Monday, July 12, 2010

A during-GA post that we missed posting then . . .

Editor's note: due to the vagaries of the internet (I swear, it wasn't there to post last time I checked on Saturday!) and the craziness of the last couple of days of GA, this didn't go up when it should have. We apologize for that and bring it forward now.

Meeting with the YAADs

The other night, a handful of Welcome Revolutionaries and Lisa and I went to talk to the Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs). There are approximately one bazillion of them. We joined them for energizers and worship and afterward they had to sit through 4 presentations by different advocacy groups, all hoping to woo the YAADs to advise the commissioners in their favor. Apparently it was designed to be a liberal/conservative night, and they sandwiched us right between Mr. Pro-Life and Mr. Traditional Definition of Marriage and Ordination, and the 4th was from Presbyterian Voices for Justice.

Worship was really interesting; a couple of "energizers," which are campy song things with actions to go along with them. Then some announcements, and some hymns which were pretty. No sermon, but some reflection time. They had to get in groups of 4 or 5 (very roughly; there were groups of 2 and groups of 12) and come up with lists of their favorite things at GA. They were hugely in favor of the moderator, and our flash mobs, and one group announced that their favorite part was the rainbow stoles "because no matter how you feel about what they represent, a lot of effort went into them being knitted and crocheted by people across the country, and they're awesome" (or something very close to that). It felt good to be recognized especially since I don't think they knew we'd be there.

Mr. Pro-Life had his presentation first. It was kindof unremarkable, something about how his mother "chose life" 35 years ago, and how life begins in the womb, traditional stuff. Nothing inflammatory, just a boring speech that everyone's heard before.

Then we went. Lisa very briefly told why we were at General Assembly (to invite the Church to be as inclusive as we know God wants it) and we went into a Top 10 ways to know when you've run into a TAMFS person, including "you got a cookie," "you ran headfirst into someone frozen in place," "you felt welcome," "you had 'All You Need Is Love' stuck in your head all day," and others. They laughed. I unfortunately got stuck with the number one reason, but I hadn't planned something that good, so it ended up being a kindof lame "you felt welcome" but they enjoyed the rest of the list. Then we proposed that they laugh, so we asked what the funniest thing they thought could happen at GA would be. My favorite answer was "free puppies!" One person suggested that it would be hilarious if they did an energizer during Plenary. The best part? They taught the commissioners an energizer the next morning in Plenary. So clearly, we made an impression.

Mr. Traditional was clearly nervous, and reading from a script about his work. He started with Puff the Magic Dragon and how it was mistakenly interpreted as a drug song, and Peter Paul and Mary denounced that, and then switched it to a command that we properly perform exegesis on the Bible, and don't put our own interpretation on it, and God never meant for gays to marry, and we should stick to the traditional definitions. It was a confusing segue, but we can all agree that proper exegesis is hugely important. I guess he missed the part where Jesus was against traditional interpretations of the Law, but whatever. (Afterward, he took a cookie, and said hi, and was really nice to us). The YAADs weren't very impressed by his speech. They listened politely, but no one got all fired up or anything.

Voices for Justice went last and the YAADs were certainly engaged in her speech. I heard later that they weren't in agreement with everything she said, but she was a lot more interesting than the men who spoke.

We were the only ones with a group, and we passed out cookies and frisbees afterward which they LOVED.

Anyway, the point is, we really engaged the YAADs. Even though some of them might have disagreed with our mission, they couldn't disagree that we were interesting and funny and happy, unlike Mr. Pro-Life and Mr. Traditional (both of whom were sortof sad) or Voices (who was kindof angry), and that our mission is one of hope for the Church, instead of condemning those who disagree. Especially after this day, it's important to remember that we are a mission of hope, and that we are engaging the younger generation, and that our day will come.

Mary Kathryn Dean

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