Thursday, April 27, 2006

Book of Resolutions: Part II

***I'm keeping this post at the top for a few days to encourage some much-needed responses. Please comment! I really need feedback!***

Last week I asked you about your thoughts on the United Methodist Book of Resolutions. With the exception of ~c. and Andy B. (thank you!), most of you mentioned something about tossing the book out altogether. I understand your frustration! The Book has grown over the last several quadrenniums. It is also difficult to use sometimes – hard to find what you’re looking for, and hard to know how to use it if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

However…I don’t think the Book of Resolutions is going anywhere anytime soon. And I wouldn’t want it to. I think we have a proud heritage of social justice advocacy in the Untied Methodist Church, and the Book of Resolutions, to me, represents that people of faith have something to say about what is going on in the world.

That said, I need your help. My question comes to you out of a particular need. At General Conference in 2004, a petition was passed directing the General Board of Church and Society to create a task force, composed of members from pertinent general boards and agencies, to examine the Book of Resolutions and make recommendations about format, length, publishing, mediums of distribution, etc. I’ve been asked to chair this task force, and things are getting underway. The petition was broad in its scope, meaning that we can address any aspect of how the Book of Resolutions in put together and distributed.

Frankly, the task is so broad that it is hard to know where to begin. That’s why I’m seeking input from you all. So let me ask some more specific questions about how you might change the Book of Resolutions, assuming that we are not doing away with it! Please feel free to email me your responses or comment below. (My apologies for the vagueness of some of these questions, and their open-endedness. This is just a starting point.)

1) For what purposes (if any) have you used the Book of Resolutions in the last year?
2) For web-based or CD-Rom based versions of the BoR, what additional features would you suggest? (ie: hyper-texting) What might a DVD version look like?
3) What do you think about having a ‘set’ of Resolutions for each section of the Social Principles – like a 5 book ‘set’ of smaller books for individual use?
4) What guidelines would you put in place for submission of resolution petitions?
5) How do you think the Social Principles and BoR could do a better job of addressing the social justice concerns of the global church? Where are our documents too US-centric? How do we balance the need for words to guide us in our US advocacy while also speaking to the global nature of our denomination?
6) Should every resolution passed at General Conference go to the Book of Resolutions? If a passed resolution does not go into the BoR, where else might it be placed?

I may have more questions as the scope of the task force becomes clear. Thanks in advance for your help!
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