Well, here it is the middle of the penultimate day of GA, and I am finally getting around to my first post here. I did toy briefly with the idea of transcribing my thoughts from the last three days as separate posts and back-dating them as appropriate, but that would mean some folks would miss them, since the tendency is to read back only to the last post one's already seen. Also, it would fail to properly capture my state of mind and the fact that I've been too busy to post here in all that time (I'm not sure how Louise manages to do it...).
One of the positive aspects of being late with this, and I know this is cheating just a bit, is that Louise has already done a fine job of describing many of the events thus far. I can simply say that I agree with all that she has written here. I can also clarify that, no, she is not a wimp... last night's gulf coast presentation did, indeed, run over by a huge margin and I, too, considered it disrespectful to the assembled delegates, in much the same way that I also considered many of the delegates disrespectful on Thursday when they left the room in droves before the end of the agenda and its alloted time. Two wrongs don't make a right, and I expect that one of us will take up the issue of last night's overrun with Ginny in the same way that Louise did regarding Thursday.
I myself could have stayed later, to hear the rest of the presentation and whatever announcements might have been made before adjournment. However, I also left at 9:20 to accompany Louise home. As many of our readers here know, we live full time in our motor coach, and it is parked across the Mississippi in East Saint Louis, Illinois, necessitating a brief ride on MetroLink, the local light rail system here, and a short walk to and from the stations on both ends. I thought it would be nice to ride and walk home together.
As long as I have mentioned the motor coach, I will also tell you that what occupied my time most of Thursday morning was an emergency repair thereto. I won't bore you with the details, which will be available over on our personal travelogue site, but suffice it to say that I made it to the America's Center just in time for the CLF worship service, where Louise greeted me at the door by handing me a program.
Thursday was also the first plenary session with a business agenda, where we discussed and voted on the lone Study Action Issue, and also took a straw poll to assist the CSW on the Actions of Immediate Witness. While this is my third time at GA, having hovered in the background in Boston in 2003 (as an unregistered spouse of a registered delegate), and participated as a registered attendee in Fort Worth last year, this is my first GA as a delegate, and it brought forth some mixed feelings. They had to do with how I was to vote.
Let me say here that I have a good deal of experience with deliberative bodies and also with volunteer organizations. Voting in conference is not foreign to me. However my gut feeling is that in such a conference of delegates, the delegates are intended to bring with them the sense of the smaller body which those delegates are to be representing. I'm sure that many congregational delegates come here already briefed on their congregations' wishes with respect to the many issues that come before the assembly. I felt that I had little to no idea how the CLF, as a whole, would vote on these issues. Perhaps there is some mechanism within the CLF for becoming so informed that I am, as yet, unaware of. In the end, I gave myself permission to simply vote my own conscience on the issues at hand. If any readers of this blog have a different suggestion, please feel free to comment on this post.