Jun 26, 2015

General Convention Tips & Observations

I'm here at the Episcopal Church's triennial (fancy and vaguely pompous way of saying once every three years) General Convention in Salt Lake City.

I'm just around for a few days to do some PR for Lent Madness (as evidenced by the picture with Forward Movement Executive Director Scott Gunn and 2015 Golden Halo winner St. Francis), sign a few books, see some friends, and generally enjoy the stifling heat in a city not exactly known for its abundance of Episcopalians.

The big excitement around here is Saturday's election of the next Presiding Bishop. Yesterday I rewrote Palestrina's Advent Responsory as "I Tweet from Afar" as a nod to this forthcoming revelation. Of course, as a simple country parson, I'm leaving Saturday morning to make it back for Sunday so I'll just have to read about the results via Twitter.

Nonetheless, I can't leave the Salt Palace and this whole scene without offering a few Tips & Observations....

1. When speaking with a bishop, remember not to refer to the House of Bishops as the House of Lords. They get touchy about such things.

2. The Blue Book, that collection of reports and proposed legislation, is neither blue nor a book. All the information is, however, loaded onto iPads for people who don't know how to use iPads.

3. The legislative body made up of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies is bi-cameral, not bi-sexual. This makes a difference.

4. In a similar vein, the debate over whether to go to a bicameral or unicameral legislative body has nothing to do with one or two-humped camels.

5. Barney Fife is not the prototype convention Deputy. Neither is Enos from the Dukes of Hazard. And please don't commit the ultimate Convention faux pas and refer to a Deputy as a Delegate.

6. By holding General Convention in Salt Lake City at the "Salt Palace," the Episcopal Church is sending the message that they don't care one whit about your sodium intake. (It's important to go into this process with that sort of chip on your shoulder).

7. There's a fine line between a bishop's crozier and a selfie stick.

8. Convention Deputies, like servers at TGIFridays, like to wear lots of "flair" in the form of buttons, ribbons, etc. Okay, the minimum wage workers at chain restaurants are forced to wear their flair. But still.

9. While there are a lot of booths in the exhibit hall, none of them seem to be reserved for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. (Yes, that was a Transfiguration reference).

10. Every time a selfie is taken with a bishop, an angel dies.

I have to say I admire all those who are here for the duration and have the stamina for 10 days of legislative maneuverings and minutia. It takes a tremendous amount of love for the Church to do this. My prayer is that Jesus doesn't get muted in the process and that the Church comes out stronger, more faithful, and better positioned to meet the opportunities and challenges we face.


caralulu said...

Well thought and expressed!

Any chance you could see Steven Charleston? He's another profound and helpful digital presence. He's inhabiting a booth along with his books in between bishoping obligations. This morning's view from that booth was enlightening.

Thanks again for your presence!

Solange De Santis said...

Great to see you, Tim. Wonder if the other half of the SEC, the archnemesis and World's Tallest Priest is still haunting Mormon land? I actually walked several blocks outside and I think I'm nicely roasted now.