Nary An Unpublished Thought







September 27, 2007: Mea Culpa Correction and Clarifying Terms

In each section I am reviewing, I am looking at three things:

1. Where are the parallels cited by the committee for the section (what is this supposed to replace);
2. What is the section supposed to do; and,
3. What does it do that it is not supposed to do?

When I wrote, "This is not in our Book of Order" or "This does not have a parallel in our Book of Order," I meant that the side-by-side parallel produced by the committee did not list these sections or parallels (or, if they had, I did not see them and they were somewhere else in the 170 pages).

As it turns out, I was using the wrong key to figure out the parallels in the side-by-side. I thought the substitute constitution ordered the side-by-side; instead, the current Book of Order is the ordering. The parallels I missed were items currently in G-7 that were moved up front.

Their order makes sense and my error was just that: my error. Welcome to the pitfalls of writing as I am learning.

As one astute reader pointed out, in the September 25 update, sections about which I inaccurately and incorrectly wrote, "This is not in our Book of Order" do have parallels in the current Book of Order.

My error led to my confusing him and misleading you. For that I apologize.

For what it is worth, I think the analyses provided for those sections are still valid for two reasons:

1. Rearranging changes structure and meaning. The same words in a different order stress different things.

2. The rearranging and editing have the stated intention to create flexibility -- flexibility which I believe is designed to be achieved through intentional ambiguity.

The invitation from the Task Force was to evaluate this as a substitute constitution in order to identify and address problems and potential problems before it is presented for an up-or-down, yes/no vote. As a result the tone of much of this analysis is going to be negative.

On the one hand, you want to read the best into the work. The "what is this supposed to do" section is my attempt to quickly summarize the positive.
On the other hand, I also have given the worst possible read because -- if we are going to wipe the slate clean with a new substitute constitution -- we have to weigh in how the words could be interpreted.

There is no small irony in the fact that one of the sections I erroneously messed up was one talking about how "the organization rests upon the fellowship and is not designed to work without trust and love." G-7.0103.

I am manifesting distrust of the organization. Unfortunately, some of that distrust has been earned.