General Convention is an energetic extrovert’s paradise. The pace rarely slows; among the two thousand plus people involved in the Convention, rarely is there a moment without conversation. Nor is General Convention a place for the timid or faint of heart. Deputies and bishops must decide about hundreds of resolutions on an incredible variety of topics. These range from the relatively obscure (who to add to our calendar of ecclesial observances) to central issues for The Episcopal Church (the budget for the next triennium, e.g.) to complex geo-politics (how TEC might best contribute to establishing a just peace in the Middle East).
On Saturday, the Bishop of North Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, preached at the daily Eucharist. He called for Episcopalians to become “crazy” for Jesus. People whom the world regards as crazy are the ones who change the world; their roster includes John the Baptist, Jesus, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (remembered Saturday on the calendar). In a powerful emotional appeal, he encouraged the Church to develop a depth of spirituality and commitment that would propel us into becoming “crazy,” creatively and effectively establishing justice and peace on earth.
As I observed in my first post from General Convention, TEC is restructuring, realigning and reprioritizing its finances, and updating its liturgy. These are important tasks. None, however, is an end in itself. All are properly the means to an end, i.e., all are steps for focusing our collective life, equipping God's people, and marshaling resources for mission. Being an institutional Church – a Church that incarnates togetherness in visible organizations – holds the potential of expanding what we can do for God.
But that enhanced potential carries a risk: that TEC become so preoccupied with internal issues that we never realize our great potential for moving the world toward peace, justice, and abundant life. By the end of the next triennium, TEC must have resolved its institutional angst and change if it is to live into its great potential for being God's prophets, God's “crazy” people.