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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, January 10, 2005

Fun and games with the GOE's

It occurs to me that there are those of you out there who might get a kick out of seeing some of the questions we were handed during last week's exam. So every once in a while, over the next few weeks, I plan to post them. Feel free to offer your thoughts as you feel inspired; unlike the Board of Examining Chaplains, I will place no time limit on how long you have to formulate an answer.

We're going to start small, I think. This first question is actually only part of what we were given for the "Theory and Practice of Ministry" section. This set included seven "practical" questions, out of which we had to select six, and provide for each a short (1/2 page) answer. (We'll get to some of the larger, more theological/academic sets another time, I promise).
The parish finance committee is preparing next year's budget and will present it at an informational congregational meeting. Previously, this meeting left tempers frayed and spirits exhausted. Explain why it is important to run a meeting based on Christian tenets and offer at least five practical ways to maximize cooperation and minimize bickering.



Blogger Benedict Seraphim said...

The importance of running a parish finance committee meeting on Christian principles can hardly be overstated. Of course, the determination of what are those Christian principles is work best done by the parish theological committee, and since we do not yet have a parish theological committee, I move that we craft a recommendation to the full parish council and the subcommittee on advice and consent, that at an irregular council meeting yet to be scheduled we propose a plan to present to the congregation that during the next fiscal year an exploratory committe be assigned to look into the formation of this aforementioned committee.

Second? [Motion is seconded.] All in favor? [Motion carried by acclaim.]

Therefore, in lieu of an officially authorized set of core values around which to conduct the present finance committee meeting, as rector of the parish, I assert my ontological difference as ordained clergy and request your submission to the following five directives to minimize bickering and maximize cooperation:

1. My word is law.
2. If there is any dispute about anything in the meeting, my opinion is infallible and shall carry the day.
3. If there is any question or dispute about item 2, see item 1.
4. Under no circumstances shall senior clergy--myself--be under any obligation to give up the parking stall nearest the front door.
5. There is a correction to last month's expense report: in place of Bill's Bait Shop and Tavern, one should write "rector's discretionary fund."

In closing I note that the commemorative parish fishing poles were returned in pristine condition, though certain acquatic denizens of Bear Lake were not.

The Lord bless you.

January 10, 2005 8:06 PM  

Blogger Clueless Christian said...

1. Have an opening and closing prayer, together with exhortation to Christian charity beginning with this meeting, but keep it under 1 minute. Theological reason: Beginning with prayer, puts everybody in “church mode” rather than IRS mode.
2. Have food (soup and bread). Theological reason is soup and bread is cheap and easy to make, eating together leads to charity, you can’t argue with your mouth full, and you are less likely to have parishioners who miss dinner and have a headache studying your financial reports.
3. Be brief in the presentation (under 20 minutes) as well as in the meeting as a whole (one and one half hours to two hours MAX). Theological reason: The only thing worse than bad news wrapped in pious nonsense is bad news wrapped in pious nonsense that goes on forever. Spend most of the time taking questions, and have whoever came up with the numbers there to answer in detail. “No, giving up our contribution to the food pantry will not cover our deficit because we only gave 2 dollars and fifty cents to the food pantry anyway.”
4. Put out all the facts on paper, and have handouts, with enough to go around. The facts should be detailed: (i.e. how much comes from plate/pledge/trusts, and where the money goes, each person’s salary) cost of light bills etc. so that there is no reason to suspect that the money is spent unwisely (or if it is, so that it can be redirected). Have everybody who has a salary be present so that folks who suggest that “cleaning costs are excessive” have to say this to the sexton’s face. Theological reason: Openness discourages anger and suspicion and presence leads to charity.
5. Have suitable evangelical type give the standard “how my life has been blessed since I realized that the Lord owned all my money anyway”. (Make him stay under 20 minutes (BREVITY KEY). Theological reason: Somebody has to say it. Close in prayer but promise to “be available” for anyone who needs more information.

January 10, 2005 9:53 PM  

Blogger Reverend Ref + said...

Um . . . with all due respect, I did the GOE's last year and have no desire to repeat the experience. However, I will enjoy reading other people's responses.

January 12, 2005 11:05 AM  

Blogger David said...

LOL@Cliff's response. Here are my FIVE GOLDEN RULES
1) Shoot
2) Anyone
3) Arguing
4) With
5) Me

It works very well down here.
CONGRATS on the GOE's, I know you did well. And the Field Ed gig looks great, I agree with AKMA's observation. My supervisor, and now good friend, was definitely "piety opposite" from me, and I learned SO MUCH!

January 12, 2005 8:30 PM  

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