Marthoma Community Podcast

#16 - Ron Jacob: Background, Assembly, and the Constitution (1 of 2)

January 06, 2021 George Mathew Season 2 Episode 16
#16 - Ron Jacob: Background, Assembly, and the Constitution (1 of 2)
Marthoma Community Podcast
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Marthoma Community Podcast
#16 - Ron Jacob: Background, Assembly, and the Constitution (1 of 2)
Jan 06, 2021 Season 2 Episode 16
George Mathew

Guest: Ron Jacob

Parish: Long Island MTC (NY)

Interview Date: December 30, 2020


Part 1

  • Ron's background
  • Experience of serving in the Diocesan Assembly and Council
  • The Mar Thoma Church Constitution

Part 2

  • Women serving as lay leaders (lay ministers)
  • "The Revolution" (Article by Ron, published in the Marthoma Messenger)
  • Background on "Be The Match"

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Guest: Ron Jacob

Parish: Long Island MTC (NY)

Interview Date: December 30, 2020


Part 1

  • Ron's background
  • Experience of serving in the Diocesan Assembly and Council
  • The Mar Thoma Church Constitution

Part 2

  • Women serving as lay leaders (lay ministers)
  • "The Revolution" (Article by Ron, published in the Marthoma Messenger)
  • Background on "Be The Match"

Support the Show.

George: Hey everybody, we're here for another episode. I'm here with Ron Jacob who is the account manager for Be The Match  (.org) in  the Northeast. And he's also a member of Long  Island Marthoma Church.  Ron welcome. Thanks for making some time.

Ron: Thanks for having me, George. I appreciate it.

Ron's Background [00:00:15]

George: So you know, Ron, when I first called you, or when we first got in touch we ended up talking for a little bit about a whole bunch of different things. So for today my thought was to dig a little bit into an article that you had presented I believe you said at a conference back in 2013 and then eventually got published in the  (Marthoma) Messenger.

So we'll talk about that and then we'll branch off from there. But before we get into that I'd love to hear and for you to share just, you know, what your background is with the Marthoma church, you know what you've been doing over the years both at your parish level.  And then I know you've been very active in the diocese as well.

Ron: Sure. So yeah, you know, born and raised in New York. And when my, initially I was at Epiphany, Marthoma Church, and then my parents were one of the founding members over at Long Island  (MTC) in 1987. And that's where that's when we moved out. And Long Island Marthoma Church started in 87. Grew up in the church, you know from, from the very beginning my dad served various capacities throughout the time there, whether it be Epiphany, Long Island.

So I saw that my mom was very  active as well. You know, you'd always hear stories about your grandparents who were active as well. So it was something that was ingrained in. Myself and my brother. So and you know, I was active in the Sunday school. I was active in the youth fellowship. I think my first ever leadership position in the church was in 1996 and I'm dating myself.

I was in 11th grade at the time. And it was I was a junior and I was studying for my SAT's and all those things. I was involved in school activities as well. I was like, I was the VP of multiple organizations and I decided to take out the position of secretary of the youth fellowship and didn't know what I was getting myself into, but what I did know was just years prior, I had accepted Christ for the first time and I'm just trying to figure out what that really meant.

And just trying to play an active role in the youth fellowship and trying to help out. So yeah, 96, I remember that and holding that position and just. How busy and overwhelmed. I felt with school and with that I always tell people we never had a bank account for the youth fellowship. So myself and my buddy, who was a trustee, we went and opened one up.

We didn't know what we were doing, you know, and we just went bank to bank, you know, these 16, 17 year old kids trying to figure it out. We did. And we're like, yay. We, we achieve something big, you know? So,

George: So that's interesting. So 96. So yeah, I, I remember being in high school, just like everyone else and SATs and all that craziness. And then, so talk a little bit though about like  the size of your youth fellowship and what you guys were into at the time. Cause when you say like, Oh, he was crazy.

Like I, you know, I remember holding positions in my fellowship that I grew up in and yes, they were super active and then there were also periods where it was like, eh, we're, we're just kind of having our youth meetings and moving on. So what, what were you guys into at that time that made it so vibrant.

Ron: I think that's a cyclical nature of the, of the youth fellowships in the month of my church. Right. And that's just how it was for us too. I remember when being 12, 13, 14 years old and want to be part of the youth back then the youth league was what they called it. And then they, in our church, they did something special where they split it and they gave us something called the junior youth league.

So the junior high kids were in one group and the high school kids were in the other group and then they kind of combined us. But then we had one of those lulls where, you know, we probably, at that time I had one older youth leader, quote, unquote older youth leader. And then she had kind of gone away and for, for, you know, school and missions trips and things like that.

And so it was time for us to step up and we had a large number of kids, you know, you could, if you had a youth meeting, you could have 30 to 50 kids in one shot

George: No, that's pretty big.

Ron: And we had youth meetings. We we did, we had Bible studies, we had cottage prayer meetings. That group kind of began the first praise and worship night that we ever had in, in 2000, you know there were other churches locally, other multiple churches that did like coffee houses and different things.

So I remember at that time I leaned a lot on my older friends from Epiphany Marthoma Church. Back then in the 90s, Epiphany was blessed to have 20+ youth leaders, I would say easily. You know, I could, I remember counting it because I was so jealous because we probably had two. And so, but because of that, we did a lot of collaborative things going to their meetings, bringing that, that that information over to ours and, you know, taking advantage of that.

And. That's how we've tried to develop it. You know, it was more about, Hey, can we get those leaders to come and lead ours once in a while? And can we have people from other churches come and speak, and we did that. And we had so much who really were open to those ideas and we got lucky. So I would say, you know, from that 1995 time till I went to college, it was a good, it was a good opportunity.

We had it every Friday, every Friday we had youth meetings, you know, seven o'clock or seven 30, and we'd be there until 11 o'clock at night, you know? And it was amazing.

George: Yeah. You know, so you and I share background in that we both grew up in New York, right? So I was, I was in the suburbs, gigantic big part of New York that everyone seems to forget about when

Ron: upstate New York.

George: yeah. Upstate I literally Rockland County is as far South, as you can go before crossing a bridge.

And I, whatever. So, but what I wanted to say about that, it's like you bring up a interesting point, like in the nineties and early two thousands. I always took for granted. I can see now that I took for granted that we had so many churches, Marthoma churches in pretty close proximity, you know, just in Rockland County itself, we  now have two Marthoma parishes and then it wasn't till I started going to conferences.

You know, when I was older and start hearing about just kind of what the lay of the land is in the rest of the country. And there are pockets of, of that, where they have a sister church, someone nearby, and then like I'm in the Midwest. Now my wife's yeah. On the Midwest. And she talks about how they would, you know, take day trips or multi-day conferences because they would have to go to Detroit for like the next, you know, to, to have fellowship with the other Marthoma Church.

So it's an interesting point. And I think a lot of came a lot came out of that. Which is the whole thing in itself. So, but I did, I wanted to go ahead and, and dive into some topics here. 

Diocesan Assembly [00:06:45]

So the first thing I had was you have been a member of the diocese assembly. And in addition to that, you were a member of the council at that time.

So if you could you want to talk about that experience just a little bit, and then I've got some specific questions related to the constitution just because  you're someone that has taught about the Marthoma constitution at leadership conferences, but first, so I guess what was your, your experience being in the council?

Ron: Sure. So I loved my time there. I really, it opened up my eyes to how a governing body of the church should be run and the things that can, that you can accomplish with that. I did not think that I was going to run for it. I had held you know, I've had I held committee positions before for our church.

I was a lay leader and things like that, but when this came up, a couple of different people at different times said, Hey, would you be interested? And at that time, I always had a really good relationship with our decision Bishop at the time, Theodosius Thirumeni, who's now  the current Metropolitan.

And so really good relationship with him and the diocesan secretaries at the time, who was KE Geevarghese Achen and Binoy Achen, so really, you know when it came up, I said, You know, I had to learn about what it really meant, you know, what was that about? So I, it was interesting because you and I discussed the  whole aspect of running for the position and in our church, we've never had assembly members elected without it going to voting.

And it's known for that. And it's crazy. So I didn't know what that meant.

George: it's a, that's a good point because I've been in parishes where both scenarios were, were valid, right. Where you've got, it's like really competitive and people are like campaigning, really hard to get that assembly position. Other churches were like, I don't want to do it this time.

You want to do it? So that's interesting. But so you're saying, so that was always the experience that it was a very like neck to neck. People were vying for it.

Ron: Right. And so, you know, I remember even learning the process where you have to have someone, you know, fill out your nomination paper and sign it. And this and that. And I remember I had an uncle of mine who is my uncle in our church. Who's a friend's father who always supported us and always supported the youth and always supported me.

And he was great guy. And I asked him, right. And I remember someone criticized him and said, why are you supporting the youth? Why are you supporting this kid? You know? And so it was, it was just interesting, you know, what happened? I remember I was told, Oh, you need to call people in the church and you need to talk to them and just let them know.

So And I, and it was trying to reconcile that in my head like, Oh, is this really necessary? But the one thing I learned was people just want to know that you're interested in it. It's just, it shows them that you're serious about it. So to me, it wasn't a big deal. So I did, I went out, I, I called some people, I emailed, some people texted, some people, some people I spoke to them in person.

What I didn't do was, you know, those people in church who were not going to support you, you know, the ones who don't like you. So I wasn't going to be fraudulent about it and approach them and say, Hey uncle, do you mind?

George: Yeah, you don't want to annoy them.

Ron: and you know, they don't like you, so why, why would you even try? You know, it's not even I just don't think, I think it's insincere to even go that route.

So I remember one of the uncles who ran against me sent a letter to everyone of the church, which might in, you know, he did it and it said, "Hey, I'm retiring so therefore I'll have a lot of time. So that's why you should probably vote for me." And I'm like, "I'm not," you know,

George: Yeah, fair point, I guess.

Ron: I'm working full time. So no, I can't.

So so it was interesting. But. No. Luckily I won and had the opportunity to go to assembly. And then I ran for council and it, and that was also unique in that despite being close with Theodosius Thirumeni and telling him that I'm, you know, I'm interested in I'm running, he simply was, he just looked at me, said, Good.

And that was it. You know what it was, it was like, well, thanks. You know? Yeah. You know, and, but that's, that's, that was the beauty of  Theodosius Thirumeni and I like, that's just how it was.

George: Yeah. That's, that's my experience with him too. He was very much he'll. He'll tell you that he's supportive of it or happy about whatever is going on, but then you gotta go and make it happen. So

Ron: that's it. Yeah. I appreciate that. But then yeah, I ran into, and that's when we learned about what it takes to run for council, the emails and the letters and the phone calls and having little cards that you bring the day of and all those things. And I'm like,

George: Yeah.

Ron: and that was an aspect of it.

That, again, that I wasn't a big fan of initially.

George: Yeah.

Ron: Which you and I discussed. But what I did realize was when you look at the demographic of the voters at that time, it was a majority of people who were in their fifties, sixties, seventies, and you know, that that's how it was.

George: That's what they're used to.

Ron: what they're used to and they expected.

And when you don't do that, It's it's not looked upon favorably. It looks as if you're being lazy, actually, when you don't do that. And I remember for that council, we had a record number of second gen members running and everyone, except for one got into the council and the one who didn't was the one who he didn't want to go that route.

George: Didn't do the legwork. Yeah.

Ron: and you know, and he was, he was intentional about it because that's just, wasn't what he wanted to do. And people held it against him. So it was interesting, you know, it was interesting the way that it broke down and I could give you so many stories about the council elections and things that shocked me.

And I was so upset about, and I had, I had some, one person from my center running called up my uncle, didn't realize it was my uncle and literally bashed me to my uncle and said, "Oh, this kid doesn't know anything. He's he's trying to give Theodosius Thirumeni a hard time," which is just hilarious to me again, because.

Thirumeni and I were tight. And my uncle called me up and said, Hey, be careful. This is what this guy is saying. And I was, I couldn't believe it. You know? 

George: Yeah, it's a, it's unfortunate, but I think it's a reality in most arenas. Right? I think even in the professional world, you might run into people like that, but it's, I guess, discouraging to hear it, hear about it happening in church, but. That's that's how it is. That's how I look at it. At least like that's what's happening and we gotta be smart about it.


Ron: naive.

George: Not naive. That's a better way. I like that better. Yeah, you should. You shouldn't be surprised when, when it happens.

And I think I, and I think it took some of those experiences for me to break out of that naivity, if that's the word

"Oh, but it's church! Why is it..." it's happening? All right. Deal with it.

Ron: And we always say the church, we're so quick to preach about how the church is made up of people who are sinners and flawed. And yet when the flaws come out, that's when we're all ready to like pounce on

George: Jump on people.

Ron: Right. And you have to understand that if you want a body made up of flawed individuals, better be willing to accept the flaws when they're shown.

George: Sure. Sure. 

Church Constitution [00:13:43]

All right. So as our our constitution I don't know. Should I of, can I call you an expert on the constitution? No. No. All right. You were just a

Ron: I just love, I love, I love the aspect of it and reading about it and understanding it and conveying that. So.

George: why don't you and we, you and I chatted about this a little offline, but for everyone listening, how about you just lay out, like how that came to be. How did you become  someone so interested and passionate about our Marthoma constitution?

Ron: I think it started with being part of the council. We had a record number, as I said of second gen in the council, many of us who don't read or write  Malayalam. Some of us, you know, speak, but, you know, as our parents, you know, describe it, it's the "pottan malayalam."  

George: right. 

we, we're not, you know, our Malayalam that we know is from watching movies growing up, you know, so it's not, we're not skilled.

So so just the idea of, Hey, we need to get our hands on the constitution, which we did and we distributed. And then we saw that the most recent constitution at the time was like six years old or five years old and hadn't been updated in years and, but the Malayalam one was, and that to me bothered me, I was like, wait, why is there an updated version of Malayalam, but not English.

So I remember reading it and going over it and really trying to understand it, especially when we were running for council, we really need to know all the little nuances of it. So then that's when I kind of just. I studied it the way I used to study for like med school, you know, you just kind of highlight and under underline it.

If you saw my original conversation, it's like red underline and yellow highlights and things like that. Just trying to figure it out. And then I started realizing that, man, there's a lot of stuff that's not in here. And if that's, it makes sense to use

Oh yeah. For a, it makes a lot of sense to me cause like you like you, I spent some time reading it and but yeah, we can talk about that after.

Ron: Yeah. You know, you're just like, huh? This uncle and auntie told me a lot of different things that I just can't find in this book. 

George: It's not 

in there.

Ron: Right, It's not there, but yet they're so strong in their opinion that, "Hey, no, no, our constitution doesn't allow that or won't allow"

George: Yeah. You, you used the word during our conversation. Like, unfortunately again, sometimes people weaponize it. And that's what that was my experience. Right. People were bringing it up to basically shut me and other people down and say like "per constitution, you cannot do this." And that's how I went to go and got a copy and I read it and I was like, "it doesn't say that."

So, and then Achen would back me up because he has to, at that point, cause now I I'm quoting the constitution. So the actual wouldn't be like, "he is correct. It doesn't say that."

Ron: And George, isn't see. That's that's the main thing also. I hate when people use the constitution as a weapon, it's, wasn't intended for that.

George: It's not for that. Right.

Ron: W it's intended to bring inclusivity, right? You want people to be able to participate in the democratic functioning of the church, and that is irrespective of your education, your financial status, that none of that should matter because this constitution ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity.

And so  you know, I've I've said this many times, I I'm a true believer in that the constitution should be digital. I think it should be on every single Marthoma website, every single church website, parish websites should have a link to a digital copy of the constitution. It's not something that should be hidden or just for a select few people.

You know, I think it's, it's, it's important for people to understand that. And then I think there's also this understanding of-- you have to identify those people that use it as a weapon and why are they doing it? Right? And that's where leadership comes into play, where, Hey, we don't need to use it in that regard.

You know, the fact that, Hey, a notice is supposed to be on the notice board three days prior or whatever it might be or. Or two weeks prior to the general body, all those kinds of things like notice to committee has to be there three days before. Sure. There's a reason because we want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be there and participate.

That's the spirit of the law, but so often we're like, no, no, no, it wasn't the official 72 hours. It was 71 and a half. We can't have this meeting, you know? And so

George: Or my favorite is like, well, I wasn't there when I looked well, I don't know what to tell you. I, I literally had an instance where someone said like, Oh, it wasn't up. And I was the secretary at the time. And I was like, well, I put it there and it's still there. So if someone took it down and put, like, I like we can go all kinds of theories about why you didn't see it, but

we put it there and put it there.

We're done. Let's move on.

Ron: we had a secretary who actually wants I guess it was a little delayed and someone took a picture

George: That it wasn't there.

Ron: wasn't there. So then after that, they started taking pictures with the timestamp of when it was put up. You know, I ha there was once an uncle in our church who when the agenda for the general body meeting was red, it says, you know, the general body meeting will take place at, and typically Long Island Mar Thoma Church and they address and all that secretary didn't read the address -- "point of order."

Which church, what church? Like, what are you talking about? He's like, "you didn't say the name of the church. You didn't say the address of the church." I'm like, "where are you going to drive to the sister parish 20 miles away? I don't understand," but that was the point of order. And you're like, Oh, that's the ridiculousness of individuals who weaponize the constitution.

George: Yeah, I liked what you said, like the, the spirit of the law. Right. But let's, there's a reason that it's that we have the rules. So are we meeting that and But then when you start bringing up points, like you said, it's like, okay, you're totally drained. I take it as you're draining energy from people just like, why do we have to deal with this?

But all right. So anyway, you picked up a constitution, studied it. Like he's like, like med school. I like, that's pretty intense.

Ron: And I loved it. I loved it. I read it. I'm like, Oh, this is so interesting. And it was. And it's at my fingertips. And so I loved it. And then I remember telling and then when I made it to the council, I, I remember Theodosius Thirumeni said to me, he said, Hey, I want you to be in charge of the leadership conference subcommittee.

And we got together our search committee and we broke down things. And I said, I want this to be part of it. I want people to understand that this isn't like some Holy sacred grail kind of thing that no one can touch and it, we can, you know, we can't even distribute. We, what we did was we actually bought copies and gave and, and had it there for.

For the leadership conference attendees to take.

George: Okay. I hadn't heard about that. Cool.

Ron: And we said, we're going to, we're going to sell it. We was sold, but we sold it there. And we also ensured that we taught it. And so I did a whole one hour session. And when I speak my story, my lectures are typically stories.

So I always referenced point-of-order uncle and point-of-order uncle was the one who, you know, there was always different point of orders that he brought up and it was interesting. And these are the things that I want people to understand that. Be prepared that there are going to be people like this whose intent is to, like you said, is to suck the energy out of the room whose intent is just to kind of maybe show that, Hey, I know a little more than you.

I've been, you know, and so. I think we have to combat that, and we have to overcome that. I think we need to be able to understand let's get over that to actually be able to succeed. And that's a struggle. Also, it is a struggle because too often, the point of order, uncles dominate the conversations and dominate the meetings and I I say the term I use is they hijack the meetings.

They literally hijacked the meetings to where it cannot be productive and it can't be a cordial business meeting. And I go back to our council, our council from 2014 to 17, which Theodosius Thirumeni ran was. Amazing. Not a soul screamed, not a  soul was abusive and spoke out of turn. In fact, everybody was very cordial.

We got business done. When you needed to question someone, you question someone with respect and kindness and everyone came and did what they had to and did their work. And I was, I was amazed. I was like, this is what parish committees should look like.

George: it's so crazy to me. Right? Like, wait, everything you're saying, like, it sounds pretty basic. And then, but then you're like, Oh wait, this is a Marthoma podcast. Suddenly it doesn't suddenly, it doesn't sound like it belongs, which is like, it upsets me to say that, but I'm just saying it like. Unfortunately, it just seems out of place.

And I don't know. I don't know why, but, but by, in educating myself and just like in your story, I think it may, it gets us to a level playing field, right. Where now we can, we can push forward.

Ron: Right. And, and the, and that was the main thing. I, I wanted people, especially the youth to understand that you know, that old saying knowledge is power. I wanted them to understand that, that you, the information in the constitution is just basic information on how things should run. It's it's, you know, It's administrative and do that.

And then you can still achieve a lot and get things done as long as you're working it through the right avenues and doing what's proper. So even, even the roles of, you know, vice president and trustee, accountant, [lay] leader, all those things, even the fact that we use terms like deacon and lay leader, if you look at the constitution, it's lay ministrant, and I don't know a single church that uses that term.

You know it's, it's ironic to me that the vice president position is the one that most people fight over, but yet in the constitution, the vice-president, I think has one responsibility and that's to run a meeting when the

George: In the absence of the Vicar. Yeah.

Ron: That's it. You know? And so, and that typically happens maybe when it's time to decide on the purse for the outgoing option when he's being transferred.

And that's it. So.

George: So I like that point though, because it illustrates, as you said, there's a lot, that's not, that's not in there, but for any, you know, well-functioning organization, right. I think there's a, there needs to be some base level understanding. Of okay. Again, what's the intent of that role. So even though yes, the only official constitution, a right or responsibility given to the vice-president is okay.

Chair the meeting in the absence of the Vicar or the whoever, but functionally like, okay, you want that person, you know, what comes with that? You need to have essentially. A level of understanding on par with what an Achen would have. Like, you need to understand, how does the church work? What are the priorities?

What are the, you know, the, the things that need to be considered when making decisions. Right? So like all of that needs to be there for someone who's going to take on that role, even though it's not spelled out.

Ron: George, I'm a huge baseball fan. And the way I look at is your Achen is the manager of the team. And the vice president is the bench coach. The bench coach is the guy sitting there and he's in the Achen's ear.  Giving him good advice and recommendations. And when the manager gets kicked out of the game, the Bench coach can fill right in and make everything run as smooth.

That's what it's got to be. And and too often, I think it becomes that status symbol, right. That, Hey, I'm the vice president. Okay. What does that mean? Are you, are you, you know, supporting the church in a spiritual capacity, is that happening through your role? Because that's one thing that the vice president can do.

You know, the vice press can serve as that quote unquote elder. If we want to use terms from, you know, the the local churches, right. I think that's a perfect position for someone who serves as that elder. And I'm not saying they have to be an older person, but I think it has to be a person who is wise, who is mature, who is respected.

And I think who has a. A calm, demeanor, right? I think you can't be someone who's trying to disturb the peace all the time. That's not what you, as a VP should be doing.

George: Yeah. Yeah. All right. So I wanted to now take kind of the flip side, right? Which this may be some people me only take this as controversial or whatever. But I want to talk about it. So this is one of my experiences, which I I shared with you, 

right. So we have like this all the second gen people who have been involved in the assembly and we were kind of sharing our experiences. And so I asked the questio,n because it was, this is during the most recent assembly meeting. And I think it was the second or third time that somebody referenced the constitution.

I don't remember if it was Achen or a lay person or whoever, and. And then Thirumeni  said yeah, as per our constitution, dah, dah, dah. So I finally just asked the question openly as like, "Thirumeni, can we make a copy of the constitution available to everyone in the assembly?" And again, my intention of the question was not, Hey, I think the assembly the diocese should provide everyone with a copy.

I'll buy my own that's, whatever. But the point is like, can we make it a point to say, Hey, all assembly members at least should all be knowledgeable of the constitution.

Ron: Isn't that sad that you have to make that suggestion? Shouldn't that just be given?

George: Well, so that will trying to go with it, like, Hey, can we all have a copy? And you be at a baseline level of understanding of this document and the response I got and I'm paraphrasing from the many, this is for next semester for me was the constitution is not the Bible. That is the quote that I shared with some second gen people.

And that was. And I got what he meant. Right. As you said, you actually just mentioned earlier, you know, like it's, it's administratively and, you know, there there's things in there to help us run, but then that is not the end all be all everything. Right? If anything, the Bible is our document for, for guidance.

Right. And that was the point of his comment. Constitution itself is not the Bible. And I think he, I believe he said, you know, it's not, not to be studied in everything like the Bible. And anyway in that moment, that was very discouraging to me in that I was like, Hey, basically you're saying I took it as you're saying, I don't need to understand what's in that document.

And you're going to provide me with that. And it, and I've experienced things, as you said, you know, point-of-order uncle, right. You know, I, I feel like every parish has got one probably where we need to be prepared to do that. So. With that set up. Right. And I'm I don't want to ramble on too much, but I guess what is your, your reaction to that kind of statement?

Ron: I agree with Thirueni in the sense that he's a hundred percent accurate and right. The constitution is not the Bible. Right. And, but too often in our Sabha, in our church, in our parishes, the constitution is given more weight and validity than the Bible 

I've been in meetings, general body meetings and committee meetings, where there have been individuals who've cited, biblical passages and portions, and said, we shouldn't be doing this.

And they bring specific versus up and you know, what would happen, others around them. They bring the constitution up and they laugh at him for , for bringing up verses and things like that. And so that's where, you know, your, what Thirumeni said is correct? That it. The Bible should be given more emphasis on weight, but unfortunately in this current climate it's not.

And so therefore I think I agree with you in that. Yeah, it should be made available. It should be given to everyone. I don't, I don't know what the issue is. And I actually, I take that back. I do understand because Larry had mentioned in his podcast with you where he said, man, when we know people that have the constitution know it, we know it's going to be a longer meeting.

We know. But, you know, what, what that allows is that it allows that equal playing field. Right. Then everybody's on the same page. So that's where, that's what I am. I'm a huge proponent of it. I think you study the Bible more than the constitution, but you need to study the constitution as well because 

George: need to understand the constitution. You should know, like we were talking about what's in there and what's not in there. That's baseline.

Ron: That's it that's it. And so, because too many people come up with statements that are inaccurate and too often for years, I was like, Oh, well, okay. If it's in there, it's in there.

George: Right.

Ron: you just can't accept that. You, you can't be when you don't know the constitution, you're accepting ignorance. And you just cannot.

If I, if you study the constitution and you walk away and you just choose not to abide by it, well, then you just hold onto your ignorance. I can't help that, but everyone should be given the opportunity to know that information because again, decisions are made, and this is again, unfortunate, too many decisions are made at those meetings based on the constitution and not the

George: by trying to follow the letter of the law and then things get shut down or thrown out because, Oh, but it says this, so we can't do it.

Ron: George when I was in the council and the English constitution was so old and outdated, and I spoke to Theodosius Thirumeni, he said, Metropolitan is coming. I'm going to set up a meeting with you. You sit down and you speak to him and get, get it done. And literally one-on-one with Metropolitan and

theodosius Thirumeni sitting there and it was probably an hour and a half. We sat there talking mostly the metropolitan, tell you about his stories and stuff were just amazing, by the way, some of the things I heard, but some of the stories, but we eventually got to it and he said, Yeah, that's all you want.

Yeah. It's being published. I'm just waiting to write a little preface or forward to it and that's it. And that's what I'm like, but why did it have to take this meeting too for that? This should be automatic, right? You have so many, you have even churches in Bombay. You have majority people who don't know Malayalam.

They need English as much as we do. Right. So. You know, I I'm still, I'm still trying to figure out why there's such a hesitancy. I don't think there needs to be. I think it's when it's out there, let everyone have it.

George: Yeah, I think you're, you know, you brought up the point about Larry Achen's comment, like, Oh, the meeting might take longer and people are going to be, everyone's going to start quoting from it. But I, I feel like, you know, if you look ahead just a little bit further, like that's not gonna last forever.

Like once we've kind of established that. Okay. Everybody knows the deal. So now we don't have to give time to people who, who try and deviate, you know, trying to throw us off. And if anything, it should make it run more efficiently. As you were painting the picture in the council, right. Everybody was cordial and we all understand why we're here and how to do things.

So I don't know. I hope that Or I know that people will continue to take it upon themselves to educate themselves as, as the need arises as they get more involved with leadership. But I agree with you that I hope it becomes more broadly. Understood.


Ron: and, and I think It's our responsibility as leaders to, to teach it. That was one of the reasons why I pushed it at the leadership conference. I haven't been to the leadership conference the last couple of years. I don't know if it's still part of the curriculum, but if it's not. I don't know when, when are you going to have that opportunity?

Right. I think this is something that should be taught. You should have seminars. You know, I always thought to myself I'd love to run these seminars at churches that, that are entitled, "so you think you're a Marthomite?". Right. And, and, and, and do it on the liturgy. Right. Go over the literature, go and have another session on the constitution and, and, and things like that.

So they walk out of there having those questions answered, you know