Today was the first official day of General Conference 2016 and some would say, “We couldn’t even get beyond the rules.” The truth is we really didn’t. From the outside looking in we as delegates working with our chair looked like kids arguing about how their make believe game will be played. Every side seemed like they knew how they wanted the game to end.
The great thing about watching kids argue about the rules of play is that you realize they are testing the waters. They want to know the boundaries of their world and see what might be possible. I have two daughters and every once in a while the older one will come running to me screaming about how the younger one has committed the biggest injustice ever. I struggle to avoid annoyance at first because the screaming makes it seems like a mortal wound has been inflicted. The injustice is rarely worth the noise. Then quickly my older daughter and I talk about what happened and learn that the younger violated a rule. The challenge for my older daughter becomes grasping that the younger generally violated the rule to get the reaction. The younger doesn’t like screaming, but she loves seeing what the rules might be, testing her environment. The younger is just learning what is possible.
I am not saying that there is not major injustice in the systems of our church. There are major injustices and those will need to be addressed. However, what I am saying is that like arguing children we tested the waters of General Conference tonight. We tested our Chair, Bishop Warner Brown, we tested each other and we overacted in the testing of the rules.
I have heard people state that tonight is a sign of bad things to come at General Conference. Tonight was bad because if rules take this long then the rest will not happen. I think tonight was a good thing. We were just figuring out the rules tonight, we need to know what might be possible. There is a lot of growing up we need to do as the church that is learning the new needs of our global community. The good news is we have a God who loves us and will let us know things will be ok, and will calmly be with us as we figure it out.
Tomorrow, we will finish testing the rules. Who knows we might even find a way for everyone to play nice?