Not all the votes have been counted, but it is now clear that most of the proposed Constitutional Amendments for the UMC are going down to defeat. In some cases I think this is a good thing. In the case of the Worldwide Nature of the Church amendments, I think it's very unfortunate. I made several replies about the most common arguments against the amendments that you can read here. But for those grateful for the result I have a challenge.
In his YouTube video arguing against the petitions, Maxie Dunnam said, "Let's hear from the task force, then adapt our Constitution to fit what we believe is going to be best in advancing the kingdom." That's a reasonable argument. In fact, that's the argument that almost made me vote against the amendments. So here's my challenge for Rev. Dunnam and those who agree with him - be true to your word. Let's hear from the task force in 2012 and then consider making changes to the Constitution to reflect what we believe will be best in advancing the kingdom.
The task force will most likely come back with proposals that make it clear that the U.S. regional conference would only act on issues that are truly U.S. based. I think it's difficult to argue, for example, that the worldwide church needs to show support for Resolution 201 (2004 BOR) to "Ask the US Attorney General to Investigate Violations of Sherman Anti-Trust Act in Order to Protect Family Farms." (I'm not sure the US part of the church needs to address that particular issue either, but that's beside the point.) If the task force recommends that a U.S. region is able to act only on "changes and adaptations of the Book of Discipline as the special conditions and the mission of the church in the area require," a power granted to the Central Conferences in paragraph 543.7, then I can't imagine what the problem would be.
Some people believe that the amendments were offered as part of an agenda to "liberalize" the U.S. church. Some people think the opposition was a "conservative" overreaction based more on politics than substantive issues. In 2012 both groups get to prove whether those skeptics are right or if "liberals" and "conservatives" can work together to really forge a structure that makes sense. Or we can just keep doing what we're doing. That seems to be working pretty well.