â€œAll in favor, say â€˜Aye,â€ any opposed, â€˜Nayâ€™.â€ I am in Fort Worth for the 139th session of the Central Texas Annual Conference. This three day session is a time when over a thousand clergy and laity from United Methodist Churches in central Texas come together for meetings, meals, and worship services.
It seems like we vote on almost everything. There are positions to be filled and budgets to be apportioned. We vote on each of them. There are candidates for ordination. We vote on them. We even vote on whether or not we will receive a report. We take this vote after the report has been presented. Iâ€™m still unsure what would happen if we voted not to receive a report that has already been given. Would the presenter have to try again?
Overall, I suppose it is a good thing that ideas, motions, and budgets are presented, discussed, and voted upon. But last night as I lay pondering our first day of business sessions, it struck me: we are not serving a democracy.
Though much of the ethic Jesus taught his disciples seems to us today to fit well within a democratic framework, Jesus did not call us to the â€œDemocratic Republicâ€ of God. He called us to the Kingdom.
One key difference between a kingdom and a democracy is the matter of who is in charge. In a democracy the will of the people is supreme. In a kingdom, the will of the King is supreme.
It is difficult for Christian Americans to get our minds and souls around this; we are democratic to the core. It is good practice for us occasionally to step back from this and realize we serve a King.
I heard a lecture in which someone was quoted as saying that America is the most polytheistic nation in the history of the world–whereas the Romans had several thousand gods, we have 250 million of them!