I have been reporting about convention reports for a while now because I think there is a lesson to be learned about politics and religion and vice versa. We want to separate the two we say, and I am trying to make the point that there is no way to separate the two. Once two of three human beings get together there is going to be political maneuvers. The idea is to get to a point where political stuff is tamed for the use of the Gospel. Politcal arguemnts not tamed by the Gospel are corrosive to mission and mercy.
The convention report that I have been talking about, in the words of the author who is a District President, is a bit unfocused and a “work in progress” so it is a bit difficult to figure out what he is complaining about. As I have said before in these pages, most people do not know what they want and won’t be happy until they get it. If we wait for him to focus I am sure he will have a whole bunch more to be frustrated about. But until then we have a start.
So this unfocused report starts out with a political observation and the usual complaint from losers about the election for President, and the way it was held. In the secular election remember, we always have that complaint that so and so won the “popular” election but lost the electoral college. People bemoan the fact that the electoral college exists, but if one steps back and realizes that the difference in most of our national elections is the number of voters in three counties around Los Angeles, those of us in flyover country rejoice in the electoral college. The elites in the “salt water” demographics hate it. More on this “salt water” phenomenon in a due time. The writer claims that “President Harrison was re-elected with 51.8% of the vote. A mere 200 or so votes separated him from the other two candidates who represented the “other side” in the election”. Now in a sane discussion of something like this, one would think that there would be notice taken of the fact that getting over half the votes in an election with three parties is a pretty remarkable feat. Getting a “mere” 200 votes more than the other two is actually kind of stunning from a political standpoint. The writer then goes on to talk about voting blocks within the church that, from his tone, we would assume that he eschews (that means avoids for you folks in non salt water areas). “Voting blocks bad” is the tone of this part of the discussion. One has to go back in this unfocused report and remember that the reporter has just finished praising his delegates who, in his words, represented “us” in the convention. “Us” is his district, which judging from their behavior during the convention voted as a bloc. If the District President would report on the number of folks from his delegation that voted against what he wanted we would have more information, but my guess is that he came with a bloc of like minded folks and left with the same. So voting bloc – bad unless it is a salt water voting bloc- in that case good. My premise is confirmed with this astonishing bit of stupidity. The reporter is thankful for a delegation that represented what his district wanted and then says, about a larger disproportion of votes on issues that “delegates present may not have been representative of the overall perspective of the people in the Synod. It’s been my experience that those who seek to attend a convention are frequently invested in a point of view they are trying to promote”. So his delegation came to represent his district for which he gives thanks. They were invested in a point of view they were trying to promote and that is a good thing. There are others there who came to promote a point of view that they are invested in and that is bad. So next time we have a convention let us make sure that delegates are sent who have no interest in much that is happening there, have no point of view they wish to promote, and will vote the opposite of whatever they would promote if they could.
Getting folks to a convention they have no interest in, to vote on things they have no deep concern about, means that for those who want things their way there will have to be some pretty persuasive and eloquent debates. Folks will have to make their case on whatever topic in a winsome and focused way. That sounds great but I don’t think I will hold my breath.
Coming soon – The Salt Water areas – remember the tides change four times a day.