July/August 2016 newsletter

As I write this, hundreds of Presbyterians are gathered in Portland, OR for the meeting of the General Assembly (GA), and I’m reminded of how grateful I am that there are a variety of gifts of the Spirit, because I wouldn’t want to be within two hundred miles of GA.


It’s not that I don’t respect the work, and it’s not that I think GA is just a bunch of out of touch church bureaucrats.  Indeed, these are people we know, and, of our own free will, we choose them to to represent us.  And they do good, if imperfect, work while they are there.  I’m just glad I don’t have to do that work.


There are two things I hate more than most anything: long meetings, and working in groups (And you wanted to be a Presbyterian minister, you might be thinking.  Yeah, it’s strange to me, too.)  GA seems to me to be nothing more than a series of long meetings and working in groups.  Ugh, I say.  But God bless those who feel called to do such work.


If everyone in the church were like me, we would all have well-written newsletters, well-given sermons, nice heads of hair, and no patience for meetings.  As soon as someone said, “Break into small groups …,” we’d all leave the room and nothing would get done.  We’d be good in a crisis, and terrible in a committee.  We’d be excellent at improvising, less so at planning.  Thank God that everyone in the church is not like me.  


I’m grateful that I don’t, in fact, have to be “all things to all people.”  I’d fail.  And so would you.  And so would any one.  We can only be who were are, and trust that that is enough, and celebrate that the church is so big and so wide that there are always people who will answer the call to do what needs to be done.  I’m grateful that there are commissioners who joyfully and ably do the work of the General Assembly.  God bless them and their ministries.

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