The Presiding Bishop spoke this afternoon to the regular triennial Synod of the Province of the Midwest. My profound theological differences with her are no secret. The way she and I would articulate "gospel" and "mission" are not only divergent; they are in different solar systems.
That said, I thought she made some profoundly important and true points in her remarks, and I cannot but add my own enthusiastic Amen. Let me cite (and paraphrase as best I can) the two that made me want to stand up and applaud:
- We have allowed the legislative process to have an undue influence in the way we relate to one another. Every controverted question inevitably (and fairly quickly) becomes a Yes or No vote. This creates winners and losers, and polarizes the church. We need to find ways to be more patient with and forbearing of one another--quicker to listen and slower to act.
- We are suffocating in our own structures. Our very life as a church depends on our willingness to cast off that yoke, setting aside business-as-usual in order to attend to core issues of identity and purpose.
To these observations I would add my own suggestion: That the 2012 General Convention make issues of structure not only the primary issue, but the only issue. Let us elect to those offices that need electing to, and let us pass a straitened minimalist budget. But aside from those two things, we need to put everything else--everything else--in abeyance until we figure out what we need to morph into in order to be a responsibly faithful church in this post-Christian era.