Much of the restructuring conversation in the run up to Gen-Con has focused on the size and shape of deputations or bicameral versus unicameral deliberations. While those are ways of restructuring, what they seem most likely to accomplish is a reduction of diversity in those who deliberate on our behalf and a concentration of power towards Bishops and Clergy.
I continue to believe, as I wrote in an earlier post, that we can also restructure by limiting what the legislative side of Gen-Con does to administrative and policy bare bones. Were the legislative section limited to Constitution, Canons, Book of Common Prayer, Ecumenical relations, mind or teaching of the church (catechesis), and a budget constrained to those things we would radically change the size and scope of our centralized and legislative process.
Alongside that meeting we need to throw a Gen-Con TED. TED, the acronym for Technology, Education and Design, organizes conferences of the best and brightest in most fields of human endeavor to highlight and explore "ideas worth spreading". Sort of an evangelical intellectualism. Like Comic-Con, TED is so invigorating an experience that they have to turn people away from the conferences. Thankfully they share the talks for free.
What we need are a few days every few years to gather all the imaginative thinkers and doers of the Episcopal Church under one roof and invite everyone who wants to come to come to share their successes and challenges. To come for inspiration and empowerment; to take what excites them and implement it when they go home. Bring in our best people on scripture, history, moral and ethical theology, Theology, liturgy, theory and practice of ministry, contemporary issues, missiology, life long formation and etc. and have them run seminars and panels. Bring in people with track records of making things happen to inspire others. Bring in the "saints' who work among the Matthew 25 constituencies to teach and inspire.
Think about what fours days of that might look like. No particular structure, no agenda, just the thinkers and doers of the church sharing with those hungry to think more and do more. Add an exhibition hall of vendors hawking their goods.
During the course of that parallel gathering we would have present opportunities for attendees to help fund the programs that draw their attention. We could video the panels and talks and make them avaialbe for congregational use, or stream them live as they happen through Ustream or another video sharing low cost option.
I think we might well discover the same explosion of energy and spirit that vibrates at TED and Comic-Con instead of appearing all too often as shell shocked zombies from the grinding schedule required to pass so much legislation.
Were we to restructure Gen-Con in this way, throwing open the widows and doors to bring in the incredible energy of our grassroots, we might well witness emergence as it happens towards a sustainable pattern for church life.
------And if we are going to resize or move to a unicameral body, my suggestion is: one Bishop, two clergy and four laity. The option to vote by orders would be maintained with split votes counted as abstentions not "No".