Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Enforced Drama of the Moment

So, I am a delegate to this year's National Convention.  I've been one before, 6 years ago.  From the "conservative" side of things there was a lot going on.  A lot we "needed to get done."  There were elections, there were resolutions (including SMP introduction) that we just had to get fixed, or else the Synod was doomed.

I even got to see the groups that were planning and prepping to... well, not necessarily split in 2010 if things continued to go bad... but yeah, that's basically what was getting put into motion.  It was a very dire time.

And now, here I am, six years later, getting ready for a convention that is different.  Oh, the President is already elected, and he's not liberal (although some blowhards who think that the President is some how going to smack down one or two people and that will "fix" the Synod are drastically disappointed in him... and probably wouldn't be satisfied with anyone).  The 1st VP slate, because of changes to the nomination process, is utterly solid.  5 men I know and respect are there - I could punch my button at random and be happy with the result.  And as for the resolutions, there really aren't any that are... dire.  There are a few that are important - some originazational things, some things to be fixed or tweaked... but there shouldn't be anything earth shattering.

And I was pleased, because through most of the summer, it seemed like we had realized that.  I met with my circuit (and the pastoral delegate for the neighboring circuit) at the beginning of this month, and we all were surprised at how quiet and calm this looked to be.

Of course, in the past week....

Finally I've started to see things that the Synod in Convention just HAS to do.  Things that are dire.  I've gotten blanket e-mails... one telling me that the wording of a resolution that would create a task force to study human sexuality, well, it was reworded and a few references to "the bible" were replaced and instead the aspects of sexuality that were to be discussed were delineated instead.  Apparently this means that the Task Force could suddenly become super liberal and pull and ELCA on us.


First of all, so we think the Synodical President who has gone to capitol hill and is an open and public defender of traditional marriage is going to let a task force run rampant?  Second of all, even if we did get such a dire and liberal task force, would they be meeting and cackling in their dark and depraved corridors of power, ready to unleash godless havoc upon the synod when suddenly one person would say, "But wait!  The resolution said our answers had to be BIBLICAL.  Multiple times!"  And would they then all sigh and throw their craziness to the wind?

Um.  No.

And that's just one of several Conservative... well, let me call them "enforced dramas" that I've seen.  Moments where people have tried to artificially exacerbate an issue to make sure that there is some noble fight to hold down, to make sure that there is some great flag for all the "good" guys to rally around.

And what's funny about this is, well, I come here today remembering 2007.  Now we will pick apart the united list candidates because they aren't "right" on something -- when some of these folks are the same ones we cheered when they somehow got elected in 2007 in the face of all the folly going on.  I remember it being a great success when we got to register and list out by name our no votes to SMP - now we wring our hands because we only have two resolution to choose from to bring further oversight thereunto.

It's a radically different convention set up than 6 years ago. Unfortunately, it seems like too many guys are still trapped, wanting to make it all about fighting for some politically hopeless cause.  Well, except this time, I think we might be engineering some, well, politically foolhardy and unnecessary drama.

Relax.  We are going in a good direction.  As Sasse notes, the Church can be patient.  We can be patient and let people learn and grow, let the Holy Spirit work.  We are not sectarians who must have the great revolution.

We are the sons of Luther and Wittenberg, where it takes 3 years for the mass to be reformed, or longer for it to move to the vernacular.

We are not the sons of Zwingli and Zurich where we must take up arms.  We are not the sons of Hoffman and Muenster where we run after crazy ideas and try to perfect things on earth.

We are not in junior high.  We really don't need to create drama and tension.  We can simply be sons of God and peacemakers.  We don't need to try to position ourselves to be the great heroes who will "save" the Synod - that isn't what is needed.  We need less heroes, and more folks who are simply calm, polite, gracious to the weak and less understanding -- you know, folks who are simply faithful.

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