But I have changed my mind. I think it's time for a new Yearly Meeting here in Indiana and I think I'm just the fellow to organize it. No, I don't have any backing for this, other than my own sense of self-appointment, but that's never stopped any Quaker before (well, maybe it has in the past, but doesn't seem to be an issue these days).
To this end, I have contacted an attorney at the law firm of Dewey Cheatum and have asked them to draw up incorporation papers for a new Yearly Meeting. It is to be called "Mid-Indiana Yearly Meeting of Progressive Evangelical & Evangelical Progressive Friends." I wanted to call it Brent Bill Yearly Meeting, but the attorney (an Episcopalian by the way) said that sounded a bit pretentious and haughty and not at all God-led. So I deferred to his wisdom.
The creatures joining me in this proposal for a new Yearly Meeting are my dog Princess and Ebony, one of my cats. The other cat said she didn't want any part of it -- my own fault, I guess. I should have named her Judgement instead of Grace. I did not ask Nancy to participate.
That's because she and I use far different theological language and I didn't want a separation to be the first point of business for the new group. Besides we disagree on how a phrase in Faith and Practice should be interpreted. In Part III there's a section it says under the title "Friendly Method" that, "After due consideration, it is the duty of the clerk of the meeting to weigh carefully various expressions and to state what he or she believes to be the sense of the meeting. Action is by approval of the gathered meeting." Nancy agrees with that. I say that it's all fine and good, but the nuance of that is "approval of the gathered meeting unless they decide something that I disapprove of." I mean, let's face it, some Friends just cannot be trusted to hear the words of God in their souls or through the Bible.
Hence the need for this new Yearly Meeting.
Of course, I will -- I mean the new Yearly Meeting will -- have to write a new Faith and Practice. Here are some of the changes you'll notice:
- Removing all affiliated groups that I don't like, depending on the day and my mood and whether they agree with me or not.
- Adding "Faith and Practice" to the Biblical canon. Hey, it worked for the Mormons!
- Adding a Loyalty Oath for pastors to sign. After all, we want to have a clergy caste now -- this idea that a Quaker pastor is a member like all other members is just plain silly. We know that pastors should have to live up to standards that normal followers of Jesus (aka the laity) shouldn't have to. And besides, what's with this Quaker abhorence to signing stuff? It's not like it's a creed or swearing an oath or anything.
- Pastors only will be allowed to be part of the Executive Committee, clerks, or other officers of the Yearly Meeting. We really can't trust the "laity" to know God's will for us, now can we?
- Adding to the Rescinding of Recording portion a section about not agreeing to whatever the current mood of the Yearly Meeting (i.e. Brent) is.
I -- I mean the Yearly Meeting -- would have no assessments for the first year. Or probably any year thereafter, since many Meetings don't pay their share anyhow and still come to Yearly Meeting and complain. If I -- I mean the Yearly Meeting -- does institute assessments, only those people from Meetings who actually pay their full assessment will be allowed to speak. And then only if they agree with what I -- I mean the Yearly Meeting -- thinks.
There won't be any committees. There's no need for them. After all, the Yearly Meeting will all be of one mind and so everyone in it -- Princess, Ebony, and me -- will know what to do.Oh, and the official scripture verse of the new Yearly Meeting will be John 11:35.
Well, I think those are the highlights. If you're interested in joiningg the new Yearly Meeting I invite you to come to a meeting the second Tuesday of next week. We'll be gathering at the David B. Updegraff Memorial Swimming Pool.