Monday, May 26, 2014

Worship Wars

Why does one person pick one worship song while someone else picks another? On Sunday, we were asked to turn in a list of our favorite hymns. My list is likely to be very different from some of the other lists that are turned in. Why?

The worship wars have been going on for a long time. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, I remember people debating the value of traditional hymns versus contemporary choruses. Today, people are still complaining about contemporary choruses, even though very few of the contemporary hymns sung in churches fall in the category of choruses.

All I can tell you is that when I chose the songs to list, they were songs that had special meaning to me at the time that I was making the list. If I were making the list at this moment I might pick other songs. I would probably pick Jesus Is In This House because that happens to be the song I’m listening to at the moment. But when I consider the songs I did list, some of them are on a CD that helped me when I was going through a funk a few years ago. At the time, I was struggling with something that God had allowed to happen and I didn’t understand why. I still don’t and I may never understand it this side of Glory. (Which is actually kind of depressing, but I’ve come to accept it.)

I look at some of the songs other people pick and they are often songs they learned when they were children. But I suspect that there is something more than that. It may be a song they remember their mother singing. It may be a song that was sung at a special event, such as their baptism, or the night they accepted Christ. It may be a song that reminds the person of the power of God to help through a difficult situation they are facing right now.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

10 Things You Know That Ain’t So About Parliamentary Procedure

1. Every motion requires a second

While most motions require a second, when a member of a committee makes a motion on the behalf of the committee, no second is required. Also, in a small committee, motions do not require a second.

2. The chair isn’t supposed to vote

As long as the chair is a member, the chair retains the right to vote.

3. The chair can break a tie vote

Because the chair must maintain an appearance of impartiality, it is advisable for the chair to refrain from voting. The exception is when his vote matters, such as when there is a tie vote. But he isn’t really breaking a tie. When the vote is even, there isn’t a majority, so the motion would fail if the chair doesn’t vote. If he votes in favor of the motion, a majority is achieved and the motion passes. But likewise, if the vote has one more in favor than against, the chair can exercise his right to vote against the motion, thereby creating a tie and causing the motion to fail.

4. A motion is required to adjourn

When the next meeting has already been scheduled and there is no pending business, the chair can say, “If there is no objection, the meeting will be adjourned,” thereby adjourning the meeting by unanimous consent without a formal motion. It is also the case that when a meeting has a fix time to adjourn that the chair can mention that the time has arrived and close the meeting without a motion.

5. To kill a motion you should move to table it

The purpose of tabling a motion is to lay it aside while other items of business are being handled. The body can remove the motion from the table. The correct motion to kill a motion is to postpone indefinitely. A significant difference is that the motion to table is not debateable, while the motion to postpone indefinitely is. It is important for the assembly to be able to discuss whether they want to kill the motion or not.

6. Calling out “Question!” means discussion must end immediately and the chair must put the motion to a vote

Calling out “Question!” is a shorthand of “I move the previous question.” Calling “Question!” is out of order. To be in order, the person would have to stand, be recognized by the chair to speak, and then say, “I move the previous question.” At which time, someone could say, “Second!” from a seated position. The chair would explain that this would end debate on the motion being discussed and then would take a vote on the call for previous question. Only if that motion succeeded with two thirds vote would discussion cease. If it failed, the chair would recognize the next person who rose to speak.

7. A motion can be quickly amended if the person who made the motion and the second agree

Once a motion has been stated by the chair (essentially, repeating what the maker of the motion said), the motion is the property of the body, not of the person who made the motion. So if during debate the person who made the motion sees how he could’ve worded it better and offers to change the motion, it is out of order to do so without an amendment. There is, however, a degree of leeway between the time the motion is made and the chair states the motion. It may take a little effort on the part of the person making the motion to get the wording to what he would like and that is in order. But once the motion is under consideration, it requires an action of the body to change the wording.

8. The highest number of votes wins the election

Yes and no. For a person to win the election, a majority is required. Suppose there are three nominees. One gets 40%, one gets 35%, and one gets 25%. Some believe that the first one would win, as would be the case for some political offices, under the concept of the majority rules, another vote would need to be taken. It could be that some of those who originally supported the first two guys might change their vote to the third guy and reach a compromise vote of 10% for one, 20% for one, and 70% for the last guy. So, yes, he is the guy with the highest number of votes, but he wasn’t originally.

9. A motion to elect the person with the second highest as alternate is in order

If people don’t truly care who is the alternate, the second highest may get the alternate position anyway, but there are a number of problems with this approach. In the example above, the second highest never had more than 35%. Assuming the same list of nominees, minus the winner, it may be that those who voted for the third guy will vote for the guy with the least since their favored candidate is out of it. And it may be that someone has someone else they’d like to nominate as an alternate that wasn’t in the original list.

10. A motion is valid as long as people understand what is intended

In a meeting, someone gets up and makes the some comment about something that he thinks the group ought to do. From the back of the room someone calls out, “So move!” The chair asks for discussion and then takes the vote. This scenario is not in order. To be in order, a motion must have precise word. If it doesn’t, the clerk doesn’t know what to record in the minutes and the people who are voting may not be voting on what they think they are voting on. In cases where the wording is lengthy, the person may be required by the chair to provide motion to the clerk in writing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to Lose an Argument

Raising your voice is one of the worst things you can do when you are trying to persuade someone. We often see situations in which a company or someone in government does something that someone doesn’t like. Hoping they will reverse the decision, the person goes to them to state their case in a public forum. As they begin to talk, their emotions overwhelm them and they begin to yell.

The natural reaction is to view this as a challenge. Consider a situation in which the decision maker made the decision without looking at all sides of the issue. The decision maker may not be attached to the decision he made. When presented with a well stated reason to reverse the decision, he might be easily persuaded. But suppose someone comes to him and says, “How could you be so stupid?” His natural reaction is to grasp for things that will support his original decision. Faced with a challenge, it becomes mentally painful for him to change his decision. To side with the challenger is equivalent to him agreeing that he is stupid.

A better approach is to have the attitude that the decision maker had what he believed was a good reason for the decision he made. If possible, come to an understanding of what that reason was before attempting to persuade the other person. You may find that you would’ve made the same decision if you had been in his shoes. Once the reasoning is known, identify reasons why you believe the reasoning is flawed, but do so in a non-challenging way. When the decision maker sees you as trying to help him make the best decision, it is easier for him to listen to your point of view and givens him freedom to change his decision.

Raising your voice or calling a person names is equivalent to saying, “I’m more important than you, so you have to do what I say.” Unless you are a person in authority over the person, they will not listen. Think about how much more effective it is for a coach to yell at his players than it is for him to yell at the other team.