If we are people who value that Anglican sense of ordered freedom, then we need to learn to live in the creative tension between complete order and complete freedom, both of which are ultimately deadly – order because it’s not open to change, and complete freedom because it has a hard time with enduring relationship. Abundant life and creativity come in the dance between what is finished and utter chaos. That lively tension applies to all parts of our lives, including how we make decisions.
Our churchwide governance work is largely based on parliamentary democratic methods. We have evolved a system that gives great attention to the details of process and structure in how decisions are made. We have a representation system that has at least something to do with interest group politics. We have made legislative decisions over the last few decades that have done great good in opening us up to the movement of the spirit. We have also done damage in voting, by creating winners and losers about several hundred issues at every General Convention.
There are other democratic ways of decision-making that are more deliberative, that depend on conversation and consensus more than on up-down, yes-no voting.
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© 2013 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
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