Wednesday, July 11, 2012

GC Deputies, young AND old: not now and never have been agents of change

OK. We are getting some peculiar cheerleading going on about this Convention.

Here is an excerpt from Scott Pomerank’s piece, entitled, Among the Dying. The title caught my eye because I thought it might give some more perceptive commentary on Convention. But alas, it was full of the usual kind of “all these impassioned people taking stands on all these important global issues,” and ended up with the usual, fairly smarmy comments about how the earnest youth will be the salvation of this decrepit but glorious old institution:

… Several full-fledged deputies are in their 20s, and at least one deputy—who has expressed herself impressively on the floor multiple times—is a college student.  Without exception, every one of these young people has spoken intelligently, articulately and passionately; several of them have spoken prophetically.

So is the Episcopal Church a sinking dinosaur?  Not if the young people here at Convention are any indication.  They, after all, presumably have many General Conventions ahead of them.  Many of you have heard me lament that calling youth "the future of the church" can deprive them of the right to be the present of the church.  Here in Indianapolis, the youth are seizing that right.  I trust them to help guide the church into the future.

Many General Conventions ahead of them? Oh, my God. Are you insane? Having BEEN one of those “youth who will change the future of the church” many years ago (in the go-go 1970s, when the Episcopal Church completely dismantled its entire New York office and gave the money to community organizations – I certainly don’t hear any talk of “revisiting” General Convention Special Program as a model of decentralization), and having spent decades promoting more of those many youth who will change the future of the church, let me tell you, little has changed. Plenty of those former youth are doing terrific things – they may even be going to church! They may even pledge! – but it is less and less likely that the terrific things they are doing are represented at General Convention. If the deputies who are in the 20s are still going to General Convention many years hence, then God bless them, but they are not agents of change.

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