Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eliz Curtis on credentialing

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

publicly available.

Elz Curtiss

Burlington, Vermont

No comments: