What is General Synod? Well, it could be an answer on Jeopardy! to the question: The national gathering of the United Church of Christ held every two years. But it’s really more complicated than that.
As a church with congregational polity (meaning that we don’t have a ‘top-down’ structure of authority), General Synod is a gathering of delegates from across the United Church of Christ that primarily considers resolutions that “speak to, not for, the local congregations of the UCC.” The resolutions considered often address pressing issues of the day and consider ways of addressing them faithfully as followers of Jesus.
One of the laments around General Synod resolutions I’ve heard more than once is: “Ah, there goes the church getting political again! Why can’t we just worship Jesus and stay out of these ‘culture war’ issues?” As someone who’d rather stay out of the culture war fray myself, I can sympathize. But Jesus didn’t seek to be worshipped; he sought followers – people who would be bold enough to stand up to the everyday injustices suffered by the powerless at the hands of the powerful. And if we’re going to follow Jesus, there’s roughly a 100% chance it’s going to get political. Stopping the fully-legal execution of a woman caught in the act of adultery and overturning the tables of the fully-legal moneychangers in the Temple are just a couple of examples that come to mind of Jesus’ political actions and ones that would make him an enemy of powerful people.
So, I would encourage you to take a look at the resolutions being considered at General Synod with an open mind, and more importantly, an open heart. How would Jesus respond to these issues? How will we? How will you?