A voting delegate to a synodical convention has a duty to vote well. To vote well, one needs to study and understand the reports, overtures, and resolutions, and then vote scripturally, confessionally, conscientiously, prayerfully, and in brotherly consultation with the saints.
This duty has weight. It is not so easy. Contributing to the weight are:
- The number of reports, overtures, and resolutions.
- The range of subjects and the categories of those subjects.
- The volume of the printed materials.
- The historical backgrounds of some of the issues.
- The disagreements surrounding many overtures.
- The inadequate qualifications of delegates as to education, experience, etc. to deal with some of the issues, balanced by the problems that would arise if lay people were not allowed to be voting delegates.
- The bylaws and procedural rules that affect the way the convention does its business.
It is a pretty complex, deep plush, and expansive tapestry.
For the 2016 convention in Milwaukee, I did what I thought was my best to prepare, but still am disappointed in my performance.
Facing the onset of the 2019 convention, I decided to up my game. A couple of the new tools in my kit bag is a table of the resolutions in the First Edition of Today’s Business and a table of the overtures in the Convention Workbook. Each of these is simple. Each has just two columns. The left column simply lists the resolutions or overtures. The right column is blank for my brief notes to remind me of how I plan to vote and my reasons.
It must sound bad that a delegate could forget how he or she was intending to vote or the reasons for so voting. But it’s a reality. There are many overtures or resolutions that have similar sounding titles. It can become a problem to keep them straight. Sometimes the reason for opposing a resolution or overture that sounds basically good can be non-obvious from a casual reading. Good or bad, we might as well at least admit the truth, and try to do something about it. Hence, the tables.
The tables provide another benefit. They make it more likely that a person using them actually articulates his or her thoughts on the issues. In a few case, the exercise can change one’s my mind about an overture or resolution.
Sometimes we think we are the only one with a certain problem. Often that is not true, and our embarrassment is needless. So I will risk the shame of the disclosure I have made here, since there could be more like me, and go a step further by offering the two tables to other struggling lay delegates. Here they are:
- 2019 LCMS Convention Proposed Resolutions, Today’s Business, First Edition
- 2019 LCMS Convention Overtures, Convention Workbook
May the Lord of the Church bless and guide you as you prepare to participate in the convention.