Friday, May 13, 2016

Dispatch from Portland 1

Beyond the real time social media reporting I've provided during our plenaries, many are asking for more insights. It's then I recall that I've had a blog since before it was cool and then passé, so I'll report as I can longer form impressions. 

As a reserve delegate, my work is to be available should the delegates ahead of me in the order of election need a break or become ill. As of yet that has not happened, but I anticipate it will before the Conference is over.   As a reserve, I'm not assigned to any legislative committee, so I get to sit in on any that interest me. Yesterday I sat in on Discipleship. Technically I have no voice or vote, but in queuing Sky who is at the table, we were able to tag team on amending legislation. Text messages can be effective. 

Even as I write I'm in line outside the Church & Society Legislative Committee room.  That room is packed out, so a line forms with hope that some observers leave to make room. Interestingly enough there's plenty of room in Discipleship room.   So there's that. 

On Plenary Sessions - 
It took me a couple of days to really appreciate what I was observing. I'm not sitting in a room with elected delegates coming to be open to the Spirit's leading with hope that the outcome will result in a deeper, more faithful witness.  Rather, I'm among entrenched positions of every kind intent solely on protecting their position and interests.  So what you end up with in plenary is a parliamentary wrestling match whose prize is control...who gets to call the shots. 

I guess at some level I knew this. Heck, I've participated in it in much much smaller spheres. To watch it on display is disturbing. Nothing can rob the Spirit an opportunity to transform the body like Robert's Rules of Order.

Logistics -
Those of you who know me know how much this drives me nuts. Yes, even at the General Church level, videos don't work on queue, mics don't come on as they should, and other logistical matters that should have been accounted for...which, strangely, leads me to Rule 44. 

Rule 44 - 
Coming out of the 2012 Tampa General Conference, the GC made a request for an alternate mechanism for the body to confer and discern what to do around very difficult issues. Yes, human sexuality could be one of them, but it was not the only issue through which this process could be employed. The process was formed and defeated. And here's why:
The usual alliance of Good News and the African delegation voted against it. Why talk with someone you see only as a sinner and a not child of sacred worth. And, a number of people who could/would have supported it but could not in its current form who were aware that the infrastructure to make it happen wasn't ready. 

To use a tool without being properly trained in how it works is a recipe for disaster. 

And here's my problem---you had four years to get this ready. You knew we were coming , right?

Finally adjusting to Pacific Time. 
Portland is beautiful. 
Public Transit great. 
Getting my steps in. Yay!
Tripped and fell first day...battered a little. Back, arms and shoulders. Thankful for screen cover for iPhone!
Working mightily to get Sky ready to meet delegates next week. 

That's it for now. 

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