I recently met up with some great folks in the Presbymergent conversation. My reformed-ness got the best of me and I started out with a confession:
Sorry to be so late. I hesitated leaning into this site for many reasons:
The main one being time sensitivity. While serving as a validated minister inthe PC(USA) for a couple years since seminary, I recently joined my practices with a historied community of Presbyterians 30 minutes north of my neighborhood as their solo-pastor (their's got to be a better word to get this point across). How I ended up there/here is a conversation for another time. But the responsibilities of pastoring a redevelopement-transformation congregation on top of buying our first family home (in our old neighborhood), my wife starting a small buisness (scrap booking), and organizing the mainline emergent/s event at Columbia have been about all I've had time for.
The secondary, underlying, reason for my being a late bloomer for Presbymergence, is the suspicion I hold for denominationally centered renewal movements. I, like many of you, have connected to the PC(USA) late in life for reasons that I can understand and ones I don't know (how/why God and God's new creation have conspired to bring me here, is still being discovered). Here are a few I have begun to articulate
1. because of the utility of the reformed articulation of faith practices (tangling Word, Sacrament, & Shape)
2. the polyvalence of a book of confessions (tangling many people/contexts)
3. the dialectical tension between tradition's handing over of belief and the openness of conscience (tangling past/future with the need to act generatively now)
But I must confess I'm brutally pragmatic about these things. I'm not so sure that being tangled to some "good thing" that does not accomplish its end, is actually that "good". At the Mainline Emergent/s thing I learned a bit more about this. We
PresbyteriansPC(USA)ers share many of the same blind spots and benfitted from Cooperative Baptist Fellows and Episcopalians, etc sitting next to us. I also learned that all the fruit the Mainline Emergent/s event brought, was intended for then; for that day/week/season. The future of missional communities in the way of Jesus will continue to necessitate the cross-pollination of the institutionally encrusted and naive, but cannot center on the cross-breading of the two. Emergence implies a comming anticipated newness, not a calculated hybrid. And so to preserve the generative and timely ethos of the Mainline Emergent/s event risks forming yet one more special interest group within the denomination and risks totalizing the naive or encrusted. In short, our dreams and realtionships get tangled up in helping the church, instead of edifying the church in her task to join the transformation of God's world.
In the seven months I've been at Church of St. Andrew I have begun to learn the need for my colleagues here to know what will happen to their our thing. The existence of an established entity creates an inertia toward seeking the future of its establishment. The church, PC(USA) included, must continually give itself away to God's creation, as Christ has for us all.
BUT, I've been reading the site and enjoy what I see. I am usually the last kid to jump in the pool or the river, but eventually I get in all the way and laugh and play. So, all that being said, I'm in. I hope that we can together seek the future of
PresbyterianismGod's creation, utilizing all of creationthe reformed tradition that can be of help- and not the other way around.
I'm still making sense of the various worlds in which I find myslef.