Numbers Game

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This entry was originally posted May 25, 2009 as part of the website “Slouching Towards Anaheim.”

“I could prove God statistically.” -George Gallup


This blog entry is dedicated to Louie Crew, the man responsible for gathering all of these wonderful statistics. He collects them every convention, and makes comparison charts to illustrate changes in the church.

House of Deputies 2009:

43.3% female lay people

35.3% female clergy

17 dioceses have no females elected

At the start of convention:

average age will be 56.9

youngest deputy will be 19.7

oldest deputy will be 90.2

26 deputies will be under 30

12.7% of deputies are people of color

50.3% of those are African American

I post these here because the makeup of the voting body says a lot about the kind of decisions it can make. Having only 26 deputies under 30 means there’s a clear need for resolutions that proactively seek out youth in the church, but passing such resolutions cannot happen with only those 26 votes.

The number of women in the House of Deputies has been steadily increasing since women first entered in 1970, and it will no doubt reach 50% within the next few conventions. However youth and people of color are still underrepresented by the church, and do not show as rapid and steady a climb as gender. This is not just a matter of fair representation. The fact is that the House of Deputies is an accurate reflection of the church: it is becoming old and white.

My heart obviously lies with youth involvement. I believe that we cannot simply wait for them to show interest in us. I would not be an active member of the church today if people had not sought me out time and time again. They will not ask us if they can join in. We must ask them.


Through the Mail

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This entry was originally posted May 15, 2009 as part of the website “Slouching Towards Anaheim.”

“Discourse is fleeting, but junk mail is forever.” -Joe Bob Briggs

One of the best parts of being a deputy is the mail. I love getting mail.

The mailing and email addresses of deputies is at least semi-public knowledge, which makes sense when you think of us like senators. How could you write your local congressman if you didn’t know the address?

Recently I received a “Voices of Witness: Africa” 30 minute DVD and companion study guide which deals with GLBT peoples in Africa. Before that a letter outlining the 2009 platform for “The Consolation,” and seemingly large organization of smaller groups interested in peace and justice. And let’s not forget the endless stream from the Pension Fund.

The fact is, whether I agree with what’s coming to me or not, there’s a lot of information to be had. Money, dedication, and numbers are the best things to have on your side when trying to change people’s minds, and just looking at most of these mailings you can tell who has how much of each. It’s a small thing for sure, but it’s a nice prep for General Convention. The same people who fill my mailbox will be handing me fliers, and then they’ll be asking for my vote.

A Blue Book by Another Name

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This entry was originally posted May 6, 2009 as part of the website “Slouching Towards Anaheim.”

Yesterday morning marked the arrival of my “Blue Book,” put in italics for the plain and simple fact that it is red, or possibly some other more specific shade like crimson or wine. The color changes every year and though I haven’t gotten an official answer, I like to assume that the answer is much more complicated than a simple, “Well it used to be blue.”

Wine and assumptions aside, the Blue Book is a report made to the deputies and bishops to brief them on work done by various committees on their work since the last General Convention. The Blue Book contains A Resolutions, a name given to resolutions that are submitted by interim bodies prior to convention to be brought to the floor and voted on. I often equate resolutions to laws when explaining convention to people, but it should be noted that not all resolutions are like laws. Some are statements of thinking, such as defining in clear words what issues are most important to the church. Resolutions reach the floor in a number of ways. Resolutions proposed by bishops are called B resolutions, ones proposed by diocesan conventions or provincial synods are C resolutions, and resolutions proposed by deputies are D resolutions. There is also a fifth type of resolution, M resolutions, which express an opinion on an issue, but these are for information only and do not get acted on.

I got to thumb through the 807 page maroon beauty today. Resolutions range from clergy disciplinary procedures to changing the feast day of the Martyrs of Japan from February 5th to February 6th. Obviously some resolutions are likely to cause more problems than others. While deputies and bishops are encouraged to read the entire blue book, the sad truth is that not all resolutions will make it to the floor to be voted on, and even fewer will make it through intact. Once released into General Convention, the carefully worded Blue Book resolutions will be open to amendment and debate. This is if we even get through them all, what with the avalanche of B, C, D, and M resolutions that will be put on our tables every morning.

Good luck little resolutions! I will get through as many of you as I can!

If you have a particular resolution that you are interested in or concerned about, send the number my way and I’d be happy to check it out, and potentially blog about it.

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?