Saturday, July 14, 2012

COD's General Convention Recap: Slide It on Back, Haters

KNLB4ZD was taken as a license plate.
As promised, Crusty Old Dean is returning to his General Convention preview to engage in some Crustendfreude:  seeing where he got things right, and where he got things wrong.  And as promised, all predictions 100% correct or your money back;  an easy promise, since COD has not hit the "monetize" button on blogger and this blog remains free.

Rankings will be according to Crusty Old Dean's formula:

Axios! (Greek: worthy! what is shouted at ordinations by the congregation) = COD nailed it.
Meh: (like Revelation 3:16, neither hot nor cold) = COD sorta got it right
WTF?  (self explanatory) = COD has been using the same sources as the Wall Street Journal.

Predictions in italics, rankings and potential Crustenfreude in regular font:

 --Same Sex Blessings:  the proposed blessing of same sex unions will be adopted as a trial rite.  Will pass handily in a vote by orders in the House of Deputies, will be a bit closer in House of Bishops.   The vote by orders will be requested by the following deputations:  South Carolina, Central Florida, and Springfield. Crusty Old Dean will tweet his predictions of the HOB vote total (trying to recreate the magic of picking 62 as the number of "yes" votes for Gene Robinson in 2003) after listening to the debate.

Ranking:  Axios!  The authorization did pass handily in the House of Deputies, exceeding the 75% threshold that calls for a reading of the results in a vote by orders.  COD more or less nailed it in the House of Bishops -- while predicting it would be "closer" (thereby raising the possibility of Crustenfreude) but, after listening to the debate, COD tweeted a predicted "yes" vote of 109.  The actual vote was 111.  So slide it on back, Crustenfreudians.  According to COD's notes deputations from the diocese of Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Southwest Florida, Central Florida, Western Louisiana, and South Carolina, Dallas, and Albany requested the vote.  Frankly COD is surprised Springfield is not on that list, but all of the others were.

--Anglican Covenant:  some version of the compromise resolution proposed by Ian Douglas will pass.  Something which affirms what we can endorse in the Covenant (pretty much all of Section 1-3), which raises concerns about Section 4, asks us to be in further discussion and study on this, and affirms our commitment to the Anglican Communion.  COD has opined on this before; why reject the Covenant?  It's going down anyway, and except for parts of Section IV there's good stuff in it; why hand the Communion an opportunity to marginalize us?  Force them to marginalize us.

Ranking:  Meh.  D008 and B005 were passed, which did contains affirmations of our commitment to  the Anglican Communion.  But we did not affirm what we could endorse in the Covenant, instead agreed to "monitor" developments and "declined" to a position on the Covenant.

--The House of Bishops will go off the rails on the question of confirmation as a prerequisite for holding certain offices in the church.  Just like you double down on 11 in blackjack -- always, no matter what -- always, not matter what, bet on the House of Bishops to spend at least 20 minutes in any discussion that involves confirmation.

Ranking:  Meh.  Resolution A042 was not acted upon, and referred back to a CCAB.  COD gives himself a "meh" here for two reasons:  the HOB didn't go as off the rails as he thought, and it turns out the HOD didn't really know what to do either about this mess we've made of mixing confirmation with membership while at the same time trying to live into baptismal ecclesiology.

--PB&F will propose some version of a compromise budget between what was presented by the PB and what was handed to them by Executive Council.  COD thinks PB&F was already planning on reworking the budget to look more like what came out of the PB's office -- not that there's any collusion between the two, but that PB&F would try to come up with something that has a little more equity in the cutbacks.  Crusty Old Dean isn't entirely thrilled with the PB's budget, but a)  he sees it more as a transitional budget, and b) it's a step up from the inchoate Frankenstein budget Executive Council spat out.

Ranking:  Axios!  For another feather in COD's cap, the Presiding Bishop, when she went rogue and added 3-5 minutes of remarks to the Joint Session before it adjourned, stole the tag line from the Acts 8 Movement Crusty Old Dean put together with Susan Brown Snook and still-allied-like-Stalin-and-Roosevelt Scott Gunn, asking the assembly to share "What kind of church they dreamed of."  So, Double Axios!

--Gay Jennings will be elected PHOD.  While COD thinks she would be a fine PHOD, he is discouraged there has not been other candidates who have announced.  Like when Louie Crew ran against George Werner in 2003, we should at least have a choice, and a discussion, and hear a vision from different leaders in the church.  It's not healthy for a democratic institution to hand off leadership in a Politburo-style succession: someone from the former PHOD's council of advice and her chancellor are the likely next President and Vice President.

Ranking:  Axios! Recall COD predicted Gay's election pretty much right after she announced her candidacy.  And, indeed, there was another candidate, Frank Logue from the diocese of Georgia.  Martha Alexander and Frank made a respectable showing, as Gay received 51.9% on the first ballot and Martha and Frank received 48.1% combined.

--The real battle is going to be over what entity emerges from this Convention that will look at restructuring the church.  It seems evident we have a reached a tipping point, and there is consensus that we need to take a long, hard, look at how the denomination is organized and funded for mission. 
[There's more to this lengthier discussion, see COD's original post

Ranking:  Axios!  There was considerable discussion about how to synthesize the resolutions on reform and restructure of the church.

The legislative committee came out with an omnibus resolution, C095 -- COD gave his thoughts on that here.  While Crusty Old Dean is, in general, pleased with the Task Force process, there is still much to be seen in how this will be implemented.  We will have to be wary less the Task Force be stuffed with the usual suspects and spend three years trying to undermine and neuter the process.

COD was amused with the conflicting attitudes towards restructuring and reform.  On the one hand, we were warned repeatedly by some that we should be careful, cautious, and move slowly, less there be any unintended consequences of decisions made.  We were also told, repeatedly (and, in COD's opinion, falsely) that restructuring and reform leads to marginalization and exclusion.  Yet the HOD seemed to have no problem in acting quickly and without thinking of any possible unintended consequences of voting to sell 815 (did they take into account, say, severance for employees unable to move? how moving 815 would probably mean women and people of color losing their jobs?) yet got their knickers in a twist on B027, which would have radically reduced the number of Standing Commissions.  And did no one see the irony in the Standing Committee on the Structure of the Church both recommending lengthening the time of General Convention from 8 days to 10 days, while also proposing a resolution that the House of Bishops decrease its meetings from two per year one, as a matter of "stewardship"?

COD had no problem with voting down B027 and B015 (which proposed a unicameral General Convention).  This is not because COD is not in favor of the sentiment of these two resolutions -- COD told the proposer of B015 that he proposed something very similar back in October on this very blog.  But COD opposed them for the same reasons he opposed the draft Executive Council budget: both put the restructuring cart before the horse.  Just as we shouldn't restructure by budget cutting and dumping things onto diocese and other networks every three years, we shouldn't restructure piecemeal resolution by resolution. 

Of these predictions:  four Axios, 2 Meh, and no WTF.

COD is confident he has vanquished those willing to engage in Crustenfreude, and welcomes you all to KNEEL BEFORE C.O.D.!  (using the period in the acronym for once to prevent confusion with a tasty fish served best with malt vinegar and fries and Old Speckled Hen).

Trying to figure out how to move forward from Convention?

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  1. Dear Comrade Stalin,

    Dude, learn how to put links in your post. Acts8 might get 2-3 page views if you made those things into links.

    Your potential nemesis,

  2. Party only has need for Intranet. Your internet is bourgeois.

    Seriously shows you shouldn't publish a post while riding the stationary bike.


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