Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Symptoms of a crippled meeting

Thanks again to Quaker Ranter for directing me to another fascinating discussion at the Quaker Renewal Forum.

I was struck by this pastor's list of symptoms of a "crippled" meeting. Sound familiar to anyone? I don't know how many symptoms make a meeting crippled, but any of these are danger signs.

I'd offer a diagnosis of my own meeting-- which I think does pretty good by this scale but does show evidence of four symptoms -- except that doing so would be a symptom of #8: being problem-oriented rather than solution oriented. So I won't.

Note that symptom #9 -- They forsake essentials and focus on non-essentials -- is another way of pressing the "core of Quakerism" discussion.

Meetings / congregations are crippled when...

1) They have unresolved conflict and division with no attempts at healing or reconciliation.

2) They lack vision, direction, goals, follow-through, and implementation.

3) They have an institutional and maintenance mindset rather then a missions mindset.

4) They fear new ideas, creative ideas, and new leadership.

5) They have a tendency to elevate "Quaker culture" over "Quaker faith" (see previous postings on this topic)

6) They don't provide adequate opportunities for people to grow spiritually or they don't provide a safe place for people to seek and ask questions.

7) They allow unhealthy emotional systems and people to prevail over healthy emotional systems and people.

8) They are problem-focused rather then solution-focused.

9) They forsake the essentials and focus on the non-essentials.

10) They have an inability to deal directly with one another in times of disagreement, change, and conflict.

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