Saturday, July 7, 2012

Watching the PC(USA) GA

Like many Presbyterian polity geeks, I'm sitting home watching the PC(USA)'s 220th General Assembly via streaming video.

You may have heard of a few things going on:  Israeli Divestment, same sex marriages.    I"m not going to review them here, except to say they both lost, and your local paper may not have the full information, nor the expertise to understand what our polity is all about.

No, this blog entry is about the overall BLOAT of the General Assembly docket, as well as the bloat of the number of advisory committees that give orders advice to the various committees that review the overtures sent in by the presbyteries.

These advisory committees weigh in on almost every overture that comes in, and it makes you wonder what some of them are doing putting out an opinion on an overture that really has no relationship to the area they are supposed to be advising on.

Today, I watched as the discussion of same sex marriage started three hours late.  This was due to the battle over divestment the night before.   The GA plenary schedule was already 3 or 4 hours behind by the time they started the SSM deliberations.   In the middle of all of it, they had to break for dinner.

They came back, and went for another two hours.    As I finished watching for the night at around 12 midnight, they were still going over another committee's report.    OK, I get it, every GA commissioner has a right to express an opinion, and to propose amendments, but good grief .. please be prepared.       Then you have the commissioners who ask for some clarification by calling on the resource  person from an advisory committee.   Oh great, lets just have the staffers do the testimony, deliberation and decisions then.

Then you have the Young Adult Advisory Delegates ... !!  Yes, I realize that its good to have the voices of youth at the GA, but how are these kids selected?  Most have no grounding on Scripture (a lot of what I heard is of the well, the Jesus I know'  type of response), and hardly any Polity knowledge.     These kids are the ones most easily swayed by the personal feeling types of arguments used by many of the liberals.

Even so .. none of this would be an issue, if it weren't for the sheer number of these overtures coming from the Presbyteries.  The number of overtures for the Social Justice committee is staggering, then you have the others change in Polity .. Church Orders .. and so on.

Which is why, over the past three or four GAs that I've watched, the last night of the GA always lasts way past midnight so that all the business can get accomplished.  And for what .. pronouncements by the PC(USA) to tell Iran to play nice with its neighbors.    Oh yeah, I can just imagine the Ayatollah saying to himself Gee, the Presbyterians of the PC(USA) are upset with what we're doing, I'll have to fix that right away." !!      Hey guys .. GET A CLUE .. the days when people paid attention to what the PC(USA) said are long gone.  In fact, they were way before the PC(USA) was born during the merger.

Looking at the GAs of the EPC, PCA .. even our spiritual cousins, the Church of Scotland, and Free Kirk of Scotland.     They don't have these late night sessions, they don't even have staffs 1/4 the size of ours.      Yet they get things done, decently and in order.  and, in the case of the Church of Scotland, actually get ahead of themselves so they can call a free afternoon in the middle of a GA.

But I guess that's what happens when a denomination gets more worked up about calling on parents to stop spanking their kids, than spreading the life changing Word of God to a nation, a world that is looking for the Truth.

Then again, this GA affirmed that the denomination has many interpretations of Scripture, so no one should prevail.    As Pilate said .. What is truth?   In the PC(USA) we don't have the ONE any more.

... and so it goes.

1 comment:

  1. Having just come from the two-day EPC GA where it was announced that we have grown from 182 congregations at the time of the 2007 GA to 364 five years later to the day, and where we spent more time in prayer and worship than on business, I could not follow what was going on at the PC(USA). It finally dawned on me that it was just a bunch of people in love with their own voices, playing by Little League rules (everybody gets to play at least one inning).


I'm not one to moderate comments, as I try to moderate my own at other blogs. That said, I will remove offensive, defaming and otherwise inappropriate comments when needed.