The convention center was ringed with silent protesters this morning. Everyone was polite and silent. The protest related to shifting the church's teaching on sexuality. No actual debate happened during the day on that subject. The reason was a proposal from the Council of Bishops to establish a special commission and process to tease out issues of human sexuality from other business. When that commission is done, its findings and proposals will be brought to a special session of the General Conference, to be held (if their business is finished) prior to 2020.
I offer these thoughts. (1) The conference asked the bishops to provide leadership on this issue. For the conference to ask for leadership one day and literally to reject it the next day would have been, well, odd.
(2) All existing teaching of the church regarding human sexuality and morality remain intact. Over 50 petitions had been advanced seeking to modify the church's teaching; all of them failed in committee, so the outcome of this aspect of the bishop's offer was zero sum, or (to show off Latin) status quo ante bellum (status quo prior to the 'war').
(3) The same delegates for this GC would be at any other special GC held prior to 2020. I playfully suggested to some colleagues that US members should pay their own way to any special GC, since most of the votes for the added event came from them. I doubt there will be more demonstrations, since the GC action has eliminated any further need for debate or decision on this contested issue.
I do repeat an earlier concern, or annoyance. Lots of time flows toward spiritual infomercials for causes that are most worthy but carve huge slabs of time from a schedule that cannot be recovered for business that, if left undone, remains undone. We do that also at our annual conference; lots of wonderful ministry rice-bowls that no one wishes to break or defer to alternative means of visibility.
Thursday is tomorrow; Friday follows; Saturday brings return to Peoria. I can barely wait, but will be fully present until the time of departure is at hand.