Next time you see Jim Reid, thank him. His report to the synod yesterday was dynamic, punchy, graphic — and on time. He got all the talking points and more in. This observer usually dies when power point comes on the screen, but Jim used it extremely well (an example of how this technology helps to condense a lot of information in a short time).
How that played would be tested in the twenty advisory groups that met throughout the afternoon. The advisory group I attended voted strongly for the first recommendation — for “open space” — but voted against the second recommendation — the one that would prepare the changes for the new “middle judicatory.” However, informal surveys showed that mine was the only group that voted that way. It’s too soon to tell how it will all work out.
In other news, the worship Saturday morning was inspiring and on target. Jackie Lewis’ sermon was exegetical, practical, and engaging. So — something like Reformed worship finally (and dare I say it, from the “old east.” Isn’t that an irony, that it takes someone from our part of hte world to read the Bible in church!).
The evening’s session largely dealt with Christian Action. The most depressing moment was the refusal to vote against the war in Iraq. More disheartening to this observer was the lack of historical knowledge. One delegate remarked that the synod has never taken a stance against war (!). As long time synod observer, I remember the days (here we go!) when folk would line up at the microphones passionately to argue against the war. Maybe one voice did so last evening. I guess “missional” means something other than what I thought. There went Amos, Luke, James to say nothing of Calvin, Barth, Martin Luther King, Jr. (and Van Ruler).
Today Belhar will be introduced and discussed. Two theologians from South Africa, including Russel Bottmann, will address the synod. In my opinion, this is the most important business facing the General Synod.