or by the obliteration of the other so that only we remain.  One shows no respect for the legitimacy of otherness, and thus an arrogance that is derisive and demeaning.  The other offers merely a prescription for escalating violence and, ultimately, our own destruction.  Like it or not, others endure.  Whether they remain threats or aliens, or become necessary counterparts, is in large measure up to us.

This is the John Thomas for whom I had the deepest respect in the 1990's.   :D

This essay seems in deep contrast to his "Red, Blue states & the IRD" speech at Gettysburg college.  It is also a very welcome tone compared to my last formal encounters as well as the formal attempts of colleagues to build bridges of cooperation within the UCC.  :'(

So, we can shake hands with leaders of religions who do not affirm the Gospel but stumble all over ourselves within our own fellowship.   I think of the prospect of a Conference having a face to face meeting with the elected lay leaders of the churches giving $0 to OCWM and the Conf. professional staff and elected officers.   ::)

I see both autonomy & covenant as essential under a common relationship with God.

Blessings!

I do not believe in miracles. I rely on them!

debrev2002

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2010, 09:35:47 AM »
Steve - I agree with you, this reminds me happily of the John Thomas who spoke at a Seminarian Conference I attended who after a day of speakers calling us "the last house on the left", opened by saying he had to go off script for a minute, for he considered us  not"the last house on the left" but "the house in the middle where the left, right and all along the spectrum could come together to worship our God.  That and his willingness to go deeply theologically into issues (church or social) earned my deep respect.  Though he never lost it, I can say that there were several times in the last couple of years that I wondered "Where did this John Thomas come from ?" as I read some of his thoughts/speeches.  But then again, knowing the criticism in sometimes not so nice ways that I receive as a pastor, I can't imagine what he got during the years.  I can understand how one could start to see the "other" as an enemy in that case.  Not that the "other" is always attacking you, but if the attacks come from people who share a common "other" it's too human to extrapolate that onto all sharing that label/name.

I've spent sometime over this vacation pondering exactly what does it mean to be church (in general) so that it is inviting and what is intended by Christ, and specifically how that would work in the UCC with autonomy and  covenant.  And I've come up with solution ..... 8) :o  Seriously, all I've come to the conclusion of, if you can call it that. is that we can only struggle with living in the balance of the two, for at times we need to emphasize one over the other- and that we can only do so exploring the mystery of that balance but never quite seeing it clearly in the mirror on this side of life.

Deb K.

Steven

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2010, 01:46:35 AM »
Deb:
  Thanks! Mind you, my personal/off record/informal chats with John T were always cordial even when "officially" he had made it clear he would NEVER speak with the Officers of BWF.  And yet, we did.  So, I understood there was a certain amount of public posturing required of the position.  Otherwise, I would have been asked to leave.  That particular event occurred over 3 yrs ago. This particular essay would support the thesis that the overt anti-ECOT actions and attitudes are not fixed & as hard-nosed as it may appear.   But it raises the question of how much is bluster & drama and how much is from the heart as I don't think JT has changed his mind.  This is the JT I respect but the JT who made concessions to the "Steeplejacking" wing still stings.

Going back a few posts, the Ohio Conference declared itself ONA in 1990 by a 2:1 margin, bitterly debated. A motion to repeal failed by 2:1 the next summer.  Roughly 50 congregations, about 10% voted to leave as a consequence.  In 2006, I was invited by the OH LGBT Coalition to a seminar on "Is the OH Conf really ONA?"  I listened & took notes as every LGBT person present voiced complaints. A former Exec Dir of the Nat'l UCC LGBT Coalition who led the crusade for the OH ONA vote was in charge. She explained the OH Conf would act on their behalf only under pressure & duress.  In questions of Search & Call, she viewed the Conf staff as powerless.  None could cite examples of how being ONA advanced and of the Coalition's core concerns.

Since then, OCWM has plummeted.  The Conf employees fewer persons. Camp registrations struggle.  But, camp directors appear free to flout the official policy in recruiting camp counselors without consequence.  But, communications from the OH Conf to the local level has also declined.  Conf. meeting attendence fell by 50% but the # of churches & members has not.  One Pt-time ECOT staff minister told me "ONA is killing the Oh Conf"  in the 90's. 

So, a strong majority of clergy & lay leaders supported a divisive policy, refused to compromise at any point before voting but have not insisted upon strong implementation, looking the other way as the primary intended beneficiaries still perceive discrimination and oppression.  Or, was it all for show, making a mockery of Covenant and Autonomy? 

Pardon my cynicism, but its hard to say.  I asked, Rev. Jan Griesinger (the former Exec Dir) if the battle to make Oh ONA was worth the cost to the Conf. at the end of the seminar.  She could not give an unqualified "SURE!", acknowledging the obvious shortfalls participants had shared.   She led the debate "for". I was on the side saying, "This will hurt more than help."  She was/is a superb debater & tactician.   No one in Conf. leadership stepped to say: "Gee, we need to keep covenant with all sides here. Can we find a middle ground?"

Good discussion, I hope this doesn't distract. 

Blessings!



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Denise Goodman

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2010, 04:17:58 AM »
Steve -- In Ohio, how much preparation did the Ohio Conference do before that ONA vote?  As I probably posted earlier, this first came before the Maine Conference two years ago and a vote was postponed so that the Witness Life Commission, which sponsored the issue, could clearly define what it would mean to be an ONA Conference -- and what it would not mean given local church autonomy.  Then the Commission prepared a presentation for each of our 10 Associations.  The one at my Association was so well-received that a pastor asked if she could borrow it to begin an ONA discussion in her church.  My point is that nothing has been rushed and great effort has been made to allow for discussion, assuming Association delegates will take the issue back to their congregations.

We're about to embark on a similar process to determine how to use the proceeds of the sale of our retreat facility and whether to move Conference offices to a church in Gardiner whose dwindling congregation gave it to the Conference (and that was a surprise -- no pressure from the Conference).  I am co-chair of what we've called the Next Generation team that has spent the last 16 months listening to a variety of stake-holders from Association moderators to youth leaders.  We are about ready to present two options to the Conference Coordinating Council with the recommendation that, again, these be taken to Association or regional gatherings for discussion.

My point is about process.  We bend over backwards to involve people at every level in discussions/discernment before bringing an issue to a vote.  As you may recall, we delayed a vote on an Equality in Marriage resolution for a year to allow for more discussion.  Does the Ohio Conference follow a similar procedure?

JonInIowaCity

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2010, 05:43:48 AM »
It's unfortunate that Christians cannot associate with gays.

Denise Goodman

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2010, 08:54:31 AM »
Quote
No one in Conf. leadership stepped to say: "Gee, we need to keep covenant with all sides here. Can we find a middle ground?"

Steve -- What would have been "middle ground?"

Every time this ONA subject comes up, I have a problem with what it means for LGBT folks and those who care for them and believe this is a justice issue to "remain in covenant" with those who would marginalize LGBT folks.  On many other justice fronts, we would agree, I suspect, that there is no "middle ground."  That is, is there middle ground between those who believe in racial justice and those who would marginalize people of color?  To really push this to extremes, is there middle ground between those who believe murder is wrong and should be punished and those who don't?

I'm not trying to demonize you, but I do think this is the heart of the issue for many of us.  What is "middle ground" when it comes to issues many of us see as justice ones?


Steven

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2010, 10:53:53 AM »
Denise:
  Sadly, I was personally involved in the Conf. mtg public debate and some of the backroom negotiations.  Pardon me for naming few names.
  There was no "study" preceding the vote.  Nor was there any willingness to begin a Conf. level study process.  We could have referred it to a study committee or simply not approved the resolution on the table.  The advocates insisted on an "up or down" vote to the private frustration of many in leadership.  Pleas to commit the Conf. to a ONA study process per GS's 1985 Resolution fell on deaf ears. 
   
The proponents could not name any instance where GLBT persons had been discriminated against, insulted, bullied, excluded, or treated poorly by the Oh Conf, its officers, staff or by any committee, commission, task force or subcommittee.  Thus, no one could give any examples of who had been harmed by the current policies which were simply silent.   
   Nor could anyone show any current policies which were intentionally excluding of GLBT persons in any way and needed to be changed.
   We were assured, however, by the proponents, that 10% of the members of every city, town, village and congregation were G or L and this vote would send a clear message that would help untold numbers of silent sufferers. 
    Thus, I felt pretty bad for the GLBT folks who showed up at the mtg in 2007 complaining that this "ONA Conf" was not helping them. Nor could the Nat'l GLBT Coalition offer much help when churches who had become "ONA" began falling off the wagon, so to speak.  So what I witnessed was Gay, Lesbian & Trans-gendered clergy detailing their problems with folks who claimed to be "ONA".   The group was honest about parts of Ohio & elsewhere not likely to be receptive to GLBT clergy but none reported any abuse either. 
   If there had been examples of the Conf. marginalizing LGBT persons merely because they were LGBT, a bunch of us "ECOT" types were willing to pitch in supportively.  There were no examples given.  No anti-gay sermons anywhere.  No fundementalist rantings against "those despicable ************ of humanity.  Ordination is an Assn. matter in Oh and not a Conf. issue.  But no one ever claimed they had been denied ordination because of their orientation. 

Of course, the Conf. has no power over any local church which might be marginalizing someone unjustly. The Assn could easily discipline or expel any church found to be repeatedly unjust in its policies and actions. Although I witnessed lots of racial prejudice and racist attitudes by lay leaders in numerous churches around Dayton, not one was ever called on the carpet, to my knowledge. 

Up until then, the Oh chapter of BWF had worked very closely with the Oh Conf. keeping staff in the loop about our concerns, programs and plans.  For several years, I managed to have our BWF mtgs at the Conf. office with a staff member scheduled to share their faith journey with us and stay for the whole meeting. We were determined to do everything out in the open.  If we were going overboard in any direction, we wanted Oh Conf staff to be the 1st ones to know.  Thus, if we were spewing out hate and venom towards our "enemies", an outsider who did not share our views was always present to challenge us. 
 After THE VOTE, contributions collapsed and our chapter folded within 2-3 years as 40-50 churches felt their theology and view of scripture had been rejected not merely on the GLBT issues but across the board.   

But the author of the Conf. resolution knew what she wanted & knew how to work the parliamentary procedure rather adroitly. I sparred with her more than once at Conf. microphones.   She knew Robert's Rules better than I & I still admire her political skills at that level.  I think I was always on the losing side with her.  I enjoyed debriefing with her after one meeting helping load up her group's display materials into her car.  Disagreements aside, I respected her passion and determination for those she represented.  IOW, she taught me a lot and I hold no grudges beyond the irreparable damage to our Conf.  But, I don't fault her advocacy, efforts or tactics one bit.  Rather, the COnf & Assoc. ministers failed to speak a pastoral word to the delegates as there were strained emotions and much tension in the hall. 
  I served with a gay layman from near Piqua for about 6 years.  He came out to me privately.  I was honored by his trust.  He never reported being treated badly in any setting of the Conference.   Even as a college student, I would have stood up for him had he reported being victimized.

Well, that's probably more background that you wanted to know.  I could go on, of course. Then, in the basement are my files and minutes of all of those incredibly important meetings I attended.

Blessings!
I do not believe in miracles. I rely on them!

ArthurStone

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2010, 11:55:05 PM »
Perhaps the middle ground is the theological work, the biblical studies, the educational disucssions and time for the Holy Spirit to move hearts in the direction God would call us.  Just declaring yourself ONA, non-racist, or non-discriminary does not make it so, until we all do the hard work of personally acknowledging our sinfulness in hurting others through our intentional and unintentional acts of discrimination.

I am personally disturbed by one poster's claim that we have (or he has) no sin to confess.  That is like saying we can go around hurting others with no care the the feelings of others because we never have to apologize or account for our actions toward others. 

Instead the UCC has wisely declared that atonomy and covenant needs to be balanced.  We can allow differing opinions as long as we all remain open to being guided and educated by the Holy Spirit that unites us as one body of Christ.  When ever we use the Rules of Order to push one declaration without the proper time to study, pray, and be guided by the Spirit we create disorder and disunity.  I would rather study and discuss with folks one at a time and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to change than to push for a vote that only divides the sides and shuts off oppertunities for dialog and change.

Yet, sometimes change has to happen and no matter how it is done it will be very painful.  Read again Dr. Martin Luther's letter from the Birmingham jail and the letters that prompted him to write what he did.  Our questions need to focus on things like: is this the change God wants and is this how we should go about doing what God wants?
1) Jesus the only head
2) Christian a sufficient label
3) Unity our purpose
4) The Bible our guide
5) Respect everyone’s right to interpret scripture
6) Christian character a sufficient test
http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/people/jburnett.html

Denise Goodman

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Re: Covenant & Atonomy in UCC Polity - Is one more important than the other?
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2010, 12:08:22 AM »
Arthur -- I agree and I think that's how many churches and at least our Conference deal  with this -- with a process that allows folks to voice fears as well as advocacy.  A key piece is hearing people's stories -- hearing the pain discrimination has caused them or those for whom they care. I know that moved a number of folks in my congregation.