Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Culture of Legislation really points to the Realm of God

We had our full first day "legislative sessions" yesterday--that's then the House of Deputies and House of Bishops both get down to work.

There is a certain, wonderful richness in the House of Deputies between the ultra-formal language of business, such as "As many are in favor of the motion, say 'Aye'" and the subtle, deadpan humor woven throughout. For example, a deputy went to a microphone to point out a conflict in times in the proposed schedule. Bonnie Anderson, President of the HOD, turn to the chair of the "Dispatch" committee which determines such things and asked for him "to respond to the deputy's question." He said simply, "Oops." There was another moment when the President was consulting with the "parliamentarian"--the person who advises on the rules of order and suchlike--and after a little pause, she announce, "The Chair is thinking."

These moments of good humor among the sometimes dry-as-dust procedure and perfunctory business that make sitting on the floor of the Convention such a privilege to serve the Diocese of Ohio in this way.

I am sitting on the legislative committee number 19, Communications. It's a great group. We have quickly bonded, I believe, into a fun, committed, open, and cooperative community. Our unspoken goal is to turn whatever legislation we consider into a resolution that can pass, but especially that will be genuinely helpful to the Church. I am coming to love our role: To take the offerings of the Church--the goals, the values, the intentions, the loves, and the dreams roughed into the language of the proposed resolution--and then to reach into it, and shape it into a "perfected" piece of legislation that will have the best chance to accomplish its intent. It's a little like when a scupltor "reaches" into the clay or the block of stone, and pulls forth the sculpture within it.

Serving the Diocese as a Deputy is a vocation, like any other calling. I feel at home here in this particular culture in the Episcopal Church, and yet, I am conscious of holding in tension this abstract part of our common life with the concrete, urban ministry I am part of the rest of the time. The two really are connected. I will write more about those connections as we go.

Thanks for reading!

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