Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Spirit

This blog exemplifies to me one aspect of the spirit I feel here at General Conference. It also shows one example of the difficult decisions that are being made here. I encourage you to read it, then return here for my notes.

Yes, there are politics. Yes, there is arguing. Yes, there are still those so caught up in themselves that they can't see the other person, only the opposition. Yes, there are those manipulating the system, as I've even talked about here. But there is an overwhelming sweet, sweet spirit in this place, and I know it is the spirit of the Lord.

What I have witnessed is a focus on Holy Conferencing. People are listening to one another. People are open, people are searching, and people are leaving their own plans at home and coming to this with a spirit of love.

I heard about a delegate yesterday who said something like, I came with one vote in mind, thinking I had made up my mind on a situation. But when I heard the speeches of others in the room, I realized a new point of view and changed my vote.

My God, we're finally getting it! (Okay, maybe some have had it). If we could make up our minds before coming, and continued to think the way we had when we arrived, then we could hold General Conference by mail.

People are making the tough decisions, as the blog I linked to shows. And we're listening to one another.

In Ministry and Higher Ed yesterday, they voted on a petition regarding clergy's ability to officiate a same-sex union. The vote was very close, like 34-47 against, or something like that. But the discussion was honorable. People spoke strongly for, and strongly against, but there was no mud-throwing or disrespect to anyone in the room. Though the vote didn't go the way I wanted it to go, I was proud of the people in the room who honored one another. After the vote, the chair even pointed out how well the conversation went, and how she was thankful for the honoring of the humanity represented in the room.

We've only just begun. Today is really the first day that legislation will come to the floor of the entire body from the committees. I hope that this body will continue to have a spirit of holiness and faith as they move through the rest of this week, dealing with the tougher issues and working on less and less sleep.

Thank you to all who are praying for the General Conference delegates. I feel so immensely blessed to just be able to witness this. It is a beautiful thing.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the positives of General Conference. Your post was hopeful! I'm in prayer for you and the entire delegation.

Gregg said...

It is NOT just "politics." It is about saving lives and not having a church that denigrates the personhood of another human being. I am glad the discussions have been civil, but as long as the "Methodist Middle" is fearful of conflict and divisiveness, we will never acknowledge our differences and move toward healing. Those of us working for full inclusion of LGBT folks are not doing this merely to "rock the boat." It is way more important than that!