As I think I've mentioned before I am a member of a (euphemism alert) 12 Step Program (I think that should be capitalized, but I'm not sure). We have what are called Steps (totally unnecessary to know what they are for this piece) and Traditions (only the fourth one is necessary for this piece).
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups
or (euphemism) as a whole.
There are two groups which meet in this church. I found myself part of the "leadership" (for want of a better word) of one of the groups. We have decided to put on workshops to help people complete the steps, which most people who come to these meeting do not manage to complete, ever.
The other group (or at least a couple of the members, both groups probably have a total of seven or nine active members together; of which five are in our group) has decided that we have broken traditions and they must do something about it. Although, it appears as though their main activists do not hold any positions at all. There have been threats to disrupt our meetings which requires more or less constant vigilance and the ability to go and confront people who might come and try to disrupt our meetings. Mentally exhausting.
They have managed to splinter their group within a fairly short time of deciding that they had to do something. They have driven one officer completely out of the 12 Step Program and another one out of their group. They had a three and a half hour meeting which alienated even more people who are relatively new to the program. Still those who are left can be, or at least seem to be, I'm not sure which, physically threatening. Actually, there is really little or nothing they can do officially, since the workshop has been adapted from one that has been given for more than a year all over the country. In addition since groups are autonomous when letters are sent to the World Office the response is: We understand your concerns, but you must understand that since each group is autonomous we take not position on this matter. Or words to that effect.
All groups seem to function in a spirit of comity until you get to know them and become involved in the way they are run. Politics is the name of the game where ever you are. It further seems to me that what ever you are involved in there is some one who is sure that they know what the rules are and that they are the one to enforce those rules, and for some reason they are always able to get followers. And then they are always able to get those followers to follow them into some sort of battle, even if it is only metaphorically a battle.