The Storm before the Storm
It’s been the storm before the storm for United Methodists these past 10 days leading up to General Conference on May 10th. Multiple blogs ramping up the hysteria before General Conference. A same-gender wedding officiated by a Bishop and a North Carolina pastor. 15 New York clergy and candidates came out as LGBTQ. We celebrated 60 years of full clergy rights for women. A UM laity wrote a compelling letter to the North Carolina Bishop.
But for 10 days on this blog, and on social media, it’s been pretty quiet. And my readers deserve an answer as to why a blog that focuses on United Methodist issues has been quiet while everyone else is ratcheting things up.
Three reasons why things have been quiet around the blog and social media front:
- I’ve been lending my penchant for writing and United Methodist advocacy towards spending lots of last week one-on-one with delegates. This is my third General Conference to cover with this blog, and my fourth to attend in an advocacy role, so I’ve got some mileage behind me to better explain issues, and I’ve gotten many random emails and contacts in the past month asking for information or perspective, which I’m happy to share so that delegates have more body of knowledge to draw on as they discern for their votes.
- My time for writing blogs has been replaced with pre-writing a lot for General Conference. I always like my blog posts to be substantive and responsive, not reactive, so I’ve been doing the pre-work to make that possible.
- Not less impactful is that I’ve been sick with an upper respiratory infection that is gone but I’m still not at the level of energy and clear-headedness that I need to be. I usually push myself to get through things and THEN get sick after a big event, but this time it was the other way around. Thankfully, I’ll be back to 100% by GC opening bell, Spirit-willing.
What to look for
First, general reporting, mostly covering these areas:
- Changes in LGBTQ inclusion or exclusion
- Divestment from fossil fuels and companies benefitting from the occupation of Palestine
- Changes in overall church structure (see different tiers here).
- Doubtful, but coverage of schism/amicable separation discussions.
- Coverage of a “clean water” event focused on Flint, Michigan, on Monday the 16th at 12:30ish Pacific
- Efforts to make the UMC become more doctrinal or “by the book”
Second, informed commentary, mostly covering these areas:
- LGBTQ Equality, either in connectional (across the board) or congregational (each conference/church/pastor chooses) form.
- Global/National structural changes to either make the UMC a less colonial institution or to keep it as one.
- A budget as a moral document, including money given to the areas that make disciples, and divestment from fossil fuels and companies benefitting from the occupation of Palestine.
- Schism’s opening volley (repeal of Trust Clause), and legislating to allow churches to leave the denomination and take their property (bought for by the generations of Methodism, in most places) with them.
- Whether the denomination will complete its idolization of the local church or whether it will continue to see kingdom work is about the whole connection, not just the local church.
So a lot coming down the pipe–you can see why I needed a calm amidst the storm to prepare!
We’ll be back to a mixture of general interest, geek gospel, and United Methodism in the near future. So feel free to return after all this is done.
Blessings and see you online!