Tuesday, July 3, 2012

GC77: Open-handedness

I'm in Indianapolis as of approximately 12:20AM. Our flight out of Denver was delayed due to thunderstorms. It was exciting to see rain and wet runways at Denver International Airport. Over the last several days friends have shared stories of evacuation and friends and relatives who have lost homes to the fires in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.

My two older grandsons, ages 11 and 13, came over yesterday unexpectedly. After a pizza dinner, my husband and brother held a movie marathon with the boys, allowing me to finalize my loose ends so that I could leave with most of my brain cells and necessary items in my luggage. I do wish I had remembered to bring my charging cable for my iPad keyboard and the extra iPad/iPhone charger, but neither is a biggie.

One of the things I'm observing in these last days leading up to General Convention is how so many of the conversations on social media and in the blogosphere appear to be good people who share a lot theologically, talking at cross purposes. The disconnects seem to stem from being entrenched in a particular semantics that doesn't allow any room for another way of talking about essentially the same thing. 

You can argue precision in speech all you want, and I'm pretty rigorous about being precise myself. However, I wonder if these same people would be quite so fixed in their positions if they were having these same conversations in person. For the people who will be here in person, I'm hoping that they will take the time to engage conversation with different people about the substantive issues, including the resolutions that espouse particular points of view.

I'm focused on contributing to the advancement of the work and the relationships of the church in an open-handed, open-hearted fashion. Open-hearted speaks for itself. Open-handed is about being generous with offering invitation, permission, and opportunity to advance someone else's point of view. Open-handed is about the generosity that holds space open for wide participation and out-of-the-box contributions of ideas and energy. Open-handed means that sometimes, you step back a step in order to open the space for others to come in.

So, in the spirit of open-handedness, I have signed on as an endorser to a resolution (now posted as D035 on the General Convention Web site) proposed by the Rev. Susan Brown Snook of Arizona that the General Convention adopt the budget proposed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. 

Others, from Susan at her blog A Good and Joyful Thing to the Crusty Old Dean site of the Rev. Tom Ferguson of Bexley Hall to my Executive Council colleague Katie Sherrod at her blog Desert's Child, have written at length with critiques and suggestions about the budget and budget process. I started more than once to write about the budget and budget process and decided that with more than enough opinion in the blogosphere, my voice wouldn't add anything to the conversation. Susan, Tom, Katie, and others have done excellent jobs of parsing the budget and budget process, and they have added value to the conversation and some substantive content for consideration.

Executive Council always intended that the budget be shaped around the Five Marks of Mission, and we were very disappointed that the Finance staff was unable to assist us in making that happen before time ran out. The budget proposal presented by the Presiding Bishop has merit even if it's not everything we want, and it is the best starting place for the Joint Standing Commission on Program, Budget and Finance to begin their deliberations at General Convention. The draft proposed budget adopted by Council is simply too flawed to provide a good starting place.

So, it's almost 2:30AM Denver time, but 4:30AM Indiana time, and I guess I should try to sleep for a few hours before getting up to attend a lunch meeting and an orientation for legislative chairs and aides. Goodnight, or good morning, as the case may be!

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