Pragmatic Four is back in business and ready for progress!
But let’s face it, the Church is a slow mover. Some churches (like Baptists, for example), are congregational and can make major decisions for themselves, such as who to ordain and who to welcome. Other churches (like United Methodists) are connectional, where all congregations are interconnected and accountable to the larger denomination. Since we don’t have a pope, The General Conference of the UMC meets every 4 years to make decisions that affect the entire denomination. GC is made up of equal parts clergy and laity from around the world, who are elected by their Annual Conferences. Everyday people like you could end up as delegates to GC. Everyday people like you can write petitions to change church policy for United Methodists everywhere. It’s a huge political process that a TON of people really don’t care about.
This comic was born out of conversations I’ve been in on to strategize how to get the right person elected as a delegate (with some ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’), and how to write a petition that isn’t what you WANT, but is more likely to get passed and get you four years closer to what you eventually want passed. And then I learned that it doesn’t matter how many years of conversations and studies are done by people who care to write a petition, it can all be re-written in a few days by the group (that we’ve elected) that reads all the petitions on one issue in a way that they think will get the General Conference to approve or disapprove.
My biggest beef with this system is that it creates a hodge-podge instead of a systematic or theologically-developed structure for church governance (ex. Elders, Deacons, Licensed Local Pastors, and the variety within them that doesn’t make any sense). A Book of Discipline for a worldwide denomination also shows little relevance to the variety of cultures across the world… It always tends to be centered around the American church, which is unfair to other cultures, and then when those other cultures slow us down from what we deem progress, we are suddenly ready to break ties.
It’s a mess, but the only way to change the system is from within. Leaving may get you the sudden rush of greener grass, but every denomination has its own political issues.
Galactus is a Marvel demi-god, neither good nor evil, who survives by devouring the life-force of entire planets. I thought he’d make a great fit as General Confluence. Also, I really liked the idea of Charles Wesley as “The Doctrine” pummeling the Book of Discipline in the face to no effect.