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Let’s Go! (Sermon by Rev. Fred Black)

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step into water

LET’S GO! Text: Joshua 1:10-11; 3:1-9; 13-17 I am disappointed as I grow older that I have not advanced further in mastering the fruit of the Spirit called patience. I have improved some, but I am certainly a work in progress. I may be at a red stop light and fret that it does not […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Eight (Saturday)

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Reconsider? The Saturday session is usually somewhat perfunctory. There are a lot of thank yous to the hosting city and the Committee on Local Arrangements, and other groups and individuals that worked hard on putting the GA on. And usually they approve the budget that has been mandated by the Assembly’s actions all week. And […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Seven (Friday)

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Synods. For years, the denomination has been debating/discussing the function and purpose of synods.  Synods are regional councils, made up of several presbyteries.  At one time, at the height of the corporate/bureaucratic era in the church, they were very powerful.  That was when we went to larger and fewer synods.  But for the last 30 years they have been […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Six (Thursday)

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Marriage. The big thing today was the approval of two measures intended to allow teaching elders serving in States where it is legal to celebrate same-sex marriages. The first was an Authoritative Interpretation (AI).  Some close friends of mine whom I deeply respect and admire worked on this, and I understand the reasoning. However, I do get a […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Four (Tuesday)

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 Worship            Worship on Tuesday took place in the plenary hall.  The practice of worshiping in the same place where the assembly does its business is a good one… in theory.  It will probably work better for the rest of the week, when the plenary is in session.  But on Tuesday, worship featured a […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Three.

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Lilian Daniel

GA day three began with a talk by Lillian Daniel, author of a book calledSpiritual But Not Religious Isn’t Enough.  She had a lot to say about our practices and assumptions, especially regarding communicating with those who define themselves as spiritual but not religious (sbnr).  She appears to place the blame for our cluelessness in this area […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Two. (Sunday)

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This morning I went to the breakfast sponsored by the Presbyterian Foundation, mainly because I wanted to hear the speaker, Stanley Hauerwas. Before Hauerwas came on, though, there was an excellent short video on the intentional investing the Foundation has been doing in Palestine, at the instruction of the last General Assembly.  Apparently we are providing […]

PCUSA General Assembly 221 + Day Two (continued)

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Post-denominational. In several of the reports received by the Assembly on Sunday we were asked to compare the situation today with some time in the past, like 1983, when the current configuration of the denomination was founded.  The Special Committee on the Review of Biennial Assemblies entertained us for a while with clips from that year, […]

PCUSA General Assembly + Day One.

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Worship GA 221

The assembly begins with worship.  Trying to worship in what is in effect a giant, open warehouse, with several thousand people, in rows of plastic chairs, under a ceiling of lights, hvac ductwork, and wires, is challenging.  From where I sat the “chancel” area was a rumor, with the action projected on giant screens. All the same, I […]

PCUSA General Assembly + Sidebar + Zionism Unsettled.

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One of the hot issues coming before the assembly has to do with Palestine and Israel.  The main substantive initiative concerns divestment.  Some want to sell the shares of stock that the denomination owns in three companies: Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard.  These companies make money providing to the Israelis the means by which they maintain their illegal […]