Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why I Was There

I attended Presbytery tonight. As often happens, I sat wondering why I was there. What was my calling? Would I better be serving the purposes of the kingdom of God in a meeting in which no meeting happened, in which no relationships were nurtured and in which we did only routine business? Or would such purposes be better served by responding to my calling to be father to my three kids and husband to my wife on the evening before she leaves town for work for a week?
I appreciate the importance of the routine work: an ordination was approved, several new pastoral callings were approved, and a retirement was acknowledged. The necrology from 2008 was lifted up and we recalled all the saints who, having run their race with perseverance, are now at rest with God. Announcements were made of significant events in the lives of the faithful.
But everything that happened could have been accomplished either through virtual means, via committee work, or in one hour of stirring worship, so I wondered, why was I there?
Turns out I was a vote counter on an overture from General Assembly that the General Assembly Council be renamed the General Assembly Mission Council. Unbelievable as it seems, the voice vote on that motion was unclear and someone called for a division of the house. I don’t recall how it turned out, and I doubt that anyone who attended recalls either. Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We took extra time to count the votes on whether or not to change the name of a body whose function will not change at all!
Is it any wonder that there is a group of pastors who want to change the way we do business as a Presbytery?


Roy said...

David -

Yup, you nailed it well. My answer to the last question is, not surprisingly, no.

And your comment about alternate ways that the necessary business of "the Bishop!" could be accomplished is on point. I especially hear you raising up the issue of the vocational calling to be a father and a husband, too. Lots to discuss on that front, eg. dual vocational callings as father/husband and presbyter/pastor.

Anonymous said...

The call for division was spot on, actually. The moderator called it for "no" but it turned out to be overwhelmingly "yes."

Christian Wright said...

Indeed, but, then again, who cares?

RedeemedbyGrace said...

Why were you there?

Because you are part of a body.

Sometimes, it is valuable to simply be together. To enjoy the company of others. I'm pretty sure the person whose ordination was approved appreciate the fact that it happened at a meeting -- a real meeting with real people -- of Presbytery. I'm equally sure that the person whose retirement was acknowledged was glad that it did not happen in some virtual meeting.

And with regard to the importance of names -- some people think that the words we use are very, very important. Just look at how we obsess about not calling Gad "Father" or "Him".

Christian Wright said...

Who is this "Gad" of whom you speak? That reminds me of a paper I wrote as an undergrad, back in the days of typewriters. Through the whole thing I typo-spoonerized "God" as "Dog." I had to present the paper and I got the giggles reading my own errors. One of my finer moments, to be sure!

RedeemedbyGrace said...

You got me.

I meant "God".

But I think you already knew that.

cledster said...

but, Redeemed, wasn't your point that the word matters? Anyway, CW's comment lampooned himself far more vigorously than it did you, offering a bit of humor.