The General Synod of our denomination is a fiery and feisty family reunion on steroids without the fried chicken. We skip the picnic in order to briefly study, hotly debate and hastily vote on the most controversial ethical issues of the day, all while reenacting deep seeded generational family drama during public worship on a giant stage, at enormous expense, which is why we are only allowed to do it every other year. In fact, this July, the Synod voted (early, often and on malfunctioning voting machines) to extend the time between national gatherings to three years. The main argument was cost, but I would lift up exhaustion. And yet, I can’t wait to attend the next one.
The schedule runs from 6:30 AM until 9:30 PM, in a huge convention center chosen for its ability to guarantee the worst possible weather (sweltering heat, unbreathable air and thunderstorm bursts are all encouraged to apply) over the July 4 holiday weekend when most people would not want to attend a church convention, which serves as the final purity test of the spiritual worthiness of the quirky and committed delegates who say “Here I am, Lord, send me!” These 700 delegates get to sit in a security-patrolled area in the middle of the arena, all roped inside, while thousands of synod visitors and staff get to run around free and unsupervised outside the pen, observing the behavior and appearance of the delegates like livestock at a 4 H convention. “Look, that bull over at microphone #1. He is snorting and getting testy!” says one visitor to another. “But those hogs have been sleeping straight through plenary, probably dehydrated and malnourished, judging by all the candy wrappers.”
Just to be clear, these examples did not come from the Michigan Conference, where our table consisted of sparkly rainbow unicorns who took detailed notes, pranced to their potty breaks in a timely manner and never missed a vote. Anonymous sources report that the Michigan Conference’s daily table decorations, (featuring our lakes, local flowers, Vernor’s ginger ale and cat toys), our late night Synod Socials and our 6:30 AM caucuses attended by Santa Clause caused a breakout of the sin of envy throughout the entire denomination. Read More