This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations or presbytery I serve.

Friday, July 6, 2012

GA220 + Day Five (Wednesday)

            In the morning, Tara Spundler McCabe resigned as Vice-Moderator.  She said she didn’t want her situation (having apparently performed a same-sex wedding) to become a distraction to the Assembly.  It turns out that she has been receiving a lot of hate mail from conservatives.  The Moderator labeled all this as “pernicious poison,” but accepted her resignation and quickly moved to find a replacement. 
            Some of these details the commissioners didn’t really know about, since a lot of it  happened on the internet, to which we here in the convention center have little or no access.  (More on this later.)  When people finally go to their rooms over the dinner break and could check e-mail and Facebook, they came back with some wishing to have 20 minutes of conversation about how Tara was treated.  The Assembly voted by a single vote not to do this, and proceeded on with its business.  If this action is a barometer measuring the courage of this Assembly we're in for long, frustrating days ahead.
            It was during this discussion that someone expressed being offended by Neal’s habit of having the commissioners display different colored cards to assess the sense of the body without going to the voting machines.  The problem the commissioner had with this practice is that it made her uncomfortable to see other people’s opinions.  I guess she prefers the secret nature of voting by the keypads.  But the downside of keypads (the obvious upside being speed and accuracy) is that commissioners don’t know how anyone is voting.  This anonymity detracts from the honesty of voting in the body.  Prior to keypads, the Assembly voted by voice, a show of hands, or by standing.  This may have been uncomfortable when there was a difference of opinion.  But it meant people had to, sometimes literally, stand on what they believed.  There was no opportunity for hypocrisy.  People had to have direct conversations.
            There are many in our denomination who are offended by such directness.  It makes them feel uncomfortable.  I have little tolerance for this nonsense.  We need to have the courage of our convictions and stand on our views.  This lame desire not to offend is toxic.  It practically forces us to snipe at each other from afar and behind the scenes.  It even encourages dishonesty, as a person can say different things to different people, and actually vote in a still different way.
            If we can’t be honest with each other when we have faith in Jesus Christ in common, how can we pretend to be honest in our encounter with people in the world?  Is this not an element of our infamous reticence to talk about our faith, that it might possible offend someone?
            We are too thin-skinned and we assume others are equally hyper-sensitive.  What if we respected and desired honesty from ourselves and each other?  What if we got rid of all the posturing and pretense, and actually communicated with each other what we feel and where we are coming from?  What if our meetings were more like AA meetings, where honesty is assumed and even demanded?  Maybe we’d have more backbone and respect for each other.

            The committees kept meeting.  It looks like the progressives pretty much ran the table on the hot-button issues.  Divestment and same-sex marriage both passed in committee.

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