Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Annual Conference Day 2

Okay, so I'm a day behind.

Yesterday afternoon was the Constitutional Amendments. It was very interesting to see the conversation. The majority of people who spoke on the first amendment was pro. I know there are a lot of forward thinking people in our conference who aren't "afraid" of what this amendment could mean. And that's the bottom line of what's been going on - those "in the know" who are against this amendment have been using a fear tactic to scare those who aren't really up on the latest news to fear what this could mean. We're scaring people into doing what we want them to do instead of educating them and trusting them to make their own decision. I was so happy to see so many people taking a stand against that fear-tactic and standing up for inclusion.

One pastor brought the example that a 6 year old told him he wanted to join the church, and he said that if this passes, then he would have had to offer membership to this child, instead of telling the child she was too young and needed to wait until she was older. My thought? Umm... what's the problem with a 6 year old becoming a member? We hold this thing called "membership" so close, like an exclusive club, that only those we deem ready are allowed. You have to go through confirmation. You have to go through this class. You're not ready. You have to meet with the pastor. What's the problem with them doing that after they join? You can join! Now! Yes! Come! Our doors are open, not only for you to come and worship, but for you to BELONG! No wonder church feels like a country club...

I really wanted to applaud when one pastor spoke out against this element of fear by saying that we need to stop being afraid of what might happen if we accept everyone, and look at what IS happening - 2/3 of our members aren't keeping their vows as it is. What are we afraid of? More people who don't support the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness? Or are we afraid that we might have to actual mean what we say: Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors?

We still don't know the result of our voting, and I'm surprised we haven't heard it yet. We may have to ask for it. I've been keeping an eye on amendment tracker as the rest of the conferences weigh in. It looks like General Conference is quite representative: we're split down the middle. Now, if we can just admit that, it'll be a step in the right direction.

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