Generally Assembling #3

Shhh, it’s late.
A few gathered for drinks after the evening’s events and I should be in bed.

In Summary:
Well, you know, I had the idea before I came here that I am over Assemblies and that we aren’t what we once were nor what we could be, but I’m quite enjoying myself.
I’m having rich conversations left, right, and centre.
I’m enjoying the phenomenological experience of the people who wind me up – maybe I have got older, but I find myself looking at them and wondering who they are, and why they are, and what it is about me that reacts…and there is only one person I can change!
I got grumpy about the Council of Assembly Report and what I see as a lack of direction and I put my little oar in and had a poke and achieved a good outcome (for my viewpoint), and that was fun, but enough.  I am not a fan of what I can get like in this environment.
We listened to Dr Rod Wilson from Vancouver and he provoked a reflection about where people bathe around any one issue, ranging from triumphal over-confidence to disinterested boredom, and I liked the way he gently wondered about where we put our hope.  I think he named some of our stuff and I was quite inspired.  He left us from this quote from Walter Brueggemann: “Hope reminds us that the way things are (and all the extrapolations from that), is precarious and in jeopardy.  Hope reminds us not to absolutize the present, not to take it too seriously, not to treat it too honorably, because it will not last.” [from Hope Within History. p80]
So good to hold this thought as we get sucked into the Assembly machinery that elevates business as if it is urgent and as if it really matters, when in truth, most of it will be forgotten in a week, or less.
Very Rev Andrew Norton gave a fine hopeful reflection on what has become important in his term as Moderator.
RRR (Richard the Mod) seems to be handling us well, but he looks like he needs a good night’s sleep!  The obligatory treat one another with respect was explained rather well by him this time.  We can so easily diminish one another without realising what we are doing.
The highlight was the if-you-want-to-go evening graduation service and ceremony for the six Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership Interns of 2016 and the four Presbyterian Youth Ministry Interns.  The music, again, was stunning, the vibe was celebratory, and some moments brought tears, and others brought laughter.
We do some things so very very well.
So a great day.

In anticipation:
Sooner or later we are going to get into a difficult space.  Some of the issues we face divide us and there are some anxious people.  I am unconvinced we have cultivated anything like sufficient trust and faith in one another to handle these issues well, and I want it all to go away.  We have become known for our differences more than our commonality or our good works and it distresses me.
I suspect that people on all sides of these issues would say that this is not what they signed up for in the church.  But here we go again – tomorrow or the day after – here we go again.
People who live by the sword die by the sword, says Jesus, and I see a band of fighters riding into town.  I’m making a point of chatting to anyone I don’t recognise.  It’s a discipline I am cultivating.  It is becoming a highlight in my day.  Maybe it will be a sufficient practice in order not to absolutize the present.

We haven’t yet laughed at ourselves as much as we could.
I read what is above and laughter is the main absentee.
There is a holiness in playfulness.


2 thoughts on “Generally Assembling #3

  1. Thanks Marty, for a good word (or two) You have caught the feeling well and Rod Wilson’s focus this morning on ‘Lament’ rich contribution to the health of our gathering


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