Soo, pack your travel-sized toothpaste, General Conference begins next week! Why is the United Methodist General Conference important?
1) Because "mainline" denominations like UM affect the tide of smaller denominations
2) Because it's a family reunion - kind of. Complete with weird uncles and cousins you've never met. But you can guarantee there'll be family fights. And the relatives from far away always come (global representation).
3) Because BIG decisions are made. They're important decisions done in a long, grueling, sometimes boring process, like root canals. You have to have root canals sometimes, and they are very important, but it leaves you easily disgruntled and with a weird taste in your mouth.
4) Let's admit it - it's also a circus. The weird Kansas Baptist guy comes (you know, he protests military funerals because supposedly soldiers' deaths in Iraq are due to America's support of gays...), but gay rights groups also come, so the activists all stand outside and shout at each other.
If you want some GREAT short little summaries of important issues of THIS year's General Conference, check out Riley Case's blurbs. Here's one that's a great example, on gender identity:http://www.umdecision2008.org/commentary/case-gender%20identity.htm
During the whole shabang, we'll post updates on that website, plus I'll be sure to keep you informed of vital info, like A) what everybody's wearing, B) the best volunteer-made cookies served at break, and C) any celebrity contact I have, like with Bill Gates' dad or the president of Liberia (a woman!), both of whom are slated to attend. I'm tempted to dress up like a character and pretend that I think it's Comic Con, but I won't.
Unless I just crack.