Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Job Interviews

When the nominations committee met yesterday morning (which feels like two weeks ago), Bishop Grove shared with us how he believes that God's same guidance of discernment is at work whether a youth group is electing a treasurer, Jurisdiction Conference is electing a bishop or the nominations committee is filling it's slots on committees. At first I thought it was a little silly of him to compare a youth group selecting a treasurer to the process of choosing a bishop, but after an entire day of interviewing, I see the similarity very clearly. I was actually reminded of being at United Methodist Student Forum about ten years ago and voting for members of our National Steering Committee. There were even some of the same questions, e.g. "Will you uphold the Discipline?"
I must say, this is without doubt the stupidest question you could ask. Would anyone, ANYONE, ever say no to this? Is anyone who has allowed their name to go forward as a potential Bishop ever going to say that? THAT'S WHAT A BISHOP DOES! It's like asking, "If elected, will you be a Bishop?"

Anyway, I was in a group of about thirty people and it was great. I think it was one of the best processes of group interviewing and church conferencing I've had. I'm not saying it was fun or energizing, but after doing it for all day from 8:30-8:30 (with two meal breaks and two ten minute breaks) I feel just fine about it.
Every group (13 in total) asked two questions that were the same.
1) If you are elected Bishop, what sort of a legacy would you like to be remembered by after you retire?
2) What brings you to tears and what brings you laughter?
I was shocked by these questions personally and they weren't helpful for any of the interviews except for one small instance. One person explicitly made the connection between tears and righteous anger, which I appreciated. Other than that, it just left me feeling that these people must spend a lot of time laughing, crying and then thinking about their reputations.
It was weird.
Beyond that, each group could proceed as they wished. As I said before, my group was very loose and trusting so we could go with the flow. I learned that at least one group voted on what questions could be asked and then they just read the same ones over and over. That must have been terrible boring for everyone.

We asked some questions designed to specific candidates. For example, I asked a candidate who serves on the board of Good News what he thinks the role of UM Caucus groups that aren't a part of the official church structure should be and how his relationship and understanding would change were he elected Bishop. We also just had some out there good questions, "What's your best mistake?", "Where do you think the Conference Office for Baltimore-Washington should be located?", "Can you give a specific example of how you will use the office of Bishop to be in ministry with Hispanic people?"
We had one or two really silly questions (which I actually didn't mind) "Can you dance the Macarana?" "Do you play a musical instrument?"

I asked one person why I should vote for a white male. (yes, he was a white man)

We have several very good candidates. There are three I would be very happy with and a fourth who I think would be good as well. However, some of them were very, very weak. Maybe they had given up or rethought their call after a few hours of going through this. Some were clearly great pastors and cool people but they didn't offer any help to us on why they would be a good Bishop. A few were pretty boring. (perhaps our fault not theirs) I won't say anything negative about the people who I hope don't get elected. Besides that, I'm at a place right now where I really trust the process. Even if the outcome is bad, I know we are working in good faith.

Still lots of conversations and meetings happening about how groups, delegations and trusted friends think things should go.

I've been posting so late because I've been staying up talking with friends, basically getting my gay fix.

But regarding the heterosexuality issue, please remember: I think that they are still children of God and of sacred worth. God still loves them and so should we... Next question.


Anonymous said...

But regarding the heterosexuality issue, please remember: I think that they are still children of God and of sacred worth. God still loves them and so should we... Next question.

The first candidate to say this, I say we stuff the proverbial ballot box!


Jules said...

I'm with Becca - great answer!

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