Convention Day Two – The Ugly

imageThe Second Day of the LCMS Convention is over. Today saw some good things happen, including fellowship agreements and elections. By the second half of the day, a rather vocal minority began using even more parliamentary tactics to delay debate on motions that they didn’t want to see passed. They came right out of the gate on Sunday with tactics to prevent debate on the matters delegates came to discuss. Their efforts have ramped up and are beginning to wear thin on delegates’ patience. Today’s obstruction meant resolution 12-01A, which is the Dispute Resolution Process revision that will restore an old practice of allowing an appeal from the accuser to reach the President of the Synod in the cases when the District President fails or declines to act. This is nothing more than a check and balance resolution that makes sure doctrinal integrity is secure, but one side which does not have the votes keeps delaying and stalling the issue, putting off the other good work of the Floor Committee in order to get their way through delay. I suppose the hope is that they may gain more delegates at the next convention and the work of the delegates at this convention — many of whom are likely not going to be at the next — will have been wasted.

I had a chance to get some feedback from some random delegates about what they thought of the past couple days silliness. On day one it was changing the schedule to make sure that 12-01 could be discussed. On day two it meant telling the delegation we need to discuss this while delaying discussion with motions and other efforts to delay and defer this well researched, well crafted, and well taught resolution (both the Task Force and Floor Committee have done excellent work). Much emphasis was made about needing the District Presidents to weigh in on the matter (even though many have used their morning breakfasts to do that very thing and have also sent out letters and emails to do so also), which in my mind is much like letting someone determine for themselves how they should be held accountable (how has that worked in national government?). The delegates were getting tired of the one side pushing for delay and deferral all the while blowing smoke about having discussion. They had prepared to discuss it, even a couple of them had come to the Floor Committee meetings to hear the concerns of all involved. Today they saw through the obvious attempts to distract from real discussion by way of parliamentary tricks and obstruction. Many delegates have taken their responsibility seriously and have prepared to actually get something done. I am sure there are other delegates who probably would agree with them.

12-01A is well researched and vetted – is nothing more than a check and balance measure (which is good government by the way). Tomorrow’s discussion will hopefully not be centered on ways to delay this or defer it or how the District Presidents should determine for themselves how they would like to be accountable to the Synod. Instead, I (and the delegates I talked to) hope the discussion will be on good accountability, rules made in the freedom of the Gospel for good order in the Synod. Delegates not interested in obstruction, delay, and distraction, let’s make Day Three a productive day.

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