The Great Salt Lake receives water from four main rivers and many small streams. The annual inflow to the lake is approximately 2.9 million acre feet of water. Yet, the Great Salt Lake is terminal because it has no surface outlet (sources flowing from it.) It is pungent. It is murky. It is essentially dead.
Recently, as the House of Deputies took on the content of the structure of the church, the mock Twitter profile for the Taskforce to Re-imagine the Episcopal Church tweeted, “Hey @HouseDeps, maybe you should all form a task force to look at structure.” In other words, are you really going to re-do the work we began three years ago all over again because you didn’t like the results?
Sweltering down the streets of Salt Lake all week, living in a desert, and on the edge of the Salt Lake is perhaps the perfect metaphor for where we find ourselves with this work of reimagining the structure of the Episcopal Church. Stuck, without a surface outlet.
Our first attempt doesn’t have to be perfect. By all reasonable accounts, Jesus’ first swing through Galilee was a tremendous disaster. What followed changed the course of the world forever. We don’t have to get it all right the first time. There are signs of life, like the budget amendment to fund church planting and the willingness to let go of many of the Standing Commissions. However, we are in danger of being terminally stuck, completely saturated with good intentions, and a lack of willingness to courageously test our vision. To the people of Salt Lake City, and especially those who have hosted this General Convention, you have been more marvelous than we deserve. In other words, it’s nothing personal. To those serving as elected officials on the floor of General Convention, be sure not to leave mired in the weight of Salt Lake. Look forward with hope as to how we may continue this work in earnest.