March 24th, 2012

how long

While we're on the subject of restructuring The UMC . . .

Coverage of the recent death of Coptic Pope Shenouda of Alexandria gave details on how his successor will be chosen. The three finalists chosen by Church leaders will have their names put in a container and a boy chosen at random will be blindfolded and draw the next Pope's name out of the box.

It occurred to me that we could adapt this to our own usage and spare ourselves the agony of ecclesiastical campaigning in Jurisdictional and Central Conferences, along with the succeeding agony of living with too many politician-bishops.

Let's say that anybody who can get 5% or 10% of the delegates to Jurisdictional or Central Conference to sign a nominating petition will be made a candidate. After some schmoozing and speechifying, the Conference will vote on all the nominees. But each vote is separate. The candidates are not running against each other; rather, the delegates are asked to indicate, Ye or No, whether they would find each candidate acceptable as a bishop if that bishop were to be assigned to their episcopal area.

All candidates receiving an acceptable rating by a bare majority of delegates would have their names placed in a container. There might be seven acceptable candidates for three vacancies, let us say. Then as many children as there are vacancies would be chosen at random from among those in attendance, they would be blindfolded, and each child would draw one name from the box. The Secretary of the Conference would open the names and record them, then hand them on to the Presiding Officer, who would announce those who had been chosen as the new bishop(s). And, we proceed to the service of episcopal consecration and the assigning of the new bishops to their areas.

It seems to me that we might come up with no worse a panel of bishops by this method than we have produced by our current method, and certainly we might come up with a panel of bishops with more diversity of background and theology than the same old, same old we tend to elect. Whaddya say, General Conference delegates? Let's junk the power-tripping stuff that's been produced by the highly-connected guys and inject a little holy drawing of lots into the process. If it was good enough to elect the Apostle Matthias (Acts 1:26), I'd say it's good enough for us!
wayside cross

News from the peaceable kingdom

asakiyume wanted me to be sure to take some nature pictures on my overnight trip to Wilderstead. As if I needed to be encouraged. (Click on any pic to enlarge it.)

The holler is really greening up fast. The creek is in spate. I put on my sandals and crossed it by the ford on my neighbor's property; I could feel the force of the water against my feet. There was a 'possum on the bank under a brush pile this morning, but he was a bit camera shy. First one of those I've seen at Wilderstead.

I got some chores done, and made a list of stuff to get done before I get swamped with summer activities. It rained again overnight; I lay in the cabin and heard it spatter on the skylights and roof. In between rains, the stars came out in glory. Mars is close to Antares in Leo. These two old foes would have dominated the sky if it weren't for Venus pouring fire out of heaven on the other side of the firmament. In between, Orion, Taurus, and the Dogs exhibited their bejeweled tableau.

I feel so much better for having been out there, to have spent the night, and dug in the dirt, and walked about. It is my haven.

Honey locust by the Pishon Honey locust by the Pishon This year's new growth bursting from the bud
Holding the bank Holding the bank old, established trees with mossy trunks
Looking down the hollow Looking down the hollow Pishon creek on the left, cabin on the right, gravel road leading to Akes Hill Rd. in the center; I plan to build a little chapel on this hillside.
Evergreen shining with a million tiny jewels Evergreen shining with a million tiny jewels Late afternoon sun shining on water droplets left by a light rain

wile e.

Recreational Math

Hearts is a four-handed game in which points are awarding for capturing certain cards in a trick. One point is given for each of the 13 Hearts and 13 points is given for capturing the Queen of Spades. There are thus 26 points in a hand; however, if one player captures all the point cards (13 Hearts plus the Queen of Spades), that player receives zero points and the other three players all get 26 points (this is called “shooting the moon”). When one player reaches 100 or more points, the game is over and the player with the lowest score wins.

That being so, what is the fewest number of hands that can be played to finish the game? What is the greatest number of hands that can be played in a complete game? What is the lowest possible winning score? What is the lowest possible losing score? What is the highest possible losing score?