Every three years, the Episcopal Church holds its big family reunion. We call it the General Convention. I'm sure it has some other official, longer, and perhaps more pretentious name, but we in the family call it GC. Maybe you've heard of it. Six years ago we were all over the news when the GC houses (bishops and deputies) voted to approve the election and consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the church (although certainly not the first gay bishop in the church, but closeted hypocrisy is another blog entry).
So we're gathering again, liberals; conservatives; wholly sane and bat-shit crazy and all those in between; laity, deacons, priests, and bishops; active and retired; those who are new to the voting convention and those who just can't find a way to admit their time is passed and bow out gracefully; the family, actually.
Because for all the legislative debates and theological discussions, maybe the most important part of this gathering is just to see what this huge Episcopal family looks like. We look like the family of God. We look like the ancient Christians who were slaves and regal imperial families, each trying to figure out how to accept one another as equals. We look like rich and poor, still struggling to find the true north between too little, enough, and too much. We look like crazy Uncle Charles and generous Aunt Ella, who've been married for decades, but no one is sure how either hasn't knifed the other over dinner. We look like real people, who don't agree, but who know the value of family and friends and community. We celebrate together and throw our conniption fits in full view of everyone - maybe a strength or maybe not.
I am Episcopalian because I love this crazy, faithful family. Yes, oh yes, I complain about its faults. I make biting sarcastic comments about the apparent connection between wearing purple and losing one's cohones. And I wonder, sometimes, if Jesus would slap us silly for all our committees and commissions and dialogue groups while the poor ask for bread and shelter. But I do so because my heart is in this ancient and modern church. The church is bigger than the building where I celebrate on Sundays. This church bursts boundaries and challenges me to get over myself. I am part of a community family of faith - big and passionate, foolish and wise, breath-taking and fumbling.
I am better because of the whole. I am also frequently more stressed and frustrated because of the whole, but I also laugh more, too. I am Episcopalian, thanks be to God.
To read a good blog about GC, check out Canon David Johnson's blog (Diocese of Mississippi).
For the offical General Convention web info, check out this link.