General Conference Day Six
I need to do a little research on my United Methodist history. Last night one of the presenters stated that the earliest delegated general conference was held in 1808. That was the first time people were elected and seated as representatives from their annual conference. But I am not sure when Robert’s Rules of Order and passing legislation as a way to structure the Book of Discipline became the order of the day.
I have been sitting in plenary session today. We are amending and referring, and substituting, and spending hours working on a petition to ultimately defeat it. I keep thinking of the deep issues facing us as a church, and just wonder if this method of being the general conference is becoming outdated and if there is a better way? I am presuming we have not always done it this way, even though it seems like it. But I find it to be slow, tedious and it becomes a procedural game. We are spending lots of time…but what are we actually accomplishing?
Congress has the same fault. There is a fundamental conversation about the role of government in our country, and we are attempting to have it through legislative policies and practices and it is not working. We are frustrated that in our nation no one seems to be leading and we cannot make headway on key challenges, and winning is more important that working for the common good.
Similarly, I see the church needing to have a fundamental convernsation about what does it mean for the United Methodist Church to be a global church, and how will we live that out together? How will be a church that is inclusive and welcoming to all, how will we be relevant in a rapidly changing world, and how will we face the financial challenges facing us. We are trying to solve these issues in plenary sessions of 1000 people debating and voting.
I just have to wonder about what God might be thinking about all of this and when did Robert get to be the order of the day instead of prayer and discernment?