I’ll be live on the UCC’s web stream Saturday morning about 9 AM Pacific time (Noon Eastern Time) if you’d like to watch – http://www.ucc.org/synod/live.html.  Nothing major – just a one-minute slot to introduce FWC and invite people to our Monday evening dinner.)

I’m doing a kind of un-Bob thing.  Linda and I went to the center of the Exhibit Hall and picked up our rainbow scarves.  I’ve been wearing it – though a combination of itchy yarn and a lack of need for extra warmth around my neck means the scarf’s appearance will be intermittent.

Still, I’m wearing it, and it’s kind of un-Bob.  I’m not a placard-waving,  boycotting, join-the-cause-du-jour kind of guy.  My lime green FWC tshirt for General Synod (“Have you hugged an ECOT today?”) – in fact, our presence here at all, is rather un-Bob as well.

Back to the rainbow scarf.  The official reason for the scarf is a campaign against bullying, especially bullying of teens who are gay and lesbian.  Thousands of handmade (mine was made by Claudette from Cahokia, IL), colorful, handmade scarves are available for free, with one condition.  You have to sign the pledge to “to be a caring adult who works against bullying related to sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything else.” I signed the pledge, but that’s not the main reason I decided to un-Bobly wear the scarf.

I signed the pledge and I adorn my neck because of FWC.  The principles of Faithful and Welcoming Churches include faithfulness to “the practice and proclamation of human sexuality as God’s gift for marriage between a man and a woman.”  Most scarf-wearers here would not agree.  Some might even consider our position bullying.  But FWC is here not just to express disagreement.  We also celebrate areas of agreement.  Bullying is a good example, and all of us who are here at Synod are comfortable in our scarves.  My scarf is a good match for my FWC tshirt – not only because the scarf has some lime green in it but because the “Welcoming” part of “Faithful and Welcoming” means advocacy as well as a handshake and smile.

According to stopbullying.gov, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”   Bullying used to include three areas: verbal, social, and physical.  Now there’s a fourth category: cyber bullying.

I hate bullying of every kind for any cause.  I was slow to mature as a middle schooler.  I was a bedwetter until I was 15.  I was a racial minority for most of my childhood and adolescence.  I have been a theological minority in my own denomination for all of my adult vocational life.  I know what it’s like to be on the short end of power imbalance, and to have power used against me.  I hate bullying and am pleased to be “randomly” assigned to Committee 3 of this General Synod, dealing with the issue of bullying. It’s no different if the bullied are LGBTQ teens.  More on that subject to come, I’m sure.

Otherwise, the opening of Synod business today was somewhat routine – reports, nominations, minutes, and the like.  Testing out the polling software for voting purposes. Connecting with Southern Conference folks, curious UCCers from around the country, and national staffers.  My trip to the Scarf booth included a providential handshake with UCC General Minister and President Geoffrey Black, who confirmed that he and his wife Patricia plan to join us at the FWC dinner Monday night.

The evening’s business and worship sessions included some rather predictable UCC themes – immigration (for), guns (against), and marriage equality (for):  “We will not rest until every person in every state has the right to marry the person they love.”  The gathering is still going on, but we east-coasters had to slip out a little early.  It’s after midnight my time, and time to go to bed.

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