the process

Recently I noticed a well known political commentator talking about the importance of the presidential primary process. She expressed confidence that the process would sort out who was be the best candidate for her party. That reminded me of a conversation I'd once had about communal decision-making.

A contentious issue had become very heated, and I'd been pleading for an upcoming meeting to be cancelled, to avoid bringing the issue to a crisis point. I thought it would certainly damage relationships and lead to a break in the community. But my friend insisted that bringing it before the group and taking the usual consensus decision-making steps would lead to some good result (though what that might be wasn't clear at the time). "I believe in the process," he said.

The outcome of that particular process didn't impress me, however. From what I could see, it resulted in even more damage that I expected. And in my years in community life I've seen quite a few other processes end in failure (or worse) as well. It has certainly left me with no great faith in "the process."

What are our processes, after all? Merely human organizational models and techniques. Political procedures, designed based on our experience getting groups of people to cooperate. Ways of gathering and maintaining the support of the majority. Certainly there is acquired wisdom to be seen in processes that have lasted for years. But ultimately our processes are still the products of human beings, carried out by human beings, and only as trustworthy as human beings.

I don't believe in the process. I don't believe in the political wisdom of human beings, but in the wisdom of God ("foolishness to the Greeks..."). If I wanted to gain the support of the majority, I should certainly follow their processes. But if I want the support of God, those processes are worthless. I'd rather ignore those processes consistently, to demonstrate that I look to God for my help rather than men.

That's not to reject people, since God uses everyone for his purposes, and I know much of my help will come through them. But I do reject their faith in the process.

So far, my early experiments in side-stepping the process have been encouraging, and liberating. (And hopefully maybe a little inspiring.)