My pardon for any wording mistakes, I am VERY tiered after 15 hours of listening to people talk!
The Prayer Breakfast was another highlight of a week of highlights so far. It was a challenging speech for many of those in attendance. Though for early in the morning it was clear and beautiful in its call for different churches and groups to stop hating each other. She pointed out that we are in a time where people who go to church make that choice not for business or social promotion, but because they are looking to experience God. This means that we need to be bold and unafraid in our pursuits in faith.
The morning on the committee on the Middle East was a time of listening, 40 overture advocates, and 2 denominational presentations. It was amazing at both the passion and the lack of any new information. The hard part is trying to listen through the passions of particular individuals and listen for the ways to make Peace. The thing that makes this harder is that we disagree on how that looks. I have learned in ministry that sometimes the closer you are to each other the more people can get entrenched in their positions.
Everything to do with the Middle East is difficult. Seeking the best decisions and discerning God’s call for us is hard. The good of the afternoon is that the committee was able to overwhelmingly support a “Resolution on Equal Rights for All Inhabitants of Israel and Palestine and on Conversations with Prophetic Voices” Something that was almost unanimous only 4 against and one abstention. Also an overture “On Affirming Occupation-Free Investment in Palestine.” It goes to show that we are unified on our belief that the actions of Israel are bad, yet we are committed to peace and working with both Israel and Palestine.
That agreement down, we began the difficult part of this process, the BDS discussion. This is something, which we have been engaged in from late afternoon until we broke for dinner and picked up all evening. I am convinced that Roberts Rules are not helpful in the case when you have a room full of people who are genuinely wanting to do what is right and the process seems to get in the way. I know there is a point but it still seems that we could take everything, cut paste and reduce to one or two with out the confusion of process. Which we spent a good amount of time in process.
The thing about GA, regardless of how the votes go is that we know whatever happens it will be a SoundBits and whatever happens someone is going to be vilified and mostly whatever happens still has two more steps!!! But the thing that wont be said is how deeply everyone care and how much work, research, thought, and prayer has gone into these decisions, and we have to trust that what we end up with at the end of the day to send to the full assembly will be God’s Voice for us this day.
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Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen