On the feast of the Epiphany, as I look at the proposed churchwide budget for the Episcopal Church, a reflection on whether we are offering Jesus Christ to the world in the way the Gospel suggests we ought to.
The field is ripe for harvest. Do we need provinces to send laborers out into the harvest? Are provinces consuming time and energy that delay us from the urgent work of the Jesus Movement?
Continuing a Seven whole days tradition since the Episcopal Church’s 2009 General Convention, we have exclusive, breaking news about the next Blue Book. Before, we alone broke the news of the book’s color. This year, the news is even more exciting.
I do believe Jesus is present in our legislative deliberations. Maybe he’s rolling his eyes sometimes, but plenty of holy stuff happens as we debate important issues and even when we go down parliamentary rabbit holes.
Back in July, an article on evangelism and race was the cover story in Christianity Today (“Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church?”). The author set out to answer a vital question, “Do Christian churches in the United States actually welcome people from different racial and ethnic groups?” Turns out, the Episcopal Church does not have a good record on race and evangelism.
We’re looking at four structure resolutions today. Three resolutions are to restructure executive council, to reduce the number of standing commissions, and to reform our budgeting process. We’ll also look at a resolution on provinces. Time is short, but I’d like to share a few brief thoughts on these resolutions.
Now is the time. If you are a bishop or deputy, pray earnestly. Be bold! Be not afraid! If you are not here at convention, pray for your bishops and deputies. Reach out to them and share with them your hopes for action for the sake of the Gospel.
In any case, after dinner and dessert, I arrived back in my hotel room only to notice sixteen more resolutions now posted online. Zoinks! I’m sure there will still be even a few more coming. Anyway, here are the latest resolutions.
A Facebook friend asked what he should binge-watch next. Knowing that he’s a serious church nerd, I naturally suggested the upcoming General Convention. Did you know that’s an option? Sure, it’s not on Netflix (yet), but you can still binge-watch hours and hours of worship and deliberation from the General Convention.
You know how it’s all crumbs when you get to the bottom of the cereal box? Well, Tangled Up in Blue has reached that point. Now I’m not saying that the resolutions are crummy! Just like those crumbs, which are still delicious (if a bit soggy), these resolutions are as delicious as the others. But these are bits and pieces, odds and ends.
The two most important things we can do to work for peace in the Holy Land are to engage (if possible, by visiting and by making pilgrimage) and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This is actually the most important thing. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This will change our hearts and, I believe, the hearts of people throughout the Holy Land.
We haven’t used memorials in a while, which explains why plenty of bishops and deputies had forgotten that such a thing exists. Gay Jennings has been among those urging the revival of this venerable instrument. Memorials provide a way to shape conversation without resorting to resolutions. At their best, memorials can guide our whole church into new places.