August 01, 2005

26 Minutes (Out of 5 Days)

What was it like on the assembly floor, you ask? ...especially in regards to the resolution on the dividing wall being built in Israel? Well, we had 24 minutes of debate (I guess it was actually 26), during which people from both sides of the issue presented their case. Some of the speakers were emotional, and, in my opinion, many made worthwhile contributions to the discussion. I found myself agreeing with many of the points made by speakers both pro and con, and I think that many others did as well. The issue of the wall is very complicated, and I got a sense that we as an assembly understood that. This is an issue that certainly needs more than 26 minutes of discussion, but, under the constraints of the assembly, 26 was all we had. In the end, the assembly voted in favor of the resolution, which urges the dismantling of the wall.

However, that's not the end of the story. After the debate on this and several of the other somewhat controversial resolutions, we prayed. And then later, we shared together in the Lord's Supper. At the 2005 General Assembly in Portland, we really did stand united in our common confession of Jesus, even though we didn't agree on all the issues debated.

I guess what I'm saying is that, even though we understood the importance of the issues we were discussing, our debates never really got so heated that we weren't able to carry on as one body. I know that sounds boring, and that the lack of fireworks makes for fairly boring blog reading, but what did you expect? My Dad, who was attending his first General Assembly, but who has been to many conventions for his union, was surprised by some of our methods. At one point, when a vote was close, and the ushers were asked to make a head count, my Dad commented that when his union convenes and has a similar situation, the doors are locked and ushers are posted at the entrances to make sure no one comes in or out while the vote is being taken. At General Assembly, though, even though we do issue voting credentials and take some measures to ensure that voting is done in a proper fashion, we usually don't worry about that sort of thing.

These are, for what they're worth, my experiences and reflections on General Assembly. When DisciplesWorld linked to my blog, they did not ask me to editorialize or give my opinion of the specific issues brought up at the assembly, but to instead allow Disciples and others to be able to experience the whole Assembly experience through the eyes of some of us who were there. For me, the debates over specific resolutions did not define the Assembly. What defined it for me was the worship and the unity we as a church have in carrying out our mission. I know that's not exciting enough or filled with enough fireworks, but for me, it made for a very meaningful and inspirational five days in Portland.

1 comment:

PPB said...

sounds like a worthwhile week.