Earlier today, at Inside United: Realtime, a new letter addressed to both the ministry and the members was put out, “Dec. 23 Letter to Ministers and Members”. Unlike some other letters, it is addressed to “Dear Ministers and Members”.
I initally thought about commenting on it, and then I decided not to. Frankly, it doesn’t seem to have much to say. In spite of that, a concerted effort was made to email it to members as well. So, I assume it will likely be mailed to members also, but that is an assumption. At any rate, so I feel compelled to comment on it.
It talks again of the recent turmoil, of “current long and hard trials” and claims the belief that all that “is nearing its end.” It talks of receiving a number of resignations.
The only thing “new” really isn’t, IMO:
The Council of Elders is in possession of irrefutable documentation that demonstrates complicity by certain ministers and members in secretive efforts to undermine and destroy the very organizational fabric of the United Church of God. We are greatly saddened to see this, as it hurts to know as a fact that some have essentially said one thing regarding reconciliation or resolution of differences while working behind the scenes with a completely different agenda.
This documentation, authored by a former home office administrator, lays bare organized efforts at a very high level to break away. It distorts the record and generally reflects a grievous state of mind among those who are fracturing current relationships and trying to influence members of the United Church of God into following them.
Sadly, if past events are any guide to the future, documentation will soon appear online, together with varied “analyses” of various stripes and colors, trying to again spin this documentation somehow into one more quasi-“proof” of the alleged evils of the Council of Elders. It is being said that we demand personal loyalty to men. This is not true—as we would not even sign a document that required that. We simply ask for the faithful service of our employees and ministry to the Church that employs them, recognizing that not everyone thinks alike but that we all need to work within the structure we all agreed upon in 1995.
Well, what can I say? If you leave information gaps, then people are wont to fill them. The COE has “irrefutable documentation”, but what does that really mean? It’s hard to analyze what is hidden. In fact, that only leads to more speculation.
This is just another example of lots of “communication” that really doesn’t tell you anything.
Well, it isn’t all bad, at least. “Submit”, “accuse”, “slander” and “rebel” don’t appear in this letter. There is also at least one little gem:
If this time indeed marks the end of a long and sore trial within the Church, we must be prepared to humbly learn from our mistakes, of where we have fallen short of the perfection that is the Father, and we must be prepared to move forward.
However, it remains to be seen how many really do learn from their mistakes and avoid the mistakes that others have made as well. As I pointed out above, lack of information leads to problems. It’s been that way all along, I’m afraid. Statements appear “that have little or no basis in fact” and are believed because the facts are not there. The delays appear like stalling tactics, which guarantees people will scrutinize any material eventually released. So, does this letter show anyone has learned anything?
Well, like I said, at least it isn’t calling anyone “rebellious”, but it does come pretty close.
I still have to wonder, though, about the “secretive efforts” and “working behind the scenes with a completely different agenda.” Are these really actions of “undermining”, or is it from fear of retaliation? Or, is someone becoming paranoid?
I mean, you have to wonder. When fear of losing control means deleting comments of genuine concern off of their blog, who are you going to believe?
Sorry, but this crisis isn’t going to go away by papering over it with yet another vaguely written letter.
Oh, and speaking of letters, I suppose Mr Arctic Circle Guy could agree with me any less. He wrote a rather long rambling letter of praise to Denny Luker on the GCE forum yesterday. “You [yes, Dennis Luker] are causing the United Church of God to become more united than we have been at any time in our history” (bolded text my emphasis). Thank you, very much for once again showing everyone just where sanity does not reside.