Monday, 3 May 2010

Baptist Assembly Day 4

Decided not to stick around for the communion service.  Communion in mega-gatherings really doesn't work for me. 

The public issues session however offered further encouraging evidence of a shift towards a more interactive style, even if the feedback from the designated listeners didn't really work.  There was also one sour note, the man who's contribution from the floor included a quite deliberate reference to the presence of Islam in Britain, as "the Muslim threat".  Disappointing that, not to mention misguided and dangerous, but we can't have genuinely open conversation without the risk of such things being said.  At the very least it's more honest and open - a shiny surface of unity for the sake of morale and a smoothly run event does no one any good.  More positive was the round of applause that greeted David Kerrigan's questioning of Baptist attitudes to gay people.  OK, this did come at the end of list of other questions from David so maybe people were clapping the other stuff he said.  Don't think so though.  Hope not.  A cloud the size of man's hand perhaps.

So a  big thanks to those behind this shift.  More please.  What would be good next time would be longer for some serious conversation about issues such as the two we voted through this morning on nuclear non proliferation and human trafficking.  I guess the challenge in the future will be to keep on finding effective and creative ways to enable genuine interaction without losing the professional presentational skills of recent years.

By the way, I am pleased to confirm that Nicholas Winterton was indeed wrong.  I'm typing this on the train home and what's more I'm doing it, wait for it, in standard class.  If the chattering people around me are indeed, as Winterton sniffily suggested, "a different type of person" then I'd rather hang out with their type than his type.  Tories eh?!

2 comments:

Nigel Coles said...

sorry I missed your bit Glen - I wanted to be there, but was caught up with a working lunch - as it went on till past 3pm, life is not all too bad!

David said...

I think partly the problem with the designated listeners was that if I had written down on a piece of paper what the listeners would have heard during the assembly, I would have pretty much have come up with the same topics that they did - and that is not based on my deep understanding of the Baptist psyche, but based on the fact that I loosely know three of the four listeners.

to an extent, I think you hear what you are listening for.

I think it a great idea, and it is good that the powers that be are trying to listen to the voice of the hoi polloi, but I think the mechanics need thinking through a bit more.