I just returned home last night after spending a week at Disney World. No, it wasn’t exactly a vacation. It was all work. Well, sorta. I was there to participate in the General Assembly of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America.
General Assembly is always a good time to catch up with old friends who are scattered across the country, and occasionaly across the seas. It is a time for some practical tune-ups, learning through seminars and discussions. But ultimately it is a time to do the administrative and directive business for the PCA. It is one week each year set aside to free us to more effectively do hands-on ministry for the other 51 weeks. It is a time to check the course we are headed and to compare it to the seas we need to navigate and determine if we are still heading wisely in the right direction.
The nature of the assembly is often advesarial. People have different opinions and we have to come to some definitive conclusions. Sometimes, because of our sinfulness, it gets ugly. Other times, due to the hours of parlimentarly procedure (I liken it to ecclesiastical C-SPAN) it is painfully dull. But still, it is important. It is a privilege to be able to participate.
So how did it go this year? I am still trying to sort that out in my mind. Overall, I am inclined to believe, it went well, despite the fact that I am on the minority side of the most significant issue facing our denomination – the role of women in the church. We are a Body deeply divided on that issue. Yet the debate, depite a few stupid comments by a couple of guys on the other side of the issue, lacked the ugly rancour that has sadly been evident in some past debates. For that I am glad.
While I continue to sort out my thoughts about our recent GA, I found Joel Belz’s thought to be insightful and reflective of where I probably am. Interestingly, Belz begins by saying:
“The Presbyterian Church in America is a deeply divided body. And some of us couldn’t be more hopeful.”
That may sound odd, but I think it is true.
Check Out the rest of Belz’s article: Closing Comments on the 37th General Assembly