One of the strongest impressions that I have as I watch the proceedings of our UMC General Conference via streaming video, as well as twitter, a variety of blogs and Facebook is that we are rushing through things waaaayyy too fast down in Tampa.
An eleven day meeting once every four years is not enough to guide and thoughtfully direct and speak for this institution that is the United Methodist Church.
Given the global nature of the church, the wide variety of cultures and contexts that we represent, and the implications of the legislation that is being voted on, we desperately need to have more time in Holy Conversation with one another. When we rush through things we don't have the time to build a consensus, let alone relationships - and so folks get suspicious and trust levels plummet. This was painfully obvious during Wednesday morning's conversations around Plan UMC and this morning's conversation around the LGBTQ issue.
The same thing happens in the local church, when some group seems to be ram-rodding a change through, or circumnavigating the power structures that are in place. I get this. I just think that the church, and the institutional Church in particular, can and should be better than this.
On the other hand, I can't believe that we are going to wait FOUR MORE YEARS before we can visit (or revisit) any of the ideas and proposals that are floating out there since GC started...I really think this four year waiting game and the build up to GC leads to a lot of heightened anxiety - and to top it all off, its happening during an election year, when we are already in the political pot-stirring soup.
I wish we'd get on a different cycle, maybe meet a little more frequently, and give ourselves some breathing room when we do gather together.
Then again, I am just an observer - watching via electronic media over 1300 miles away. What do I know?