Because of potential updates and overhauls to our church's website, I've decided to use this personal blog site as your source for updates during the North Georgia UMC Annual Conference, taking place June 11-15. I'll be posting here frequently throughout the Conference to keep you updated on the latest breaking news from Athens. If you'd like, subscribe to the Atom feed (at the bottom of this page) to have updates automatically sent to you. If you have previously subscribed, you probably need to re-subscribe due to changes in my hosting. Or, if that's outside of your techno-comfort zone, just check back here often. Please send comments, either via this site or by email to me at email@example.com. And while you're here, feel free to browse around the site for other of my musings, but be forewarned that it's not all orthodox (nor is it entirely G-rated, but it's not too bad).
As most of you know, I have placed my name in candidacy to be a delegate to the 2008 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Since I'm being honest about my beliefs in my presentations, chances are that I probably won't be chosen by the North Georgia UMC laity to represent them, as my beliefs tend to be a bit outside of the conservative mainstream of the Conference. But, stranger things have happened. In any event, be sure to keep me and Rex in your prayers as we seek to "do the right thing" this week.
Last Saturday the Conference held the first of two Candidate Forums - this one was attended by a hundred or so delegates, and most of the Candidates. The Candidates each had two minutes to speak to the assembled delegates. As we are arranged in alphabetical order, my turn was #2 out of the 42 or so Candidates. Here's what I had to say on Saturday:
Brothers and sisters, good morning! Greetings in the name of Christ Jesus. My name is Dan Browning. I stand before you today as a candidate for Delegate to the 2008 General and Jurisdictional Conferences, and I am not here to ask for your vote.
Now, I’m not asking you to vote against me either. I say this because I really don’t think we should be treating this selection process as electoral politics, not in the way the world does elections. The work that we will entrust to our Conference’s delegates will include the crafting of faithful and just responses to some of the most pressing issues of our time: environmental stewardship and the climate crisis, the death of thousands of children worldwide daily from preventable diseases, the inequity of poverty in our own nation, the continuing work of racial reconciliation, and yes, issues of church finances and administration, and of sexuality and sexual orientation. I, for one, believe that these issues are far too important to be decided by campaign slogans and brochures and cards and letters and emails and websites, or by electioneering and voting blocs and lists of “good” and “bad” candidates.
What I am asking you to do is to pray. Pray to know God’s will. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit who lives and moves in and among and through us all. Use your God-given wisdom and discernment as you select delegates from among the declared candidates. I began by greeting you as sisters and brothers, because at the beginning and at the end of the day, we are all sisters and brothers to one another. Always be mindful of that. If we do that, then we truly will be able to “walk humbly with our God”. And above all else, abide in love. Thank you.