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Reading & Reflection – Church and Society B

April 10, 2012

This legislative section contains 62 suggested changes to Paragraph 161 and 22 suggested changes to Paragraph 162 of the Book of Discipline- all contained within the United Methodist Social Principles.

The Social Principles are divided into 6 categories (not including the Preamble & Social Creed). They are: The Natural World, the Nurturing Community (Para. 161), the Social Community (Para. 162), the Economic Community, the Political Community, and the World Community.

The Nurturing Community includes topics such as the meaning & definition of family, marriage, human sexuality, & abortion. The Social Community contains topics on people’s rights– men, women, children- and topics that pertain to those rights, such as responsible parenthood and health care.

This legislative section also contains 54 proposed resolutions that are thematically similar to the petitions, for example: health care in the US, the rights of Native people or people with disabilities, or the eradication of sexism in the church.

Perhaps unlike some of the other proposals before us as delegates, I feel that this legislation is very difficult to give an immediate or an unambiguous ‘thumbs-up’ or ‘thumbs-down.’

First, there are many petitions that speak to the same “Paragraph” of the Discipline– some with very similar language, others with very different language. It will be by the directive of the chairperson and the work of the committee to decide whether we vote up/ down each individual petition or if we “perfect” a certain, workable petition. What is before us as a committee the first week will not necessarily be what is before us in plenary the second week.

Another challenge is the art of compromise and the nuance of vocabulary when working in committee. While not completely satisfied with some particular word or phrasing, I might be willing to support it if it moves our committee work in a direction that I believe is positive.

Please be praying for me and others of the legislative section Church & Society B. It is a section with a lot of work and a lot of influence in directing voices on issues of mercy and social justice in our denomination.

– Amanda Stein

One Comment
  1. Wesley White permalink

    We do seem to have lost the “art” of compromise – blending the best of various viewpoints. It has become very mechanistic and zero-sum based. Blessings, Amanda, on helping us move at least one step further along the way and not getting stuck because everyone needs their own way. If folks want to see my own take on the petitions they can go to:

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