There was an interesting exchange in the comments over at StayPCUSA (a group of young evangelicals committed to staying in the PCUSA). Hope Italiano Lee posted* about the ethos of the 220th General Assembly (2012):
…this General Assembly would rather expend every ounce of energy on fighting the issues than to even attempt to change the focus of our conversations toward strengthening and building up the body of Christ here on earth.Landon Whitsitt, vice-moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) responded in the comments, challenging Hope:
Honestly, I find your analysis interesting because you all seemed to be an Assembly more willing to argue over how long you were going to argue and who got called on at what microphone than anything. When several persons, for instance, asked to simply be allowed to discuss having an AI on marriage, the body said “No.” I’m having a hard time finding something like that as being consonant with your assertion that you and your fellow commissioners were interested in fighting over issues.Landon’s point is well-taken, but I interpret what he is describing as a more extreme expression of the pre-occupation on issues that Hope describes. Particularly around the dividing issues, I experienced the parliamentary maneuvering often as an effort by many to “guard what we’ve already won.”
For example, the Assembly's refusal to discuss the marriage AI could be avoidance of a hard issue (what Landon seemed to be suggesting); but it could also be a way for one side to prevent the possibility of “losing” to the other (except for the hopeful gesture I noted in my previous post!).
I saw this dynamic vividly played out around two other topics, which I will address in upcoming posts: the Mid-Council report and a motion to cap per capita.