A more humane start to the day today–8am legislative sessions. There was no actual legislating done; just organizational formalities. In the HOB, this included a roll call of all living bishops, present or not. There is one still alive who was consecrated in 1951, the year of my birth. Another tradition is for each House to send a delegation to the other informing them that they are organized are ready to do business. The HOD sent us a team of about ten Deputies–all of whom were born in the 1990s. I have rarely felt so old!
I’m not embarrassed to admit that, with the exception of Sunday, it has become my General Convention habit to avoid the daily celebration of the Eucharist. I’m simply healthier–physically, spiritually, and emotionally for doing so. I judge not one for either emulating or not emulating me for this. It’s less than ideal, but I believe it’s the best decision for me.
At 11:15, it was back to committee work. As always, you can find a fuller account of the day’s legislative activity, from my perspective, at my other blog.
I had a working lunch of pulled pork tacos at the exhibit hall food court with a friend who is not a Deputy but is attending General Convention in an ancillary capacity and, for my purposes, is very smart. He helped me craft language for an amendment to a resolution that I intend to propose when it comes up in the queue of Committee 11.
From 2;15 until 4:00, it was back to the committee room. Again, follow the link in the second paragraph above this one for a fuller account.
Between 4:30 and 6:30 we were back in our respective legislative Houses. As has been customary, the HOB took an hour in executive session, about which I am not allowed to say anything specific, but the bulk of it was spent in table discussions just about how we’re doing with the whole General Convention thing, and especially the Presiding Bishop election process.
At one point after coming out of executive session, we were introduced to the General Convention Official Youth Presence, a group of about a dozen or so 16-20 year olds, two of whom addressed us for about five minutes. This engendered one of those relatively rare moments when, upon further reflection, I would not choose to do what I actually did do, which was tweet out, “I’ve never been very impressed with the Official Youth Presence. How do they get chosen?” So, for the rest of the evening, I was ground zero for a Twitter storm, which was a completely new experience for me, and not one I would care to repeat.
It is painfully obvious that whatever point I wished to make in the tweet was not even remotely worth the price of so much misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I wish I hadn’t done it, but I did. And it would waste the pain that has already been experienced if I didn’t elaborate just a bit on what I was thinking in the first place. What we heard from the two young people who addressed us was, by my lights, annoyingly issue-oriented, a litany of tired cliches checking the obligatory boxes of progressive orthodoxy. I am weary of the church I serve being reduced to such litmus tests, its vitality judged by the progress made toward a list of popular objectives. I have rather higher hopes for the youth of our church. I would like to think that those chosen to fill such a role would give evidence of a grasp of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives and in the world, some testimony of their growth in the path of discipleship and holiness of life. And while I would expect to see confidence and enthusiasm in their demeanor, I would also rejoice to see a sign of humility, of wonder and openness to truths they may yet have not discovered. Perhaps I would see what I’m looking for if I were to engage in an extended conversation with the two who spoke, or with any of their silent colleagues. My ill-considered tweet was testimony to my disappointment that I didn’t see it in that moment.
While the storm was erupting on Twitter, I managed to enjoy dinner with most of the Springfield deputation at P.F. Chang’s. It was marginally OK.