Commentary: Jesus and the United Methodist system

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by Richard Peck*

As we enter the season of electing bishops, it’s interesting to compare our system with the selection system employed by Jesus.

The alarming thing about Jesus is that he had no management training. His sloppy administrative style is most evident in this recruitment practices.

He apparently had no guidelines for selecting disciples. In fact, he seems to have chosen them at random.

Had Jesus employed United Methodist strategies he would not have made that mistake.

All the synagogues would have been invited to send one Pharisee and one layperson to participate in the election process. There would be some complaints that scribes and Sadducee should not be considered as laypersons.

The presiding officer would have read selections from the Torah and the minutes from the last meeting of the Sanhedrin to ensure that elections would be held in keeping with the Mosaic decalateral.

An occasionally working electronic system would have been used.

Simon Peter would have run well in early ballots, but would have been rejected for being too impulsive and quick-tempered. Other candidates would also fail to receive the necessary votes: James and John––too argumentative; Thomas––too cynical; Zacchaeus––too short to be seen by the chairperson; Simon––too revolutionary: and Philip––too impatient.

Mary Magdalene would lose votes because of an undeserved reputation.

Caiaphas would have done well, but a rural caucus would have put their votes together to try to elect a lesser known Pharisee.

Matthew would have come close, but some would accuse him of receiving votes in exchange for lower tax bills.

Martha would have done well until she left to fix dinner,

After 20 ballots and no elections, the group would have stopped to consider the use of Rule 44.

That’s when some would have noticed Jesus was missing. A few would have thought he’d gone on a recruiting trip. Others would have decided he’d gone for a walk on the water.

But, in fact, he would have returned to the wilderness to ask the tempter if control over all the kingdoms on earth included the United Methodists.

 

richpeckA UMNS photo by Kathleen Barry

*Rich Peck is a retired clergy member of New York Annual Conference, and the former editor of The Daily Christian Advocate, Newscope, Circuit Rider, the UM Book of Resolutions, and various Abingdon books. Rich has served as press secretary for the Council of Bishops and is a past president of United Methodist Association of Communicators. The association named him the communicator of the year and a 2007 member of the Communicators’ Hall of Fame.

 

Special Contributor to UMR

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This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to
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2 Comments on "Commentary: Jesus and the United Methodist system"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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jimmie shelby
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The Master had no trouble in selecting those who would change the World. Iscariot was even part of Father/Son/Holy Spirit’s Grand Plan. A way had been planned for mans’ reconciliation to the Father at the Foundation. Rev. Peck has done a masterful job in pointing out the ineptness of the bishop selection procedures in the umc. One can only hope and pray that the selection process is preceded by MUCH prayer and those individuals who are selected walk deeply in their Faith in Father/Son/Holy Spirit. One fears that only those who are consumed with the sexuality chasm that exists in… Read more »
Tina
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Truly enjoyed the contribution from Rev. peck. His sense of humor is needed. Maybe some reading lessons can go with the prayer, since one of the cornerstones of our faith is reason – given by God and left for us to develop.

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