It’s my turn on the bLOGOS rotation at the Ekklesia Project website:

Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” Acts 2:1

I was going to title this post “The Summer of Our Discontent.”

For various denominational bodies, late spring and early summer are seasons for gathering “all together in one place.” United Methodists conference together, Episcopalians and Baptists convene, and Presbyterians generally assemble (or assemble generally). Long-time participants in these gatherings and others like them might say, with a cynical wink, that, except for the “all together” part (and the being “in one place” part), these meetings are a real blast—productive, enjoyable, edifying . . . . . . Not.

The recent United Methodist General Conference, for example, was regarded by both participants and observers as emblematic of the church’s deep-seated woes: a bloated bureaucracy too unwieldy to do much good; back-room deals (still? really?) that always breed bitterness and disgust; a growing distrust of leadership at all levels; an aging membership tone-deaf to the pleas of the young; intractable theological disagreements that align with partisan political commitments. The damage assessment continues to be broadcast far and wide, much of it startlingly ungracious.

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