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Saturday, June 07, 2008

interview with bruce

PCUSA moderatorial candidate, Bruce Reyes-Chow, posted an invitation on his blog: anyone could ask him 3-5 questions and he would answer promptly if they would agree to post his responses on their blog. I took Bruce up on this and his answers follow. He is one of four moderatorial candidates. The moderator is the highest elected position in the Presbyterian Church USA and the term of service is two years.

BRUCE'S DISCLAIMER: These responses are done in a free-flow manner as if we were sitting at a cafe sharing a cup of coffee and are not edited or vetted in the same manner as with official publications.

ROBERT'S REJOINDER: Man, I could go for a cup of coffee right now.

Robert: Jesus said that we are the "light of the world" - what does that mean to you?

Bruce: One of the things that this means to me is that we must be the presence of Christ in the world in a way that creates place of peace and calm in a time what is filled with so much chaos and anxiety. When Christ calls us into community we are to be like Christ with a peace-filled spirit. This does not mean that we avoid tension and conflict as if peace was simple the absence of those things, but rather we lie into the complex nature of Christ to be appropriately pastoral, prophetic and/or priestly. When we can do this well, we are the light of the world. When we forsake this we contribute to the building up of that which does not wish for the light to shine.

Robert: What is your favorite thing and biggest challenge about being a father to three girls?

Bruce: I look at the world differently having the privilege of raising three daughters. Glimpsing the world through the eyes of my daughters is both incredible daunting as well as amazingly hopeful. My favorite thing about raising my girls - although most parents would probably say the same thing - is also the most challenging. I am deeply grateful to wake up each day knowing that each child has been uniquely created by God in pretty much every way. They keep us on our toes when we start to think we have this parenting thing down. Each requires of us different ways of parenting that best meets each child where they are and how they have developed in personality and spirit. Raising these three only enhances the awe I have towards God in the way God meets each of us.

Robert: If you are not elected as moderator, what have you learned in standing for moderator that will impact your ministry as a local pastor?

Bruce: Things are not as bad as many want and need us to think it is. Yes, there are certainly some pockets of deep tension and conflict, but I truly believe that a large part of the church would and could move beyond some issues that they believe are not essential and get on with being the church in the world. Unfortunately our church and larger culture in many places are still stuck having loyalty to ideology and/or are part of organizations that are based solely on winning and losing on a particular issue. This is a model of community that may have had its time, but i think now does more harm than good for the sole reason that now, many folks only know how to exist in the church when in an adversarial mode of being. This does not mean that conflict and tension could/should be avoided, but simply that the level of energy and/worth we assign to those interaction must be measured against our call to be Christ in the world. I think many of us know this, are living in out local contexts and I for one, elected or not, have been emboldened that the church I now serve is doing some good and Godly work.

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