As some have heard, Robin and I will be attending the swearing-in ceremonies at the presidential inauguration festivities next week in Washington DC. Needless to say, I am very excited about the opportunity and grateful for those who have made this possible both by helping with tickets, accommodations, logistics and general support. Generosity of community and connections that have been built via diverse conversations and technologies certainly abounds in the church. Tomorrow, I will post a fuller schedule of gatherings and events that I will be attending, but for now, thank you.
A few days ago I updated my Facebook Status with . . .
Bruce is in the midst of Presidential Inauguration trip planning. Yep, you heard me right, thanks to some very generous folks Mr. Moderator is Going to Washington.
. . . and within about an hour there were 20+ comments filled with good natured teasing, well wishes and surprisingly some colorful discourse about politics, my role as moderator and the church. One comment was offered by which I think raises some good questions.
Two serious questions, and I ask them respectfully and not just to be provocative. In what capacity are you going, as a private citizen or as Moderator of the PC (USA)? Can the two ever be divorced? Would you have gone if the other candidate had won? The PC (USA) is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. I pray for the wisdom of our leaders that they not give the perception that our prophetic voice is tied to only one political viewpoint. Thanks for listening, and taking these questions seriously.
Again, good questions for anyone in leadership serving in a day of expanded accessibility and technological connections be it in church communities, the public square or work life.
I’ll go backwards in responding to these comments/questions.
PC(USA) = Donkey // First, I really do try to take everyone seriously who takes the time to thoughtfully raise affirmations, challenges and questions. If you are just being silly/snide, I may need shift the level of seriousness in which I make take the comments, but in this case, these are good questions to raise in light of my trip and some Presbyterian engagements. As far as political partisanship, I think that anyone who believes that the prophetic nature of the Gospel is only spoken by one party at any given time is foolish. If we learn nothing from the cycles of our own church politics, we know that one’s take, rationalizations and justifications are built greatly upon which side of any debate one wishes to place oneself. After all, like denominations, political parties have the capacity to both live the best that God intends as well as the worst that sin can inspire. Still, I think we would be fooling ourselves as a country and church if we did not acknowledge the historic nature of this event in the American adventure. For some this event is prophetic, for others challenging and still others a great affirmation of dreams held dear.
A McCain/Palin Presidency // If given the same circumstances of being offered the opportunity to attend any inauguration, you bet.
As whom shall I attend? // This is a good question because we live in a day when it is increasingly difficult to compartmentalize our lives. This reality then raises the question of whether we can, should or want to try and draw strict boundaries around certain parts of our lives. Sure there are certainly times where something I may say warrants the “I am now speaking as __________” disclaimer and there are certainly parts of my life that no one else needs to, wants to or should know about. Still, for the most part, I embrace living in the place of tension between being fully Bruce, Private Citizen and Bruce, PC(USA) Moderator. I seem to navigate all of the pretty well on occasionally wondering if a line of disclosure has been crossed. A good example of this is that I will voucher about 50% of my expenses of this trip to my Moderatorial travel budget and Robin and I will pick up the other 50%. I will say, though, as I have talked about previously in my post, On Transparency and Leadership, I have been a huge Obama supporter for a very long time even before all this Moderator craziness came on the scene. So I am extremely excited on many levels: personally, politically, culturally socially, etc. I don’t think my support at all hinders my ability to be a positive presence as moderator, in fact, quite the opposite. By knowing where I stand along ideological and cultural spectra, folks can actually better measure and evaluate if I am being balanced and fair. So to answer this “or” questions, I say “yes” 😉
So there you have it, a little beginning conversation about my and thusly OUR trip to the inauguration. Again, I’ll post a fuller schedule of events tomorrow.