It’s been a long time since I was left as empty and disappointed as I was at 6:30 pm, Tueseday, February 27, 2019. Or, at least that’s the way I felt immediately following the close of our UMC special called General Conference 2019 (GC2019). A friend described it pretty well saying the monster trucks that were scheduled to start rolling into the venue as our leaders rolled out showed up a little early and rolled over all of us. A little dramatic perhaps, but from what I’ve seen expressed so far, I’m not alone in feeling stomped on…and strangely enough that from both sides of the aisle.
It got me to thinking about my own predictions that nothing productive might well be the result of our Christian conferencing in St. Louis, and how that might just be the opening (small though it may be) the Holy Spirit would be trying to provide for us to do something new. And while some (perhaps many) will think I’m nuts for saying this, that’s exactly what I believe effectively happened. I don’t think when all is said and done anything substantial will have been the result of GC2019 (I could be wrong), but if that turns out to be the case maybe all the tears and celebrations are best put on hold in favor of taking a closer look at a possible moment of opportunity.
Think about this: had either side been able to declare outright victory, the hurtful and hateful rhetoric to follow would surely have been insurmountable and precipitous to immediate preparations for one side or the other to start their own “New expression of Methodism” (Some may be doing that already anyway). All you have to do is look at the vitriolic messages being slung from some on both sides over the last few days to know that would have been the case. As it stands right now, the tears being shed, real and flowing for many, are dampened a bit and the celebrations somewhat muted by the very real possibility that what passed may well be declared so full of constitutional violations that even if it stands, the practical effect will basically be to affirm the status quo. If that’s true, might it be possible that the Holy Spirit truly is guiding our denomination and nudging us towards doing something really new…like, I don’t know, listening to one another…maybe?
Who knows? I’m just another minion as baffled by it all as anyone else, and at the end of the day I’m still going to be preparing to worship and do ministry with my brothers and sisters in Christ no matter who they are or what their particular sin and imperfections might be. Lord knows I’ve got plenty of perfecting to do in my own life and no time to waste dwelling over spilt milk. I’m also going to be listening. I hope others will too.
Peace and blessing in Christ who is in control of it all.