It has been a quiet week from General Assembly. There was a Hands and Feet: Youth Rising Event. There has been Bible Study, in a pre-recorded session. There really hasn’t been much happening. And that is the summary of GA so far: there hasn’t been much happening.
Of course this was the plan. With a pandemic and a virtual GA came a simplified docket and schedule, and dealing with only essential business. This GA is shaping up to be the quietest GA ever. Of course that could change with the plenary sessions tomorrow and Saturday. We will see.
One could look at this as a great gift. One could also look at it as a missed opportunity. After all, we as a denomination could have convened General Assembly virtually a couple months ago, descended into a virtual world of elaborate committee meetings, and come at the work in a remarkably different way. This would have been refreshing and exciting. It could also have produced bold, dynamic, or even daring legislation to move the church in profound new ways. This would probably have created for a lot of fireworks, and most certainly brought legal challenges – at a ground-level, i.e. whether or not this virtual meeting was even legal.
So ultimately I side (as you might suspect a good Presbyterian would) with trusting our process and the recommendations of the committees that crafted this trajectory. I trust the Holy Spirit is at work, paring down work in order for our hopes and dreams to blossom and flourish in other ways.
Of course, we will see. God may yet have some surprises in store.
In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the quiet day of General Assembly (in fact there are NO events scheduled today).
And to those commissioners who may be suffering from dashed hopes or feelings of guilt, lament, or longing, rest in this thought: you elected two of the most amazing people in our denomination. Greg is a visionary pastor at his church, and I trust will continue to be that for us on a national level. Elona has been one of the strongest champions for racial justice and equity that I have ever known. You elected them. And they will be God’s megaphone into this daring new post-COVID world we will soon find ourselves in. If that is all you did, you did enough. They will embody the theme of this Assembly for you: Lament to Hope. They will carry the mantle of racial justice forward for you. They will heal divisions and shower the church with grace for you.
Below are a couple pictures of Cathi King, our Teaching Elder Commissioner, as she works from home earlier this week. In fact in the bottom picture you can see her celebrating on Zoom right after Greg and Elona were elected on the first ballot.
She and Tom (who was featured in a previous blog) along with Chloe our Young Adult Advisory Delegate, will take up their work tomorrow for a long day that may go well into the night. Pray for them, and for all our commissioners. Also feel free, to join in, by watching at ga-pcusa.org. Opening Worship at 11am on Friday.
May God grant us the grace of His way forward.
Hey Matt, Jerry Otis here. It has been a while. I recently discover that you had moved toOhio. Please, do not become a buckeye fan. Sooners forever!! I have a passing thought. I read some time ago an article by a black economist Thomas Sowell ( I think). He said something like that in the forties the black communities were making progress. A small percentage of the communitieshad a single parent families. That there were was a large percentage of two member black families. That a large per percentageof blacks were employed. That there was a small percentage of children were being born out of wedlock. Then along camethe war on poverty enacted in 1964. The government had good intentions but like most government intentions they eventfullycause more harm than good. Since the War on Poverty, the government has spent close to 26 Trillion dollars and has not reduced the percentage level of poverty since the law was enacted. I also heard sometime ago, a black scholar, who I think his name is James Brown. He suggested that the black capitalist should use some of their money to improve the black communities and to sponsor programs that teach values such as education and social values. There are plenty of very successful black people, i.e. athletic, business, government, etc. What I thinking is that the blackcommunities need to organize themselves to teach and to support one another in making progress socially and politically. We have enoughlaws today to help folks but until people themselves take on to help one another and to “Do unto others as you would do onto yourself,” no or little progress will be made. We must remember that the human race was and is created in the image of God. To quote, ” Let usmake man in our own image.”
The Christian church is a valuable entity to teach eternal values and to practice what the Church teaches. The Good news must be proclaimed.
Just a thought Matt. I remember I could talk freely with you. I hope my thoughts sound some what reasonable and do not offend. God continue to bless you in your work. Jerry
It is good to hear from you Jerry. And we agree on a number of things…I think the war on poverty didnt have the outcomes we were looking for…but I think sin crept in there (i.e. lots of greed and white privilege)