Photo Courtesy of Listofsports.com
As I reflect on the GC 2012 with a fair amount of distance and time, one image kept coming back. If the GC 2012 were a sport, it would be sumo wrestling. It would be two big fat guys in a ring, with all sorts of posturing and rituals and stomping of feet, but actually very little contact, until the end of the match, when there is a brief moment of shoving, and the loser gets pushed out of the ring. No bloodletting but a lot of ego shattering.
The IOT’s towering recommendations and high aspirations incubated in the crucible of corporate-style containers and commercial archetypes before their currency gained rightful circulation at the legislative sessions of the GC were not only grooved with grief but also welded with throbbing pain and irascible soreness.
The occasional bursts of sane voices from the youth reminded the presenters and delegates not to “hide behind rhetoric” but face the challenges of time. Savvy comments from sage parliamentarians nonetheless successfully convinced the fence-sitters to garner votes and join the throng to sing the chorus that the ecclesial sky is falling and new mission structures must be created.
From an asinine argument about “expensive” printing paper a general agency uses in order to communicate with its constituents to standing in solidarity with the suffering Palestinian Christians, the debates were all veneered with denominational rhetoric “for the transformation of the world.”
Whenever someone echoed that phrase, and reminded the delegates that “the world is watching,” it evoked chuckle among some visitors. Live streaming never reached more than 2000 viewers and the national or global media, except for a scant coverage did not make much of this quadrennial event.
While I reflect on the five days of deliberations and the last-hour bolt from the blue, I was reminded of a scornful comment by Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, a Hindu and former President of India, who said, “Christians are ordinary people but they make extraordinary claims.”
In all honesty, while I refuse to agree with Radhakrishnan’s scathing remark, I secretly admit that it carries a twinge of truth. It is indeed a self-aggrandizing statement to say that we are going to transform the whole world when in reality we do not have a clear plan and passion about how we are going to do it. Was the youth delegate who made the blistering comment in one of the plenary sessions that “we are delusional” far from truth?
The previous century started with a big-bang mission statement: “Evangelize the world in this generation.” Of course, the previous century ended with a whimper not with a bang as far as the church in the global north is concerned.