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!