This is a guest post from Eliz Curtis. She blogs at Politywonk
My political science undergraduate training emphasized what was called
"small group dynamics" and "group think" as a pitfall in decision-making.
Small self-contained groups tend to make decisions based not on discreet
sets of facts, but on the needs and dynamics of their ongoing
relationship. Each player comes in with larger goals and continuencies;
they need these other folks on board to serve those objectives. In
military parlance, this is the difference between "tactical" thinking --
short-term, here-and-now goals -- versus "strategic" -- how does this fit
into the larger objective. We who see the MFC do not want to be cannon
fodder for the larger visions of ministry each committee member brings,
but that can be what happens.
It does not mean any MFC member is to blame. It means they spend tons of
time fashioning their larger visions, rather than listening to specific
Purists among our historians point out that during the heyday of
congregational authority, ordination applied only to the congregation
which bestowed it. There was no such thing as a pure ministerial gift: it
was all relational.
What I like about the pulpit rotation system and learned ministry is that
it formed an early attempt at bicaleralism.
For the record, I STILL support this kind of bicameralism. RSS's would be
more accountable not only spend time with the aspirant, but also to visit
their home congregation for story-telling. There would still be a central
MFC, with powers of arbitration, appeal and review when the local
processes get stuck on particular cases.
All records, being essentially employment records, would be public and