COMMENTARY: It aint’ over ‘til it’s over…

It’s Saturday, and the 2012 General Conference is about to have a needed time of rest. Some of the legislative committees have completed or are very near completing their work, and their members get a chance to put their feet up, check out some of the sights in Tampa, and prepare their hearts and minds for the marathon that is to come next week. Other committees are still hard at work, and very likely will be in session until the deadline tonight.

It’s been interesting so far to watch the reports of the committees via twitter and on the net. If you are keeping up with the latest news, it’s easy to think that the General Conference has made decisions about restructuring, sexuality, guaranteed appointment, and a whole host of other topics. And yet, outside of making some decisions about the rules and making some nominations for Judicial Council and the University Senate, the General Conference as a whole hasn’t made a significant decision about anything. Yes, the committees are making recommendations, and very often these recommendations are adopted by the broader body, but there is still a long way to go before this thing is over.

All indications from the General Administration committee seem to suggest that the Call to Action vision for restructuring is quickly being superseded by the plan known as “Plan B.” Yet the supporters of the CTA/IOT plan have (and are not) giving up, and it’s very likely there will be a minority report presented to the plenary body, allowing the full body the chance to overturn the recommendation of the committee.

There have been reports that the Church and Society committee charged with looking at human sexuality is going to propose removing the language which says that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. This has happened before, only to be overturned on the floor of the conference.

What I’m trying to say is that any reports about what the General Conference is going to do have to be taken with a grain of salt at this moment. The fact is that no one really knows what the body of the General Conference is going to do until they do it. We may be able to spots signposts which give us an inkling of what’s to come, but strange things often occur in the mists that cover the plenary floor of a General Conference, and things that folks thought were “done deals” become much more tenuous.

So take a breath. There’s still a long way to go. There is another full week ahead of us.

It ain’t over yet.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE
Mission and Ministry
The Rev. Thomas Lank

Seeing ‘new face’ of Christian church in China

A joint United Methodist volunteer team from the North Central and Northeastern jurisdictions makes a journey of peace and goodwill to China.
General Church
Photo of The Rev. William B. Lawrence by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Commission on General Conference added to confusion

Closed meeting and referral decision were mistakes, writes a former president of the United Methodist Judicial Council.
General Church
A group of centrist, progressive and traditionalist church leaders have come up with a plan for The United Methodist Church to separate amicably into two or more denominations. It's called the Indianapolis Plan, after where the group met. Photo by William Sturgell, courtesy of Pixabay; graphic by UM News.

Group drafts separation plan for denomination

Citing irreconcilable differences over homosexuality, a theologically diverse team of 12 envisions ʻnew expressions’ of United Methodism in a plan for the church’s future.