The law of unintended consequences; it is marvelous in our eyes.

It seemed simple enough: cut the church’s upcoming budget by deleting funds for “non-essential” programs and thereby affect real change in the structure of our church by giving money back to the dioceses and letting them support the programs they think are worthwhile. If, for example, a diocese really wants their youth to participate in national meetings for young Episcopalians, the diocese can elect to pay their share. It sounds like that the red meat, red state mantra: push decision making down to the lowest practical level, only have the national church do what they really have to do. You know: the national church that does the least is the best?

But then this grab for power stumbled when people across the church reacted badly to a proposed cut eliminating financial support for national youth programs. So the Presiding Bishop took the extraordinary step of proposing an alternative and less draconian budget for the Convention to review.

Yesterday, the law of unintended consequences struck in the House of Deputies.

In brilliant, cogent, moving testimony, our young people put a human face on the impact of these cuts. They made clear the folly of restructuring by budget appropriation. They were well organized, well spoken and on point. And this is just the beginning.

Before General Convention started, some of us warned that cutting the youth budget would create a wired community of people who care about youth programs who would come to future General Conventions, be well organized and change the world. We were wrong: they aren’t coming to a future convention, they are here now. If they live up to the promise they displayed yesterday, those who try to make change through back door budget allocations may find themselves up against a generation of church leaders who are wired, inclusive, and willing to live the gospel by the way they make decisions at General Convention as well as at home.

Youth programs that can raise up this crop of kids deserve every dollar they cost. This is the law of unintended consequences; and it is marvelous in our eyes.