Wait. I'm Voting For What?

Every four years, General Conference convenes, reminding us that The United Methodist Church is more than the building with a cross & flame in our neighborhood. We are a diverse, global Church not just in our cultures but in our opinions.

I confess that when it comes to General Conference, I wish that I didn't live in the internet age of instant information. I prefer to read articles at the end of the day about what has transpired. Constant updates from Twitter and Facebook, information about legislation mixed with those diverse opinions, tend to frustrate me. However, I felt it my responsibility as a modern-day United Methodist pastor to tune in to the live stream of the conference that's available here.

Even as I write this blog, the live stream is playing on my computer. As I listen to the variety of voices, I am intrigued, but I also find myself confused. Motions. Amendments. For. Against. Vote Yes. Vote No. Out of order. After listening to a few speeches, I stopped and asked myself, "Wait. What exactly are they voting about?" I listened more carefully. I got more confused. As the twitter feed lit up with comments and conversation, I wondered if I were the only one who felt "lost in the dark" on the debated issue. No sooner did the thought enter my mind, a young man stepped to the microphone and asked the same question that I'd had, albeit in more eloquent language: "what are we voting for?" Someone answered this question of clarification, and I finally understood what was going on.

Order is necessary for the Church to live fully as the Church. In ! Corinthians 14:40, Paul calls church leaders to conduct everything "decently and in order," (New King James Version) even though we live in a disorderly world. Despite all of the orderly rules of General Conference, confusion often overshadows peace. What can we do as the Church to bring peace to the forefront? There are no simple answers or one-sentence solutions. Perhaps another way to read Paul is to ask, "How can we make this issue or situation as simple as possible? How might we describe what is happening in the simplest terms we can find?" This approach will not decrease an issue's complexity, but it will help us to find peace in the confusion. Let us be in prayer for all who seek to order the life of the Church, both globally and locally. Let us invite God to remind us of what matters most: his glory, and not our own.

grace, peace, love, and ORDER to each of you,
Pastor Darian