The Integrity Agenda
(Finally ... for those who've asked about it, speculated about it, even fantasized about it ... it's the Integrity Agenda for General Convention 2006: courtesy Integrity Board member Elizabeth Kaeton.)
Watching Integrity work at General Convention is analogous to watching open heart surgery on a dinosaur. Part of it requires muscle and stamina: cracking open the chest of this ancient relic requires nothing less than brute strength.
Another part is delicate, intricate work, requiring all the fine-motor skills of a surgeon in the tiny, thin places of the heart and soul of this still-living and breathing organism.
Much of it is like the work of the larger team members: the surgical assistants and anesthesiologist -- long, tiresome, weary moments strung out over minutes, hours, days and weeks of watching and waiting, monitoring and evaluating, ready to move on the advanced notice that is sometimes less than a heartbeat.
It's all about the 'holy' spirit which people bring from their own 'holy places' and the Holy Spirit who shows up at the oddest times and in the oddest places, but is always firmly in control. That being said, I think that we do a disservice if we do not communicate the contextual setting of General Convention to our constituents before telling them that the strategy going into General Convention is pretty much the same every time: Be awake. Be alert.
Above all, be as gracious and as generous as we can possibly be, aiming always to follow the Via Media without compromising the dignity -- ours or anyone else's -- to which we are called to respect in our baptismal covenant.
Like open heart surgeons and all other physicians, we pledge to do no harm. As Christians, this means, additionally, even when harm is being done unto us.
This year, I anticipate higher drama from the right side of the church than most Queers on the left can muster up on a good day at Gay Central. I expect some of them to come prepared to leave this church and all of them well prepared to do as much collateral damage as they can before they do.
We on the left -- not just Integrity but the constituent members of the Consultation -- have to be ready to be part swat-team, part rescue-unit. And, we need to come to General Convention absolutely crystal clear about what it is we believe and what it is we want -- and be equally clear that people may not want/be able to hear our statements of belief or give us what we want -- even our allies on the Left.