Thursday, January 29, 2009

UCC Announces Main Speakers for General Synod

I will once again be serving as a delegate to General Synod this summer in Grand Rapids. For those unfamiliar with General Synod, this is the biennial national gathering for the United Church of Christ. It features worship, workshops, speakers, delegates debating resolutions meant to speak to the church and not for the church but that mostly won't make any difference at all, and a variety of keynote speakers.

Delegates are elected to serve at two consecutive Synods. This will be my second, and thus the end of my latest stint as a delegate.

As we inch closer and as resolutions are made available for review, I'll offer my usual pre-Synod analysis.
In the meantime, the national office recently announced this year's keynote speakers, which are fairly impressive even though my invitation must have been lost in the mail. They include:

Eugene Robinson
- a journalist and author. I'm not familiar with his work. He's a Michigan grad, so I'm sure he's a wonderful human being based solely on that. I look forward to becoming more acquainted with what he's done leading up to Synod.

Ray Suarez
- another journalist and correspondent for Jim Lehrer and NPR. He's written a few books about suburban migration and American religious faith that I may try to check out before June.

Barbara Brown Taylor
- For many, she's The Preacher. I myself wouldn't go that far, but Leaving Church is on my short list of "repeat reads." She truly is a gifted writer, and it is perhaps because I've only read her writings that I tend to be skeptical of her gifts as a preacher (I'm one of those "a sermon is given, not written" people). So I look forward to finally hearing her as a preacher to form a more complete judgment. And maybe I can get my book signed.

Jim Wallis
- I've been a little surprised at how much flak Jim Wallis seems to get from everybody. Conservatives and evangelicals consider him "lapsed" or whatever, and many liberals seem to think that he's either not liberal enough or that he only does what he does for his own gain. I myself liked God's Politics--presumptuous title that is--and will probably re-read it before Synod. And then I'll take it with me to be signed as well.

All in all, a good list. I actually had opportunities while in St. Louis to hear both Taylor and Wallis and for some reason I missed out on both of them. So here's my second chance, I guess.

I'll have more thoughts on Synod as it gets closer.