One of the things that has struck me as people have been asking me questions about the possibility of being moderator is that there is an assumption about how much I know about freaking EVERYTHING*. Now I will be the first to admit that I would like to be mediocre at a great many things, but really people, do you expect any moderator to know everything about everything, PC(USA) or otherwise?
Surely you should not.
I love the reaction to my response, "You know, I don’t know? What do you think or understand about ___________ ?"
In fact, I am one of those that thinks that we are in a dangerous place when we assume that any person in a place of leadership should or can be the "authority" beyond the requirements/duties of the position. Gone are the days when we can expect pastoral leadership to do and know everything. We have done that, and in so so so many ways, we have seen it fail. I will save it for another post, but our church must seriously reexamine our understanding of pastoral authority and leadership.
So while I will hope to get up to speed on a great many GA topics and issues to have some base knowledge and not look like a total idiot, I would much rather lift up those who have more insight, experience, and knowledge of said areas. Central to our life as Presbyterians is trusting that the will/direction of God is best discerned through the faithful interaction of groups of people.
With this thought I am released from the expectation of being able to somehow "solve" the problems of the church and freed to, through the wonder of online social networking and other media, help connect
those seeking insight with those who can best offer it. Sometimes I may indeed be able to offer insight, but with the breadth of our denominational work, 95% of the time, there will be someone who is more knowledgeable at a deeper level than I am on a topic.
I have mentioned and linked to the GA Junkie before. Dude – yes, I called a grown man "dude" – is scary with his in-depth knowledge and insights about global Presbyterianism. It is a good kind of scary mind you, but scary nonetheless. Can’t wait to meet him in person this summer.
I would also point you to the post, What is the General Assembly Council from blogger and GAC Vice-Chair, Michael Kruse. I finally met Micheal in person while visiting the Heartland and was thoroughly inspired by his sharing of the work of the General Assembly Council.
Then there are the myriad of groups that will be presenting their perspectives on General Assembly in addition to the official PC(USA) business site, www.pc-biz.org. GA2008.com is the site put together by Presbyterians for Renewal. A smooth interface focused particularly on the 218th General Assembly. One other GA specific link is the 2008 General Assembly page that the Witherspoon Society is updating as they see fit. I am sure there are more, but these are the ones that strike me right now.
So . . . while I may have some thoughts about a great many things, I think most of our learnings can, should and have to be done through open and honest conversations between those who have taken the time to offer their knowledge and passions to the larger community and those seeking to know more. When we can create these kinds of interactions, I have no doubt that we all grow in our knowledge and understanding of God.
If you know of more folks, groups or posts that would be helpful to pass along, please do let me know and I’ll try to include some links in the future.