A better way

unqualifiedMost of us are unhappy and stressed by the electoral process we are experiencing in 2016.  We are weary of contentious primaries, conventions and campaigns, and nominees who argue that the other candidate is not qualified to be president and commander in chief.

I began this post before going o the Samhedrin, a weekly meeting of elderly retired professionals who are for Clinton for president.  I should be an exception.  I have no degree or credential, and fit the profile of many of Donald Trump’s supporters.  But I am not!  Some members of the Samhedrin plan to attend a Monday evening prayer meeting before the election to demonstrate that their primary allegiance is to the kingdom that is not of this world.

Person voting

In the 1960’s I was a member of the Bishop Board of the Lancaster Conference.  During that decade the Bishop Board chose a new moderator. Neither then nor now can that Bishop Board be held up as an ideal image of Jesus, but the experience of bishop board membership still informs me.  I wonder what would happen if the nation would emulate the Bishop Board’s way of choosing  its moderator, as I remember it being done.

On the Bishop Board there were no political parties, no primaries, no candidates, no speeches, and no money. Without those trappings, each member of the Bishop Board was given the right to vote and to be voted for.

Each member wrote the name of a bishop on a bit of blank paper. These ballots were collected. Names were not revealed at this point of the discerning process. Only the numbers for a nominee were written in a column on a chalk board beginning with the largest number at the top and counting down to those who had received the fewest mention perhaps only once.

The lower numbers were erased and only then were names attached to the upper half.  Those whose names were revealed became the nominees.  Additional rounds of votes were taken until one person emerged with a majority of the votes. The whole process could be done in an hour.

IMG_4137I wish every US resident had a social security number, was eligible to vote and be voted for.  Surely in this day of geeks a way could be devised to allow all residents to be identified, attached resumes, and tabulate votes easily, accurately and speedily. However, I am taking a Lifelong Learning Institute class under Alan Kreider. He is telling of the formation practices as they slowly developed in first centuries of the church.  God is patient and so likewise must we be patient for the kingdom to come.

I’ve stumbled on a sermon by Leonard Dow who is the Bishop for the Lancaster Conference churches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It is the kind of sermon I might have preached. He mentions being a fool for Christ, and the story of dry bones come to life in the book of Ezekiel.  To hear the sermon click here.  If you wish to see Bishop Dow speak go to the second tentalk speaker at the 2016 EMU Homecoming by clicking here

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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1 Response to A better way

  1. Jep Hostetler says:

    Excellent. Keep up the good work, my friend.

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