Thursday, July 16, 2009

General Convention, day heaven-knows-what

Okay. I'm tired. What did we do today. Well, we passed the budget, a great exercise in frustration. An hour of people trying to make amendments only to be shot down because they never identified where the money would come from for their pet projects.

Oh wait. I forgot the L.A. night last night. What a wonderful example of what happens with too many cooks. We had folk musicians. We had rock musicians. We had drums. We had 3 screens of constant images. And people doing yoga. And a cross that changed color as it blocked our view of the stage. And glow sticks. And poetry. And Brian McLaren preaching using a Eucharistic image--but no Eucharist. That's like describing a banquet to a starving man and then not actually bringing him food. And a reaffirmation of baptism. And an artist working on a screen constantly changing his images.

This is what happens when you have too many cooks. In this case, it was two different emergent/emerging (somebody please make a decision on this one) pastors trying to merge two obviously very different ministries. Sensory overload. I appreciated the way it broke down out rational defenses to put us in the moment, but it was just too much--especially the moronic glowsticks. Guys, did you notice the lights were still on?

I don't think I will be able to talk about emergent for about six months now. Which is really sad because the image Brian used was actually really good. And the poetry was really good. And the band was solid. And the Bruce Cockburn song had me online getting a copy of it later. But c'mon.... Do some editing next time. We did not need every emergent idea for people who were mostly asking me "What is emergent?" all day.

Anyway, after the budget this morning, Brian got the chance to redeem himself in our daily Eucharist, where he was the preacher (To be fair, the sermon was fine the night before, but it really was incomplete without actually having Eucharist. That was not his to control.). Really good sermon about evangelism and Episcopalians. I did not know that he actually was once an aspirant for ordination in the Episcopal Church but felt we did not make space even in the ordination process for folk like him. Trust me, Brian, if you come to North Carolina, Michael Curry would make space! Anyway, check out Brian's sermon on the Episcopal Church's web page General Convention media hub. And he kept it short too! Gonna be a lot of people stealing from that one for sermons on Sunday.

Now we are in the flurry of resolutions. We had two disappointments. The first was the deputies shooting down a resolution to give vote to the youth deputies; the worst part of this was one of two youth who are regular deputies getting up to speak against it. Obviously she has not been shut out of anything before; I wish I could meet her ten years from now.

The second was the bishops rejecting our call to change the baptismal covenant to a more active response. Right now, the priest describes the expectations and the candidate assents to them, rather than having the candidate declare what s/he will do in the active voice. They decided that this would amount to two covenants, and that could not be. So it is on to the next convention.

Tonight, we had a U2charist. A few of us went out to dinner first at an impossibly slow restaurant. We were an hour late and they were only up to the sermon. Listening to Mike Kinman try to pick our pockets in the sermon so turned me off that I left. The band was a pretty good U2 lookalike band, but even that seemed a little weird to me. I left. Now that i have done this a couple of times, I have decided it does not speak to me. I like their music--I am going to see them in Raleigh in October--but dragging out a Eucharist by looking for every place you can add a U2 song seems tedious, making both the Eucharist and the music less than they are separately.

So now I am in my room trying to pack to send my suitcase back to Greensboro via UPS in the morning. Tomorrow (today, actually) is the last day, so it will be crazy getting things done on the legislative floor. Tripp, I hope we can hook up and grab a brew. Otherwise it is another round of downtown Disney! Save me!

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