Pardon me while I vent
I finally got around to downloading the forms for Charge Conference today, and I am truly appalled. The sheer amount of useless paper being peddled by the ever-more-distant bureaucrats who run our Conference is insane. As I said many years ago on the floor of Annual Conference, in reference to a silly program being pushed by our then-bishop that required us to submit out all kinds of data several times a year,
In a large, bureaucratic organization, the way the people on top of the pile make themselves feel that they're accomplishing something is to get the people on the bottom of the pile to make paper fly.
Or, as I said to my then-DS some years ago when he asked me why my answers on some form were so short and uninformative,
In general, forms tell you more about the people who design them than the people who fill them out.
You may quote me.
All this is not to say that I resent providing information and being made accountable. I am willing to do whatever is required of me. What I resent is the sheer waste of my time on the part of Superintendents who are no longer willing to do the job the superintendency was designed for. In effect, nobody is minding the store, and all this paper is a substitute for the personal supervision that the DS is supposed to be providing -- used to provide, routinely.
Meanwhile, as the Annual Conference gets larger and its leadership more divorced from actual conditions in the churches, more e-mails and more paper and more demands are rained down from the Olympian heights onto the peasants below. Aristophanes's image of Zeus and the sieve is very apt in that regard.