Besides how to prepare myself physically, I've been obsessing over wardrobe choices. And trying to get myself into faithful, resilient and grace-filled attitudes.
So now seems like a good time to share my dream for General Conference. I alluded to it before, but here it is, in long form:
On or about day 9, exhausted from long days of conferencing and stressed by the absence of a day of sabbath, the assembly will grow weary. Lifeless, even. Like a convention center of dry bones. As if the wheels of our machinery were clogged by the mud of too many confusing counter-proposals, lost in motion upon motion in the intricacies of Roberts Rules of Order, our assembly will slowly turn to a halt. No one will move, and no one will quite understand what's going on or know how to move forward. At that moment, in the shear silence, something like the rush of a mighty wind will suddenly startle us, bringing our tired bones to life.
"What was that?" my neighbor will ask. "Did I miss a vote?"
"I don't know what it was," I'll respond, "but it sure felt good."
All of a sudden, the movement of the Holy Spirit will have lifted the wheels of the denomination from our bog, and set us on a rock. Suddenly, mysteriously freed from the conversation we'd felt embedded in, we'll know how to use the gracious work of Jesus Christ to free and embolden our members and congregations in ministry. Freed from the bonds of hurtful language, of restrictive rules and judgmental attitudes, we'll feel the indwelling of the Spirit, and she will compel us to go outside. To do the work of the church in the world, and to love God and all our neighbors boldly.
Then, we'll start to see God's kingdom ever more clearly. Folks who had been known for their opposition to one another will reconcile with a gentle embrace. All God's children--gay, straight, old, young, rich, poor, from all over the world and of all different colors--will know that they belong as a blessed and useful part of the body of Christ, and will know that they need every other one of those people who had seemed so different from them. The United Methodists who work for Caterpillar and the General Board of Church and Society will together instigate a parade; led by children from Israel and Palestine, every in the parade will together use tractors and bulldozers to prepare fields in which everyone--everyone--in the area will plant vines and fig trees that they will enjoy, and no one will make them afraid. People will happily give up their power to others, inviting the least among us to choose how we will use our resources, and, like those people at Pentecost, we will share, as anyone has need.
And the world will never be the same, once it has tasted and seen how good, how powerful, how transformative the amazing grace and Spirit of our God can be.
That's my dream.