I was reading information today about a workshop on reducing “control dramas” Here’s some of the information:
“What is a Control Drama: How Do We Interact without Tension?
How to Recognize Intimidator Behavior
How to Recognize Poor Me Behavior
How to Recognize Interrogator Behavior
How to Recognize Aloof Behavior
Assertive Communication Creates Balance for Any Control Drama”
Man, oh, man! I wish I had had something like this to alert me to how to deal with Interrogator Behavior and Aloof Behavior before I had my first interaction with the ordination committees of the UMC Conference Board in 2014! Assertive communication in the UMC will not create balance. it will get you blackballed and railroaded out unless you are LGBTQ and have an army of activists behind you to stomp around on the General Conference floor and break chalices. And then they tolerate that, but they won’t address it. They will not tolerate any criticism otherwise. They will, however, address criticism when a committee that holds absolute sway over a person’s call to vocational ministry, can gang up on an individual unevenly empowered candidate for clergy ordination. Now that is a control drama! I watched and heard others’ stories of how such committees demean the individual and the people and institutions to whom that individual ministers, implying through their dismissive attitude that the church doesn’t need qualified and consecrated people for such ministry as THAT……the THAT being counseling and housing drug addicts in one case and teaching in a small local private academic environment in another. You may not care for someone’s style or her personality, but that does not mean that person is not called to the particular ministry where God has placed him or her. I will not let up on my criticism of The UMC for how I and others have been treated in recent years by the ordination process because The UMC’s top heavy, insulated leadership is putting emphasis on minutiae in the candidacy credentialing process at the expense of supporting kingdom building and disciple making……straining out gnats and swallowing camels.
Today I got a podcast from the UMC Communications agency on “Church Entrepreneurship”……It all sounds so nice and actually, right down the line of what we’ve been doing with Titus 2 for 4 years. But don’t try it around these parts, as UMC powers that be only know how to do things one way….. the way it’s being done at so and so UMC church that attracts big crowds and pays 100% of its apportionments! If you’re not the kind of preacher’leader that can tickle ears and make a congregation tow the line and bring in big bucks, there’s not a place for you…. you have to be able to EARN your appointment by meeting your part in the Conference budget….otherwise, The UMC doesn’t need you and, in their opinion, you don’t need UMC ordination. Oh, they’ll ordain enough Elders to keep the committees loaded and the bigger churches filled or license enough local pastors to fill every little church with 12 or more members that has a legacy they haven’t figured out how to preserve or close down, but they don’t care much, it seems, about ministry to the marginalized, at least at the Conference level….. a lot of talk, not a lot of action….oh, one or two “showcase” ministries to say…”look, yes we do”….but where is the broad scale sprinkling of entrepreneurial go-get-em and give-em-heaven evangelical ministry entrepreneurs…..like what we would have one time called the “circuit rider”…..and the deacons…….nah, that’s passe’. Can’t control them well enough to “trust them.” With what? The WORD and compassion for individuals whom Jesus loves, or with the reputation of the careerists in charge who make work for themselves deciding who is or isn’t truly called and anointed by God or educated in the most esteemed liberal seminaries or possessing the politically correct social issue positions or teaching in an historical-critical context? The leadership at national and conference level have been doing this for several years and they need to know that people are watching them and making decisions about whether or not The UMC has pulled out of the station and left the paying passengers behind. It’s not the only train to Heaven. In fact, I’m not sure some of its leadership even know the Engineer on that train! Someone has to keep the leadership of The UMC on its toes and honest. We in the local churches haven’t done such a good job of that for the last 25 years, acting like what they did (or didn’t do) doesn’t really affect the local church…..It does. It has.
(Can you tell I had to sit and wait on a train twice today??)