The Excitement Begins at GA 2014!

The commissioners have been working very hard. I just walked into my hotel room and it’s 10:30 pm. My room service dinner is on the way! (The “official” commissioners dinner was cut short tonight, and I missed it due to some politicking.) So again, I am just going to report the facts – with an interruption for dinner! 

The first important business: how about that USA win in the World Cup? Wow!

On Sunday most commissioners went to local churches. I sat in my room most of the morning waiting for a call from a fellow commissioner who wanted me to sign a commissioners resolution regarding a day of conversation and prayer with Jewish, Muslim and Christian (both Israeli and Palestinian) leaders. I met her at the tracking booth, filled out the paper work and signed my name. The resolution eventually passed the Middle East Committee and was adopted by the General Assembly. Yippie!

Sunday afternoon was filled with reports that were mandated from the last assembly. Good stuff, but most of the reports were READ by monotone speakers. (A resolution to condemn drones is coming later in the week. Get it?) Most commissioners were bored.

Committee meetings started Sunday night and ran through Tuesday night. This is when the assembly seems to have gone silent. Nothing really happens until committee reports start coming in late on Tuesday. On Tuesday we found out that the “hot button” issues were approved in committee and will be coming to the floor of the General Assembly. We WILL vote on same-gender marriage – sort of, and we will be asked to vote on a resolution to divest from companies whose products are used by the Israelis on the West Bank and Gaza. Lost is those media-friendly stories and a thousand great things the church is doing.

My committee was Committee 13 – Theological Issues and Institutions. While our work was not very trying or very hard, it was tedious and we did some great things! We approved the new President of Princeton Theological Seminary, Craig Barnes. We gave theological education awards to Jack Rogers and Cynthia Campbell. Our committee approved the Belhar Confession, which we will send to the floor for full approval. And we approved the study of a new, lighter, more friendly Directory of Worship. I had the honor of being the first one to raise my hand to approve the Belhar Confession, so I made the actual motion. Historic!

[Our committee report was the first one, and I am pleased to say that all of our recommendations were accepted.]

Moderator Heath Rada (nic-named “Moder-ada) and his vice Larrissa, who’s last name I need to remember, are doing a great job!

Oh, I almost forgot, but worship on Monday, led by Lillian Daniels, exceeded my expectations. She is the author of the book and blog Spiritual but Not Religious. She said a lot of things that are true of our age and helpful. I will try to find a copy of her remarks.

Dinner is here ……. good night from Detroit! (Red Wings still suck!)

John

 

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