Generally Assembling #5

Late again.  Too much talking.  Too much plotting.  Too much absolutely no idea.

In summary:
A sunny day in Dunedin is as sunny a day as it gets.
The walk down from Knox College to the Uni this morning was a visual feast…and the buildings on Castle Street that once hosted playful students in dirty flats have been university-fied and a splendid precinct has been created.  Back in the day, a dive.  But now a thing of beauty that cannot be ignored.
What do you do on the penultimate day of the GA?  You try to rush stuff through.
What happens on the penultimate day?  Close votes, points of order, secret ballots, counts, calculators, losses and few gains.
Andrew Norton has been resurrected to be the Mod-elect.  (Mod, ex-Mod, now Mod-elect…what a week he has had!)  In his chat he wondered out loud about what many of us think – how much of any of this is going to really change anything that matters?  Of course some of it changes many things – that’s why we do meet and have to meet.  But as for the rest – the passion and the persuading over soon to be forgotten things- in my opinion it is just a whole lot of tinkering with an old engine that soaks up far too much of our time and has no fuel economy ratings.  Some people tinker with old machines as a hobby – they all seem to wear similar clothing and have facial hair like leather-clad bikers on Highway 61.  I wonder if we Presbyterians can also be spotted a mile off?
To confirm the point I am making include an image of myself…
[Mart the Rev ever so slightly chubbier than in his student days but better dressed!]

Once again Rod Wilson stole the show with the third installment in his hope series.  Two great quotes: “How did so many disembodied concepts emerge from a tradition whose central tenant is the word became flesh?”  (Parker Palmer), and, “There is no 5-step program to make the church great again.”  (or America, Donald!)

I am curious about why this Assembly has been one of the most rewarding for me.  I attended for the first time in 1982 (I was young!), and this one is on a par.  I think it comes down to discovery – you know, that wide-eyed stuff: daily wonder, provocation, stimulation, and surprise.  I have had a week of significant conversations and digging up treasure.  I will not remember much of what we decided here, just as I recall very little of what absorbed the seven much more intense days of ‘business’ in 1982.  But the people…that time and this time… yes I say – some of the best of specimens around!

Oh and yeah, this week marks the 30th anniversary of the first Assembly that attended to a recommendation on homosexuality – 1986, also in Dunedin. The 30 years of my career.  How little we have said about the things that really matter in life over those 30 years because of this hurdle we could only approach bluntly.  What an unimaginative lot we have been.  How much anguish have we caused.  How little we have gained.
But despite the wastage we have still attracted and held some startling characters in our church life.  I found these two gnomes in the gardens…Carlton Johnstone and Jordan Redding, two from what I now see as a sizeable group of very promising younger ministers.

In anticipation:
Sleep.  Fuzziness.  Finishing hurriedly.  The drive home.  She who is at home.  The soft bed.  Yes!

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