What a surprise to see the post just prior to this one. I had forgotten I'd added Lauren as an author on this blog. And she knows I wouldn't say anything about my back. When it's worn out from so much sitting I'm in danger of aggravating a damaged back muscle. When I got the dogs home I reached over awkwardly to pick up the puppy and the muscles locked up on me. When that happens I take my "knock out" meds and go to bed for a day or two. This evening the pain has subsided and I am nearly at the point of standing up straight again. So thank you Lauren and great friends who lifted me in prayer.
The ending of GC was no surprise, running up to the last possible minute with a determination to deal with every petition. That's what we did, but exactly what we did I don't know yet. A lot of petitions get approved on the consent calendar, so it will all come to light as we look back on it. I know I've been surprised to read some of the reports on the GC site reporting what was passed. But I'm not all against the consent calendar process. If 90% of a legislative committee (usually 70-100 people) agree on a petition, then it is extremely probable the whole plenary will go that way with it.
I do know that like everyone else I was frustrated with our legislative process. We talked a lot about "Holy Conferencing," but in the time precious process there is little time for talking together or more importantly, for listening to one another. When the rules end up being one speech for and one against, limited to one minute each, you're just pitting sound bite against sound bite. If we just depend on the sound bites, we're not much more than a presidential election (!)
Now for some positive. You can't help but be impressed with the greatness of God's grace working through our church as you participate in a general conference. With the amazing variety of backgrounds and perspectives we have, it's no wonder that when we pull it all together we are a church of the middle ground (the "via media," or the "extreme center").
I also come back grateful for several new friends. "Surviving" a general conference is a bonding experience. On the way home my girls said, "There's no way you can explain what we just experienced to people who've never been to one." (I've heard that said about the Walk to Emmaus week-end, but didn't think to apply it to GC.) Still, while I didn't always agreed with the new friends, I was grateful for their faith, their commitment to serve the church, and the opportunity to work with them. And finally, all that said, it is good to be back home.