Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GC12 day two: the tedious work of transformation

As I write this, I am currently sitting in the plenary of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. On this second day of General Conference, the plenary has yet to set the rules of the conference as the body is still debating and amending them. Since I have arrived in Tampa, I have been constantly reminded of why we are the people called Methodist— we have a method for everything. Now, I have to admit that with every hour the General Conference debates the rules (thus falling behind in the work it will do by these rules), it seems more and more like our method has become our madness. But I want to argue that this is is not the case. In fact, I think these legislative shenanigans actually reflect of one of the gifts of The United Methodist Church:

We are a people who take seriously the implications of how we do all that we do.

Taking two days to set the rules and organization of the General Conference might seem ridiculous, but these rules will give shape to this legislative community for the next two weeks, which will in turn give shape to the global community of The United Methodist Church for the next quadrennium. This is a tedious task, but I think it is an important one. So, is the General Conference falling behind in its schedule? Absolutely. But a better question would be: is the General Conference wasting its time? I would argue that it is not— the organization of the top legislative body of The United Methodist Church is indicative of its identity and theological commitments. I am proud to call myself a member of this church that takes seriously the process—the rules—the tedious work of transformation. And because there is a method behind our madness, the conversation continues…

am plenary 4.25 good

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