More: Big Change for Small Change: Baltimore Yearly Meeting & FUM — Part 3

Part III

(Dear reader, if you missed the first two posts in this series, they are on the blog, part One here; and Part Two here. )

Now, back to the Proposed Minute that will come to BYM Interim Meeting this weekend: Under the heading of

<< Our witness on the use of money >>

The draft BYM minute on sending money to FUM opens by declaring that,

<< In the course of our deliberations we have come to see that money is not really the issue. >>

Are they kidding?

Money has been precisely the issue. We stopped sending (all the) money; some are determined that we resume sending all the money. And the minute has just told us how scandalized the drafters are that some in other YMs don’t approve of our not sending money. How can money possibly not be the issue?

Actually, the thought in that quoted sentence is incomplete. Here’s the rest of it: [money is not really the issue] — “so we should start sending the money again.”

Yet if money was truly “not the issue,” it wouldn’t matter if we sent it or didn’t. That is, when complete, the proposition above is self-contradictory. Do you see that the dice are being loaded here, right before our eyes? That’s the first problem with this climactic section.

<< We believe that an undue focus on money is getting in the way of the work we are called to, work which includes being present with lesbian and gay Friends in FUM-only yearly meetings, and engaging actively with the rest of FUM in working and witnessing for peace and equality. >>

Nope. This sentence is, as we say in the country, bass-ackward. Especially in light of how our witness has opened the way to such huge strides of progress in FUM — just exactly when, by whom, and how was it decided that the focus on money — that is, on backing up our witness by not sending it, was “undue”? (Have these strides been enough? We’ll come to that later.) Do you see the dice being loaded even more here?

<< Money is a clumsy form of communication — a blunt weapon — that cannot convey the transformational power of our spiritual concern. >>

More self-contradiction, and dice-loading. Again, let’s complete the proposition here: [Money is a clumsy form of communication] “so let’s communicate better by sending money.” Further, [money is a blunt weapon], “so let’s not use blunt weapons, by, umm, sending money.”

See the point? Money is “clumsy” if we DON’T send it. [It’s agile and nimble if we do.] Money is a [gasp] “blunt weapon” — if we DON’T send it. [Presumably it’s the finely calibrated balm of peace — if we do send it.]

Here in the boonies, there’s a pungently descriptive agricultural term for this sort of flim-flam. But I had to put it through a handheld Digital Quaker Language Euphemizer to convert it to printable form.

Ah, there it is: balderdash. Certified, unadulterated balderdash.

We’re just not buying it. Every time BYM adopts a budget, we deploy our money — put it to use here and here, but not over there, as we are best led. Whatever “transformational power” our concerns have is made concrete in our budgets year by year, three hundred and thirty nine times so far, by where the money goes, and where it doesn’t. Anybody who says otherwise is shoveling — well, balderdash.

<< We have come to trust that the Holy Spirit is working among us, for purposes that we do not yet fully understand. >>

Hold on another minute. So by changing the way we deal with money for FUM, that means we quit trusting the Holy Spirit? Well, thanks for that, folks. What other ad hominem slurs are there to dump on the concerns which produced this witness?

<< We know that it is not money but the Inward Teacher who transforms hearts. >>

Once more, complete the thought: It’s NOT money that “transforms hearts” — so we should send money.

Please; give us a break here.

And the grand finale:

<< In the spirit of seeing our relationship with FUM, not as a problem, but as an opportunity to witness actively for peace, equality, and compassion . . . >>

So we have NOT been witnessing “actively” for these values since 2004?? (I knew there were more slurs to come.) So we have NOT been using our witness as an “opportunity” as well as a problem? (Shovel it on.)

Let’s recap the windup to this pitch:

  • Because money is not the issue;
  • because we have unduly “focused” on money;
  • because money is a dreadful “weapon”;
  • because we’re clumsy to have used money;
  • because by our use of money we thereby stopped trusting the Spirit;
  • because by our action regarding money we have been culpably “inactive”;
  • because by this use of money we have seen only problems and missed great opportunities, notably to pay for what we can’t abide–

We can begin to redeem ourselves, pull ourselves up out of the moral mire — by sending money.

Do I have to belabor the point that this kind of rationale is an insulting, condescending non-starter? I’ve mulled it over for a long time, but haven’t yet come up with a less convincing case for sending the money, even as a caricature to poke fun at.

Especially since an alternative, non-insulting, non-condescending, non-dice-loaded case for sending the money is so easy to make.


That will be laid out in the final post of this series.

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