Thursday, April 29, 2010

Preparing for Synod Assembly

Tomorrow I head to Orlando for the Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly. I'm not sure what to expect. Last year, I expected a quiet legislative docket, and we ended up voting on a variety of sexuality statements.

I remember that the worship services were phenomenal--no small feat for such a large group. I loved getting to know the ELW in different ways, even though my church doesn't use it as much as we could.

I liked the Bible study, even though I don't remember the particulars. I remember being pleased with the depth, which doesn't always happen. I'm an intellectual snob, so I can be hard to please in that regard. I don't need anyone to tell me what a passage says; I'm quite capable of literary interpretation (I have a Ph.D. in English to prove it). Please use your theological education to give me some background, some depth, that I wouldn't have otherwise. Hopefully, I'll be in luck this year. If not, I'll bring a book or two.

The Assembly is held at a resort, which bothers me when I consider the cost and better uses we might have for that money. But I plan to enjoy my time there anyway. I remember that the hotel food was pricey, so I'll stock up at a grocery store before I leave. But I might repeat one of my memorable meals of last year: 2 scoops of Haagen-Daz ice cream for lunch, enjoyed by the side of the pool. I was re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and not enjoying it as much as I expected to, always a risk when one returns to books that were influential in adolescence.

I don't know as many people as when I go to Lutheridge, so that's always a bit overwhelming. I don't yet have that experience of seeing old friends. My dad said, "Well, that's the way you get to have old friends in the Synod, by going to these events." Still, there are days when I shake my head in wonder that I have more Lutheran friends in the Carolinas, even though I moved away in 1998. Our Synod has never felt very cohesive to me, in the way that the South Carolina Synod does. We're too spread out in Florida. We're aliens, as Lutherans, particularly down here in South Florida. Aliens in a Catholic land. In fact, down here we probably have more Lutherans who started out life as Catholics than than we have life-long Lutherans.

I return home on Sunday, and one of my old Lutheran Student Movement buddies is flying in that evening. I'm looking forward to that. Ever since my LSM days, I've wondered why regular church can't be like that LSM experience of my college years. In terms of worship, Synod Assembly comes close. In terms of friends on the journey, not so much. Not yet.

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