September 12th, 2010

how long

Vote for me?

At the GCUMM meeting this week, General Secretary Gil Hanke of United Methodist Men spoke of the changes coming in The UMC and begged ALL of us to run for General Conference, even if we didn't think we had a chance, because we need to do our best to make sure there are friends in the room when big decisions about our future are being made.

I agree with that, but I think he was basically talking to the laypersons in the room. There were only two clergy there, but numbers is not the issue. It's a lot easier for laypersons to convince other laypersons to vote for them. The laity take a more business-like attitude toward the politics of the church. They ask, "Who wants to go? What are you for?" Then they say, "Let's get 'er done."

It takes a whole extra day for Conference in years we elect delegates because the clergy elections take so long. There are favors to call in, old scores to settle, egos to massage, etc. We know each other too well, and too often, familiarity breeds contempt.

I ran for General Conference once. I think I got 4-5 votes on the first ballot and then disappeared once we were done paying compliments and got down to the serious business of grinding through the ballots. I was disappointed that I didn't rate higher than that, but then I told myself that the Conference clergy didn't see me in that role. Plenty of people, I think, appreciated my leadership in Scouting Ministry; but there were other people they saw in that high-profile political role. If I had wanted to earn their trust for that, I should have joined a caucus group, worked to get known for serious commentary on the future of our Church, been nicer to people, etc. etc. All of which is still no guarantee that anybody's going to vote for you, but they sure not going to vote for people who won't put some sweat equity into seeking the votes.

After Gil asked us all to consider running, I asked myself, would I still want to go? And the answer came back, Probably not. It's a lot of hard work and hassle. Still, I guess this is my fleece I'm putting outside the tent, Lord. If at least five clergy voting members of my Conference will reply to this post with the promise to consider voting for me, I'll put my papers in to run. If I can't get that much support from even my friends who read these posts, then there is no point bothering the Conference with my candidacy.

And what would be my platform? Adherence to the ancient Faith. Reform of the bureaucracy. Equal empowerment for the Central Conferences. Accountability of bishops. Promotion and renewal of CSYA/Scouting Ministries in the life of the Church. And, of course, I would promise to wear funny hats and scout t-shirts as well as cook gourmet meals for my fellow delegation members.
junior woodchuck guidebook

Look, ma, no utensils!

This afternoon, Crew 119 gathered at Scott and Connor's house. We built a humongous fire in their backyard pit, then laid on the hardwood to make coals. I gave a lesson on how to cook directly on the coals (no utensils), then turned them loose.

They baked biscuits in onion halves. Others made desserts by baking a biscuit in an orange peel, with spices and so on. Other desserts featured pie filling and topping in an orange peel or banana boats made with chocolate chips and miniature marshmallows.

Various ready-to-eat soups were spiced up with one thing and another, then cooked inside hollowed-out bell peppers. I had a wonderful ham and bean heated up inside an orange bell pepper, which helped flavor it even more.

We made jalapeño poppers. For this, they had the choice of using cream cheese or Greek yogurt, then adding various herbs or spices. This was piped into hollowed-out peppers and baked on the coals.

For the main course, we had caveman steak cooked right on the white-hot coals. It was delicious. About ten youth and five adults took part in the feast.

Do it yourself Do it yourself
Ben and Kaleb hollow out onion and orange to create cooking vessels while Connor looks on
Poppers Poppers
Nearly half our crew is now girls; here, they work on jalapeno poppers
Descent into the Fiery Pit Descent into the Fiery Pit
Dave placing food on the coals