It has been a while since I have been at GS as a regular delegate, and I know that the discernment process in the all-synod advisory groups is not new. But I noticed, last night, in particular, how manipulative this particular version is.
Last night, we were all discussing the Covenant of Care. Let me begin by saying that, before we got into the meeting, I was already drifting to the position that, while I am not happy about the use of assessments to whack classes and make them do their jobs (I still think it is that), that we have no choice about it. I still think we are twisting the assessment in a way that we will regret later, and I will be tempted to call on the Synod [historical reference alert] to sing a psalm of lament after we vote on this, but I will vote for it.
But , even though I was already leaning that way, I was struck by how the small group discussion questions were quite manipulative: followed logically, one is left with no alternative but to accept and adopt the GSC position.
We also dealt with the Covenant-of-Care-related overtures, and here the manipulation became blatant and clumsy. Since so many advisory committees deal with the same overtures at the same time, it is impossible for the sending bodies to send people to speak to them. It is quite possible, however, for the GSC to include, as an informational paragraph under each overture, a paragraph explaining what is wrong with said overture.
I am left to wonder if we are to discern the will of the Holy Spirit, providing the Holy Spirit paid appropriate attention at the GSC meeting and tells us the right thing.
EDIT: It turns out that time was provided for these overtures to be addressed by their senders in plenary, but, through some miscommunications, not all senders are being invited to speak.