Let me go back about six years to the 1997 District Convention. I was an "up and coming" MS at the time (only 20 years old!) and was asked by my PO (a circuit "heavy") to be his assistant (read: gopher) in the Chariman's office. What a privelege!
Well, I got to see all the speakers. Yep, every last one of them. I sat in a room filled with about a dozen of the top-notch speakers in the Chicago/Northern Indiana area along with the DO and a couple visiting Bethelites. I even got to walk some of them out onto the stage. (For those of you from the Windy City, this was at Hawthorne Race Course. Weird to have a convention there, wasn't it?)
Well, one would think that I was among the most spiritual people in the Midwest at the time. Why, everyone would be paying attention to the program and following along in their Bibles, taking notes and all.
Pretty much, it was a social affair -- a chance for the "heavies" to hang out and chew the fat. I wasn't talked to much since I was a nobody. Oh, the Circuit overseers talked about their circuit and all the problems they had and who was where and what not. One phrase did catch my attention. One of the CO's (I wish I could remember his name) would occassionally put his arms behind his head, his feet on the desk (I'm not making this up) in front of him and say, "It just doesn't get any better than this!"
Months later, I heard a different CO say the exact same line! Is this some trade secret or something? It does say something about the hunger for status in the organization, doesn't it?
Oh, during one afternoon the DO (Paul Illingworth) actually went into his office and announced he was going to take a nap. A nap! Wow. You won't find that in the "Proclaimers" book! What a great example! (He said he was up late talking to some elder. Bah!)
All in all I got this distinct impression: the traveling overseers and "big-shot" elders pretty much have their own culture and like to associate within their own group. Oh, they will condescend for the rest of the rank and file or "petty" elders, but they will only OPEN UP around their kind. And when they do, you find out they are just like everyone else -- except they don't have to play by all the little silly rules like paying attention to the program or not talking during the session. One of them even -- gasp! -- was eating during the session! There definately was a "priveleged guardian" mentality among them.
Okay, so there you have it. My commentary for the night.