General Conference – Day 4 – April 27, 2012
Poster of the Day
In the scope of captivities, 40 years is but a drop in the bucket. It is, nonetheless, a significant and symbolic amount of time. In 40 years untold numbers of youth have committed suicide and even more people have give up on the church as a source of spiritual sustenance. The discriminatory legislation that has grown quadrennium after quadrennium has made the church weaker and weaker. Cultural changes have played their part in a reduction in religious energy, but key is the energy sapping that results from blatant hypocrisy.
After the Act of Repentance a comment was overheard about the poster of the day, "This really grabbed me. I was a delegate at General Conference from 1968 to 1988 and we were never able to remove the discriminatory language."
An Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationship with Indigenous Peoples
In 2000, we did this same sort of act of repentance for the way in which the church participated in racism regarding the gifts and calling of Black people. The leaders of Black Methodist denominations received our words politely and indicated they would wait to see what would actually change. Since the church is in need of constant reformation and renewal, this year we repent of the participation of the church in massacres, oppression, and discrimination against Indigenous People.
We have had similar moments regarding the church's dismissal of Women. We anticipate the year in which we will repent of the limited theology about and discrimination against GLBTIQ persons and community, as well as Undocumented Immigrants and whatever next identity issues is responded to with hurtful frames of reference, discriminatory legislation, and other expressions of fear.
Read about this act as a "double-edged sword".
Reflections on the Day
A Legislative Sub-Committee narrowly agreed (14-12) to remove the line "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. This is an opening. In past General Conferences we also passed legislative improvements at the subcommittee level only to see them reversed later on by the whole body.
The Act of Repentance was a strong reminder of the difficulty of repentance as a life-long approach to life. When video reporting comes out, it is recommended to watch the presence of George Tinker in the service.