Life moves on…

13 Sep

PROVERBIALLY SPEAKING…
“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly. If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house. Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (Prov. 17:12-14)


JERUSALEM COUNCIL to MID COUNCIL
I recently read Tod Bolsinger’s insightful BLOG entry on the PCUSA General Assembly’s negative response to the report of the Mid Council Commission Tod chaired. This seems to be another indicator of the “double, double toil and trouble” confronting us. (Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1) Many church members believe the fire is burning, and the cauldron bubbling, and the denomination cooking in its own stew.

It seems to me, however–in light of the disagreements the early Church experienced, and the contentious history of the Presbyterian Church in America–that we are doing alright. (Surprised?) But I do believe we need some ‘altitude adjustments’. No typo.

This year, our San Joaquin Presbytery may lose our 12th church. They are not leaving over local issues, or presbytery issues, but denominational disagreements. When asked his church’s position on whether to remain with PCUSA, one new young pastor responded, ‘What do these issues have to do with our ministry and mission to our community?’

Referring to the Mid Council report, Tod mentioned how, “In one sense, our hope was to give the ‘makers of the future’ a new set of tools, a new ‘shop’ to experiment in, and a new sense of permission.” To this, I believe the new young pastor would counter: “Why? We’ve already got them! We need denominational support to bring to life the visions God gives us.”

I am not unappreciative of middle management efforts. However, I believe what is needed is a refocusing by middle management on the ministry for which we exist, rather than on a realignment of our organization. More and more churches are struggling to survive. Our own presbytery faces daunting financial challenges, and probably needs to limit our ministries to what is absolutely necessary.

And, I believe, what is absolutely necessary is to help our churches share the Gospel message by living it more. Reliance on prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit more and more, daring to live for Jesus, boldly sharing with joy what the Lord is doing in our midst, should be our unwavering goals.

BACKPACKING PIX
Give this site time to load, then enjoy!

WAGON TRAIN… to the past
Our television provider offers a western channel, and the old series ‘Wagon Train’ is one of the shows available. Some of the episodes have proven interesting. My initial anticipations were ‘early television’, ‘simplicity’, ‘uncomplicated’. However, something surprising became apparent to me. There seemed to be a greater depth of characterization than I expected. Often a greater richness that is a reminder that ‘simple’ and ‘basic’ are at the heart of our human condition, regardless of how convoluted it often seems. It is not unusual that a special choice of dialogue, or a single expression, lets us enter the story more personally. I am often grateful for the quality of the writing and direction.

It makes me want to be more observant of deep feelings in the facial expressions and words of people around me.

How interesting…
that it was at this point I saw this entry from a friend’s BLOG– “The Things I Don’t Do”. A thought-provoking look at the value and use of our time. Thanks, Sarah.

And while we’re discussing values…
this graphic from ProgressiveChristianity.org through friend, Bryan.

FROM CALVIN…
“…the knowledge of God, which is set before us in the Scriptures, is designed for the same purpose as that which shines in creation–viz. that we may thereby learn to worship him with perfect integrity of heart and unfeigned obedience, and also to depend entirely on his goodness.” (INSTITUTES Book 1, Chapter 11)

Blessings on you and yours until next time,
Steve

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