So here we are. The last day of actual business for General Assembly. There is much still to be done. Issues over ordination standards (it just happened and I am trying to wrap my head around it), Peacemaking (calls for issues around Israel and Iraq), Social Justice (Abortion), and several other big topics for the day. The mood here has been interesting as we look at what has happened here as a microchasm for the country. We voted a new hip ethnic moderator that had developed a very Obama-esque look. And somehow he got voted in over the conservative nominees and PCUSA standard bearers. Is there a change going on? I think so. It is time for change to happen and the younger culture is embracing it. Whether that is good or bad is anyones opinion. But what is happening is exciting as the next generations (including mine) see hope and possibilies.In that here is part of the text of Bruce’ Speech:Our Presbyterian family is not much different. We too have fears, dreams and expectations for the next generation. Brothers and sisters, I ask you tonight, as we gaze into the future,
- What are God’s dreams for the Presbyterian Church (USA)?
- What are the dreams we have for those who have yet to experience Christ through our ministry?
- What are the dreams that are even beyond our own imagination?
- What do we think is too hard or too wondrous for God?
As we try to answer these questions for our church family, we do this in the same rapidly changing world that frightens anyone striving to embrace and nurture the next generation. This is a context that is drastically different than the world and culture that you and I are used to. And while there are certainly some things in the world that need to be confronted, our church family must take seriously new ways communities interact about life, faith and culture.
- We hear voices that have moved from mere tolerance of opinion to genuine appreciation of the other.
- We see discernment that no longer demands loyalty to simplistic polemics of liberal or conservative ideology.
- We experience moments when the embracing of common values is greater than even those things that seem to be unconquerable disagreements.
- We are inspired by dreams, hope and change that are not merely lofty goals, but realities woven in the fabric of life and faith.
These are the new realties of being family and community today. If the church responds to these realities by stepping out in faith rather than clinging to survival, just imagine what our church could look like in this new day, this new world, this new time, this new opportunity to be Christ in the world.
- To be a church family that thrives more on the nature of our relationships than the number of dollars or members we report;
- To be a church family that is joined together by the covenantal bond of Christ rather than the contractual relationship of property or pension;
- To be a church family that sees God’s best in one another before being so sure of our human worst.
- To be a church family that cares more about being faithful than being right;
If we, the church, can embrace these ways of being and these ways of interacting, I have no doubt that we will be able to live into a future in which we are a vibrant and inspiring presence in the world.…For again, my sisters and brothers, my Presbyterian family, as we move into the future, believe at the core of your soul, nothing, nothing, nothing is too hard or wondrous for God. AMEN.