It is good to have some honest debate!
I think there is a world of difference between your earlier statement:
because of personal grudges… which is what is happening here
and your more recent,
some of the claims on this forum are due to personal grudges (would you prefer "grievances")
but, OK , lets take that as a clarification rather than a change of position.
You are now saying that some posters are biased. Well I can’t argue that some posters MAY BE biased. I don’t know them and their motivations, so can’t really make that judgment, but I read the posts on this forum rather differently. I see many, many examples here of people who are gracious, who are prepared to agree there are positive things, who believe SMC had something good in it, but eventually came to the point that the bad overshadowed the good.
Other see it as all pretty well bad, but they are entitled to that opinion – that does not make them bias. You are right that being offended does not make you right but, equally, being offended does not make you wrong. If ten people are offended then it does not follow that one of them is wrong. No, all ten might be wrong, or all ten might be right- we have to judge each case on its individual merits. (I know you are not arguing against that, but I do think we need to be clear about this point.)
With my own personal experience of not just being in SMC, but also going through the process of leaving, I relate to all the pain and angst I read on this forum so, in my view, the complaints are realistic and believable, at least to the point that there is a case to answer.
Where SMC falls down is not just the underlying issues however– you may be right that similar issues occur in other churches. The problem is that SMC have no procedure to deal with grievances (which I do think is a good word by the way). I think some of the underlying questions and issues – lets call them grievances - may indeed be similar to those found in other churches and other organisations, but other churches do have a democratic process and will have mechanisms to deal with grievances and complaints.
SMC has none of these. Their answer to complaints is that God has told them the complainer is unspiritual and that they should no longer speak to them.
THAT is the difference between SMC and other organisations, and that is why a number of people have had to revert to things like this forum to express their confusion, concern, despair or whatever – each will probably have a range of reasons for contributing.
It is also why I do not see any of the issues raised here as grudges – I see almost all as unresolved complaints and grievances. If they had a proper procedure, they might find that half of the grievances were upheld and half were not, who knows? Either way, I believe that, in every single case, individuals have the right to raise the grievance and have it heard by an independent person or panel
. That is actually a fundamental human right – the right to a fair trial. So, even if I read a grievance here that I personally think may not be justified, I would still argue that SMC is failing if they have not set up a process to hear the grievance.
I would welcome your own views on that one – do you recognise this distinction between underlying grievances and the problems caused by not having a process to deal with them?
In most organisations, a grievance that is not resolved at one level can be escalated, and, in a democratic organisation, there is the ultimate sanction –vote out the board and replace it with people who are more accountable. (As Mr Black used to say, quoting Churchill, “democracy is the least worst system”) In Struthers lack of accountability at the level of individual grievances continues all the way up to the level of democratic accountability. There is no mechanism to raise a grievance, no process of appeal, no right ot a fair trial, and no ability to ask for a vote of no confidence in the board.
Other organisations are not like this. If you for example look at the Red Cross site under Governance, you will see it says,
We are governed by a board of trustees, which consists of nine elected trustees and up to eight co-opted trustees. The elected trustees are elected from the British Red Cross' volunteers by a National Electoral College made up of two senior volunteers from each Territory.
Our co-opted trustees come from various backgrounds, such as business, the diplomatic service and the health sector, to lend their skills to the board.
Note the word elected. That word is missing from the constitution in SMC. In SMC it is the leaders who appoint other leaders - no-one has the opportunity to change the way complaints are dealt with by overthrowing the board. So SMC is not democratic, it is autocratic. As the moderator says, you and others have a right to believe in this organisation and to follow its teachings, but I certainly believe that you should be aware that it is not democratic and answers to no-one.
To end on an encouraging note, at least to some readers, could the answer to the question “how could they not be [biased]” just possibly be, “by the grace of God?” I know not all here would ascribe to that, but there are many who would, and who believe the only reason they are not bitter or bias is because of the peace and joy they have found in a supportive Christian congregation.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2012 06:13PM by ThePetitor.