Posts Tagged ‘detroit’

Well – Kelly Allen and I had a great time standing together for Moderator and Vice Moderator of 221st GA. Ultimately, we were not elected. Now, the loss might have been just awful, but we as an assembly abounding in hope! Moderator Rada (or Moderada as some are affectionately referring to him) and his Vice Moderator, Larissa Kwong Abazia are carrying that hope wonderfully for us. We are now looking to them hopefully for their opinions and observations. Specifically, I appreciated picking up the General Assembly News yesterday and finding Abazia on the front page. In Bolin’s photograph, Abazia’s face is lifted slightly upward, perfectly poised to communicate hope. It makes me want to read Ferguson’s article. I already know that she serves the most diverse neighborhood of our nation, so eagerly, I lean through the poise of the picture and into the article to lap up bit more hope. I hope she will tell me what she knows. I lean in hoping that she will tell me the best practices for the future of the church. As I lean in, I read: “If there’s anything I’ve learned about doing ministry, its that there’s no book that tells us all how to be healthy church and how to grow. There is no one right way to do that.” And in the statement there is a tone of trust that each of us will be able to figure it out. I lean out and back and begin to imagine what I know.


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a hunger for the text:

exegesis, translation, grammar, syntax, context, historical critical, literary analysis….what’s overstated?, what’s understated?  Flipping paper-thin pages in search of the first, horrible and lonely draft.

a hunger to communicate

anticipation, what do they need?, what did you mean?, they already know that!, heard it a thousand times!, assumptions, presumptions, projections, truth in the negative, christian jargon. The first draft falls apart  like compost from culinary preparations.

a hunger for sacred proximity

nibbling…nibbling away at the distance between pew and pulpit, distilled words, appropriate humor, a fork and spoon through the mind, heart, into the stomach pit.   Respectful invasion, aided by the Spirit…stilling the room until internal vitality begins a unified rumbling…..THE hunger games of faith.

A congregation moves out to be the least among them….to serve, to feed to find the abundant feast that will consume them but not their hunger.

4 days until the cocoon of General Assembly in Detroit…what will emerge?

hungry caterpillar

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wiresWe are just 30 days away from the 221st General Assembly.  Privileged to be a commissioner and to stand with Kelly Allen as her vice moderator candidate, I am full of anticipation for the assembly’s work.   We Presbyterians pride ourselves on being a connectional church.   To be connectional means that our congregants do not have to travel far to find a family of faith and a familiarity in worship.  To be connectional means that we are each caring for our corner of God’s world with intentional mission and ministry.  To be connectional means that we are giving particular expression to a strong reformed tradition.

But sometimes it is easier to be connectional than at other times.   General Assembly is the place that we come every two years to regroup in our connectionalism.  You can imagine the build up.  As the particular year of an assembly approaches, our connectionalism takes on a specific intensity.   I have heard it said, that as commissioners and guests arrive to the General Assembly, it is possible to feel the conductive power that is a natural part of being connectional.  We bring our passions, opinions and anxieties alongside our joy and anticipations.   As we do, intensity runneth over the brim of our Presbyterian cup.

In the midst of this intensity, the General Assembly embraces its highest calling.  “…the assembly seeks to protect our church from errors in faith and practice, is responsible for assuring that the expression of our theology remains true to the biblical standards in our historic confessions. The General Assembly presents a witness for truth and justice in our community and in the world community. It sets priorities for the church and establishes relationships with other churches or ecumenical bodies”. 

There are gifts to being a connectional church as mentioned above.  But being a connectional church is not for the faint-hearted.  To be connectional means that we are always attending to how we conduct our shared life.   It means that we are accountable to one another and must, like apprentices to the master,   learn how to safely splice, connect and insulate all that conducts our shared life.

Prayers for the assembly are intensifying.

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