Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On to Anaheim, Round One

As some of you know, I am a deputy to the 2009 meeting of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which takes place in July in Anaheim California (Sorry, but the term "Mickey Mouse Convention" has already been taken!). This is that time every three years when the Episcopal church is in the news several times in a row, after which we are largely forgotten by the news media.

As part of my deputy duties, I am going to a pre-convention meeting of deputies of color this weekend.

I must admit, I am going with a bit of trepidation. It looks like this meeting is being run by the same folk who were in charge of these things when I finished seminary 25 years ago. Put another way, we appear to have Jesse Jackson leadership in a Barack Obama world. I hope I am wrong and will be pleasantly surprised.

I wouldn't really care except I think younger deputies of color have different battles they want to fight. I don't claim to represent them (I am, after all, older than President Obama), but I do get to listen to folk their age a lot as a college chaplain. Is this a time for the passing of the torch?

And I really wonder if that torch is gonna get passed right over my head to those younger than me. If so, I'll be happy to stand with the younger group, especially if they decide to try something other than the old identity politics that, quite frankly, now bore me to tears.

One thing I do know is that I will have to take a walk if we continue the old practice of people of color decrying discrimination and then turning around and refusing to support gays and lesbians in their struggles against the same thing. For me to sign on to that would be, among other things, a betrayal of the folks who are part of my ministry.

I guess what I am really doing as I write this is gathering the courage to face a potential adversary. Pray I have the strength, if needed. Fortunately, my ministry is not really tied to these folks liking me.

More on this as it develops....

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