Monday, April 7, 2008

No More Resolutions

Since there is a desire to hold down the cost of General Conference, why don't we eliminate the Book of Resolutions? No more resolutions on everything under the sun to take time to debate, and then print. I realize that a suggestion like this can bring charges of Methodist heresy upon me, but I wonder, would the BOR's absence make any difference in fulfilling our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ?

Note: I realize astute Methodist readers will say, "Isn't our mission to "make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?" Although I've been hearing the new mission statement for several months now, officially, as in, according to the Book of Discipline, we have not yet changed it with the "transformation" addition. It is one of the petitions we will probably approve in Fort Worth. More on that later.

I know resolutions are important to express the "mind of the body." But the world doesn't pay any attention to what we are thinking, and honestly, neither do we. When some social issue is addressed, do you hear our Bishops and leaders quoting the BOR, or expressing their own opinion?

The 2004 Task Force on the BOR recommends to this GC that we print only the "call to action" or "statement of position" of a resolution and that that be limited to 200 words. The rational material would be part of the GC proceedings, but not published. That could reduce the size of the BOR and that concerns me.

My 2004 BOR has been very useful for me. For the first year it just sat on my shelf. Then I got a new computer monitor that needed to be raised about two inches for a proper viewing angle. The BOR fit perfectly under the base of the monitor. If we must produce a new one, could I request that the new one be required to remain the exact same thickness as the present one?


roadtripray said...

I love this post. I've never purchased a BOR, and always wondered if I was missing out on something. At the very least they should put the full BOR on the UMC.ORG website in PDF form and save the trees and the expense.

Last year was my first annual conference, and I was put off by the amount of time we spent on resolutions that were little more than "our opinion is..." statements that really accomplished nothing. My impression was that the time we spent talking about those items could have been better spent discussing true action items.

It's kind of like all the attention the payday lenders are getting in the conference right now. It just seems that we would send a much more positive message, and actually get something done (wow, imagine that) if we put the same amount of effort in working with people to teach them how to be better stewards of their money. You could outlaw payday lenders tomorrow, and there will still be people who squander away precious wealth to even less regulated loan sharks, pawn shops, and overdraft fees.

I didn't mean to get off on that tangent, but that's just one example where we could take a "statement" and turn it into an "action item." This way instead of being the church AGAINST someone (payday lenders) we would be the church FOR someone (the low income people victimized by predatory lending).

Just my 2 cents.


Jim Elder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Elder said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha. What a great idea and use of the BOR! All this time I've been using old pieces of 2X4's for my computer. My wife would probably appreciate something a little more...novel.