According to Jon Coyne of Jesus First, this past year's cycle of district conventions demonstrated a rare image of harmony in Synod. He pointed to the election of the district president by affirmation in the California-Nevada-Hawaii convention as a prime example of "speaking as one in a positive way." With the election safely passed, he further remarked that "The days of that convention flew by without the discordant sounds of argument and contentious vote."
Now I am the first to be pleased with meetings free of rancor and disagreement. After all, as a pastor, I have lived through too many of these. On the other hand, I must wonder if a meeting completely free of disagreement is always good. By this I mean that when a meeting "flies by" without a single dissenting vote one begins to question whether anyone is paying attention. So often I have seen meetings begin and end quickly without any questions for the single reason that it was late and people wanted to go home. They didn't want to do the hard work of getting to the truth of the matter. So they slid by the easy way just to get to the end of the meeting.
Sometimes the "discordant sounds of argument," as unpleasant as they are, reflect people needing to find the truth and combat error. Using the word "argument" unfortunately casts the entire matter in the most negative light. It seems that every time people disagree the immediate label is "argument and contentious." Emotions inevitably rise as people contend for the truth. Such emotions easily become mistaken for sinful anger. Yet such need not always be the case. Anger surfaced in our Lord as He witnessed the desecration of "His Father's House." Would we dare to label His actions that day as "discordant sounds of argument"?
I fear that the vision in some quarters today casts the ideal future of the Synod largely as one happy family where no one ever dares to disagree. As many know this is still the sign of a dysfunctional system. Harmony for the sake of harmony merely reflects the desire to avoid confrontation. It does not contend for the truth. Hopefully the Synod will not repeatedly frown on the desire among some to press for the truth even when it makes them uncomfortable. We need these voices. Otherwise we will simply slide by into the pleasant white light of oblivion.