I just remarked to my buddy Mark, “You know, I don’t know what the big issues are for General Conference this year.”
If you’re not a Methodist, you probably don’t know about General Conference. The way the United Methodist Church is organized, as best I understand it as laity, is that local churches are governed by a charge conference, which contributes to the district and then onto the local conference. For example, my home church is governed by its own charge conference, which is part of the Huntsville district, which is part of the North Alabama conference. The North Alabama conference sends delegates to General Conference, which meats quadrennially. The North Alabama conference meets annually, and the charge conference meets at least annually, mainly as needed. [Some districts are big on district-wide events, and some are not. I think that has a lot to do with the preferences of the bishop—who leads the local conference—and the District Superintendent—who runs the district.]
So when I check out the Church’s Web site, I find out that General Conference starts … today.
Ever since 1996, when a significant piece of the Council of Bishops advocated sanctifying homosexual marriage, I’ve wanted to keep an eye on General Conference. Please note that I am not against homosexual marriage in a secular context; inside the Church, though, I view it as sanctifying a relationship that the Bible teaches is impure. I generally divorce my politics and my theology as much as possible. Some of you argue that this is impossible, but I will tell you that it works for me.
I have some reading to do.