General Conference Thoughts from Angela
posted on April 03
It has been approximately six weeks since General Conference 2019. I have remained silent on social media and throughout the district about the results of the General Conference. But, in my silence, I have been observing, listening, and reading postings about personal views. I have listened in on conversations and from time to time will say a few general words on the topic. After reading postings, watching videos and listening in on conversations, I will share these musings with you.
I have been silent because my heart has been grieved to hear the adjectives that have been applied to our brothers and sisters on various sides of the aisle.
In life when decisions are made and if it does not line up with how we wish things to be our emotions are raw. We are human; it will happen. We are emotional beings. When the waters are calm, rational mind tells us not to make knee-jerk decisions but reason together. When the waters are troubled, it is hard to remember our logical human brain, and sometimes our words and decisions are made from our emotions that have hijacked our response.
Another area we often allow to hijack our response is our filter. We all have our filters of how we view the other. Our filters may be based upon someone’s race, socio-economic status, education, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. What is your filter in how you view others?
The task is to view others without allowing our filters to draw judgments. When we allow our filters to conclude before we talk to each other, we will make broad statements that may not apply to that person or the majority. When we look through our filters, we distort what the person says and believe to fit our preconceived notions.
What can we try? On one side of the aisle, we can try to put ourselves in the others shoes. Imagine their anger and frustration. In that person’s shoes ask, “Why am I feeling this way? Why am I frustrated? Why am I angry? Why am I writing these things about people I have known for a long time? Do I really believe what I am writing?”
On another side, instead of saying, “This group is adding on more rules. They are exclusionist.” Step into that person or groups shoes. That person does not see it as adding on more rules, but as one who is truly trying to be faithful to their faith. Not meaning to harm, but hoping to be faithful.
We do not learn these things when we react through our filters or when we have moved from stress to distress and allow our distress to control. It begins when we can dissipate our judgments of people based on our filters. Begin to view each person as essential to the workings of life. I know this will not answer many of our questions as to what to do next, but it can begin to get us talking to each other and not at each other on social media post.
And yes you can guess. I am a 9 on the Enneagram – the peacemaker, with the strength of an 8 the Challenger.
"When our will, our whole heart, enters into the prayer of Christ, then we are truly praying." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer~
Reverend Angela A. Pleasants
Catawba Valley District Superintendent and Chief Missional Strategist