In a daring departure from the traditional agenda of hymn-singing, lining up to argue at mics and dramatically sending newly-recommended leadership names back to committee, organizers of this weekend’s 64th South England Conference Session of the Adventist Church decided to test the delegates’ political prowess with a surprise quiz on Machiavelli’s classic treatise on power and manipulation.
Attendees were handed copies of “The Prince” and given a mere 15 minutes to read the text before facing a barrage of questions aimed at assessing their Machiavellian aptitude.
Questions ranged from, “How would you maintain power while pretending to be humble?” to “What’s the best way to crush your rivals while also wishing them a Happy Sabbath?”
The delegates, typically known for discussing topics like vegetarianism, Sabbath observance and draft budgets, surprised everyone with their perfect answers and enthusiastic subsequent discussion of Machiavellian principles.
“I never thought I’d see the day when Adventist delegates would debate the merits of pretense and manipulation,” said one observer, sipping herbal tea from a paper cup. “It’s like they’ve been secretly studying ‘The Prince’ in their spare time.”
“It’s clear that we’ve underestimated the political acumen of our delegates,” remarked another attendee. “I mean, who knew that the principles of power politics could be so applicable to church mission and recommendations committee?”
One particularly enthusiastic delegate, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I’ve always believed in the separation of church and state, but after this quiz, I’m convinced that church politics can be just as cutthroat as the secular kind. Hallelujah!”