When analogies break down……

posted in: books, conflict, The Church | 0

I have been reading Bennett J. Sims’ book Servanthood: Leadership for the Third Millenium for a class. In it he tells of one of his pastorates in Maryland where they undertook a construction campaign, using a well known architect. The architect planned a starkly modern sanctuary addition to their traditional Gothic campus. It caused division in the congregation. After much deliberation the leadership group polled the congregation and found that they were 75% in favor of the radically new plan, 25% against, while the leadership had been exactly the opposite, 75% against it and 25% for it. He said that in a gesture of sacrifice and servant leadership the committee yielded to the majority wishes of the congregation and built the modern new structure.

Then in a later chapter he uses that analogy to address the issue of homosexuality in the church today. However, at least in our denomination the analogy falls completely apart. In the 2004 UM Conference the delegates, representing lay members from all over the world soundly voted nearly 75% against ordination of homosexuals and for the retention of a traditional view of homosexuality as a sin. But it seems to me that the leadership of our denomination and a small number of devoted, strong willed activists seem bent on having the Biblically traditional 75% majority yield to their own desires instead of honoring the beliefs of the traditionalist majority, which would be the servant- hearted thing to do.

So, at least in the United Methodist Church, his analogy is torturously twisted logic and truly misses the mark. Other than that chapter, however, I mostly enjoyed his perspective on servant leadership and agreed with quite a lot of it.

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