Sunday, July 24, 2005

General Conference Musings

Last month, Sunny and I attended the 58th session of the General Conference in St. Louis. You can see pictures of our trip here. We had a great time attending the meetings, browsing the booths, spending time with Sunny's family, and seeing some sights around St. Louis.

The best things about the GC session:

  1. Sheer numbers of people. This was the largest convention that the city of St. Louis had ever hosted (upwards of 70,000 people). Even the Edwards Jones Dome, a football stadium, was pretty full (we filled the floor, first tier, and part of the third tier). There definitely was a sense that the SDA Church is a worldwide church.
  2. The booth section. I estimate there were almost 300 different booths in the exhibit hall. It took Sunny and I the better part of a day to see all of it. Loma Linda University had a huge booth as did several other organizations. GYC even had a booth this year.
  3. Lots of friends. I spent quite a bit of time with the Hollands (including Mel and Sandra). I stayed in a hotel with Mike Orlich. Also, Deborah and James were there as well as Norman and Joelle although I didn't see them much. Dave Gentry was there Saturday night. There were also a bunch of people there from Advent HOPE and GYC.
  4. Drawings and giveaways. Sunny won the book, Here We Stand, and her grandpa gave her a set of the Walter Veith DVDs ($400 value). I didn't win anything; however, I did get a free plastic bag from Loma Linda (until the handle broke and I had to get another one from Andrews). Perhaps this should have gone under the next section...

The worst things about the GC session:

  1. The meetings. They were dry. Jan Paulsen's Sabbath sermon was particularly underwhelming. Perhaps I didn't hear the representative ones, but I would not go to the GC session to hear stirring sermons. I would go to GYC to hear powerful sermons. Or for maximum impact, Restoration.
  2. The Parade of Nations was a real disappointment. It was a real showy event with minimal spiritual content and maximal patriotic cheering. It wasn't my favorite way to close the Sabbath. What was really weird was that they called the Vatican City, the Holy See. Oh yeah, and the music was pretty bad too.
  3. Sabbath sermon. I hesitated to put this under "worst" but it certainly doesn't fit under "best." I couldn't help but note Jan Paulsen's calls for more involvement of women and youth during his Sabbath sermon and wonder where this will lead us as a Church. He spoke of "opening the doors." Of course, women should contribute to God's work but does this include opening the door to women's ordination? Of course, youth should be involved in the Church but are we just opening the door to clown ministries and Christian contemporary music concerts in the park? Will our policies be influenced by worldly ideas (feminism and post-modernism)? When we open a door, should we be careful what we let in? Only time will clarify what our newly elected president intends. In the meantime, let's pray for this man. He has much on his shoulders.
  4. The offshoots. It's crazy how these little ministries will set up camp outside the convention center and unload their literature. I saw one family with a sign that said "We are not an offshoot" or something similar to that. Of course, Stephen Lewis and his ministry held their competing meetings at a hotel across the street (I heard from friends who attended). That is just too much for me.

Other miscellaneous comments

  1. We have a new fundamental belief (#11 of 28). You can read it here. I think it's pretty good. It emphasizes Christ's power over demonic spirits and also describes the sanctified life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Mark Finley was elected as a General VP as was Ella Simmons, the first woman, and Ted Wilson.
  3. Sunny and I visited the St. Louis Arch with Mike and Sandra, the botanical gardens with the OA group, and the St. Louis Zoo by ourselves. Pictures will be forthcoming.
  4. Remind me not to visit St. Louis during the summer. It was muggy and hot.
  5. Pray, pray, pray for our church.


Blogger Sunny said...

Hi Tim,
I enjoy reading your blogs a lot. Keep writing.

Monday, August 08, 2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger limkenfl said...

I Tim I like your Blog too. ken

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 9:45:00 PM  

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