When our Presiding Bishop was in Dallas recently, I had a chance to talk to her about our work on the 2020 Taskforce together. When I told her that I was disappointed that I had not heard much on this from her, she told me a couple of things of interest to me.
First, she mentioned the reorganization of the National Church Staff and the move of several offices to other parts of the country from NYC (more on this issue in a later post.) She also mentioned several other initiatives which connected to the eight 2020 areas. I was glad to hear this and incouraged her to speak more about these. It did not come up in her discussion with our clergy. We still remain publicly fixed on "the issues."
I would be the first to say that I think most of 2020 is dead in the water, but I continue to talk about these for two reasons. First, some day we will move beyond the current issues of sexuality and will want to go back to the mission of building the Church and making disciples for Jesus Christ. Second, I still believe that the eight areas expressed in the 2020 Report are the critical ones for the future - take for examples, reaching the new ethnic groups in the U.S. and developing younger ordained leaders.
How long will TEC continue to be dominated and pre-occupied by "the issues?" Until at least 2010. Remember two of my observations over the years: "Issues divide and Mission unites" and "In a polarized situation, the most strident voices dominate and moderate voices are pushed to the margins!" Sadly, this means that if I am right, we can expect our present unpleasantness will continue until at least 2010.