Update – Jeremy Smith has failed to read this post, any of the conversations on Facebook, or to interact with me about it. Rather, he has placed us in the same boat as rapists, finding no issue with use race and rape (something he knows nothing about) to make political points. Jeremy should be ashamed of himself.
Dr. David Watson has suggested we close, even in part, the General Conference. I like this idea, not in the least because of the hijacking both the left and the right attempt to do. Years ago, groups on the right threatened to disrupt. Currently groups on the left make mad dashes to the floor during the Eucharist among other actions.
General Conference should be like this:
Not like this,
In respect to Paragraph 722, where openness is commended, but not always required at General Conference, we should have closed sessions (not the entire meeting) to allow for discussion of the pressing issues. Remember, GC is the only official voice of the UMC. It is here rather than AC’s that the best and worst displays of holy conferencing takes place. As one who believes in government transparency, I only say this with timidness of spirit.
So, how do we do it?
1.) The body of delegates could vote to close the session.
2.) The presiding officer could order it, even if they have to announce it first.
Personally, option 1 is best because it contains an air of democracy in it. We close it not for financial issues, but for polity. We close it so that delegates can speak honestly without the glare of cameras and the threats of caucus groups. I suspect the delegates would then become suddenly more moderate (not all). Moderate, if you’ve been following along at home, is not a bad thing and may advance us to a better position.
If we are going to get past this impasse, we will need time for holy (i.e., separating) conferencing where we listen to each other without the hectic voices demanding we listen to them. If we believe in the Spirit and its guidance of the United Methodist Church, then it is safe to believe the delegates to the General Conference are likewise chosen by the Spirit. Following this, we must assume that if we are able to participate in holy conferencing, we may find the Spirit’s voice. Neither side has faith in this (process).
Think of it this way. When Jesus commanded us to pray, how did he say go and do it? We are to do it privately. We do not need to do it for show. These caucus groups are for show. Let us leave them and commune with our God as many have done before us.