The rumor mill has been churning, cryptic inquiries sent, conversations held about this "thing" people have been hearing about Bruce. With the publishing of this blog post this is the first public acknowledgment of what folks have been hearing and is intended to be a way to be transparent and upfront about Bruce’s future endeavors.
‘Tis true, Bruce has lost his mind and is now, not only referring to himself in the 3rd person, but is seriously considering standing for the office Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to be held, June 2008 in San Jose CA.
Wow is right.
And now back to the first person . . .
First off . . . apologies to those readers who are not at all interested or involved in the inner-workings of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Much of what follows is a bunch of Presbyspeak. Should I move forward in the process there will be much more background info given regarding the nature of this office, my intentions, my qualifications, it’s repercussions, etc.
The first step has been taken towards this possibility as I will be one of the four clergy names submitted by the Presbytery Nominating Committee to San Francisco Presbytery on November 17th to be a commissioner to General Assembly. Nominations from the floor will be taken and then at our next meeting on January 15th, 2008 four clergy commissioners will be elected. If I am elected as one of the four, I will then seek the endorsement of San Francisco Presbytery to stand for Moderator.
Should all things fall into place, and again none of these steps is a foregone conclusion, there will be much to be worked out and plenty of ways for folks to get involved in the process. But again, first things first, the San Francisco Presbytery process must play itself out.
Until then, here are some initial thoughts to help you get to know a
little about what you could expect should I
be elected as Moderator of the 218th General
Assembly of the PC(USA). It is also my hope that, if you are a voting member of San Francisco Presbytery, this may inform your decision regarding my candidacy.
Main Area of Focus
I believe the formative question for our denomination right now is, "What kind of church are we going to be in the future?" At this point in our life we need to be intentional about confronting some of the questions that will define our future as a denomination. I also believe that the questions before us are greater than the specific issues that are currently drawing most of our denominational energy. We must take seriously global, cultural and worldview shifts that are forcing us to rethink the very nature of community, church and denominations if we are not simply to survive, but thrive in the future.
I am not ready to give up on our beloved Presbyterian Church (USA). Over the years, this denomination has raised and formed many of us; it has a rich and grounded heritage and it has been a faithful and healing manifestation of the body of Christ in the world. So many have poured their lives into the mission of the PC(USA) that it deserves our intentionality and commitment to discerning its future impact on the world.
My passion for the role of denominational life is built on the bold belief that if we are to thrive as a denomination, tradition must be embraced and valued while at the same time radical transformation encouraged and unleashed.
If we live into that idea and posture of ministry, I believe we can
enter into conversations that are built on our common experiences and the future of our life together can be discerned with
Specifically I would want to focus on the creating space for conversations regarding the following areas:
the importance of urban, small and emerging congregations;
Questions for thought . . .
do we see as our role and mission in society today? What is our role
in the midst of the turmoil of the world? How do we live out
evangelism in light of shifts in cultural understanding of the world
and faith? Do we see the future of the church with eyes of defeat and
cynicism or a posture of hope and possibility? What will pastoral
leadership look like in the face of changing congregational models?
the challenge of submitting to healthy disagreement
Questions for thought . . .
will we live out the centrality of Christ in the midst of great
disagreement and division? Can we model to the world healthy
disagreement, focused on a common truth for each of us? Can we live
with multiple understandings of the purpose and manifestations of the
church? Who is Christ for each of us and the whole? Is there only one understanding of the nature of Christ?
the realities and possibilities created by technology, globalization and a shift in worldview
Questions for thought . . .
will we be a presence of peace in a world that is in so much chaos?
What opportunities for strengthening community, encouraging
transformation and doing relevant ministry does technology and social
media provide for us? How can we shift from a culture of being a
church based on methodology and "DOing" to a church based on
relationships and "BEing" church.
Obviously there is much to be fleshed out, shared and explored should I be endorsed by SF Presbytery, but I in no way want to make any assumptions about the future and the election and endorsement by San Francisco Presbytery. My hope is that over the next few months, in addition to enjoying the Advent season, I will be focused on the movement of San Francisco Presbytery.
So . . . if you are part of the SF Presbytery process please let me know if you have any questions, want to know of ways you could help build support and/or just want to have coffee and talk. While this is in many ways an overwhelming prospect, the nature of my ministry, local or denominational, will always be built on healthy and appreciative relationships.
In the mean time, please feel free to wander around my blog, connect with me on Facebook and/or start up some conversations on your own about any or all of the areas that are mentioned above. The adventure has begun and I look forward to the next few months of conversation with you all.
For your clicking pleasure:
- Presbyterian Church (USA)
- 218th General Assembly
- Moderator Election Guidelines
- Moderators on Wikipedia
And some of my favorites posts to get to know me:
- Letters to My Daughters
- Why Bruce Will Stay Presbyterian
- Blogging as Spiritual Discipline and Pastoral Practice
- Top 1 Reason PC(USA) Churches are Dying a Slow, Painful, Sad, Drawn-out Death and Other Happy Thoughts;
- Myths of Postmodernity and the Emergent Church (Presbyterian Outlook)