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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

marooned with presbymergent

Several folks have asked when I am going to post about General Assembly. It's coming... it is an inordinate amount of material, action, and implication to try to process, and I'm just now (Wed) rested enough to begin that process. "Oh, come on," you say, "You can't be too tired to say SOMETHING."

With the promise that I am working on my church newsletter tonight and will hopefully post that content later tonight, here is the story behind my slowness in posting on GA.

Marooned with Presbymergent

During the eight days at General Assembly, I typically was out at official stuff until 10 or 10:30, then attended and led worship at the "joint renewal network" evening meetings, which ran close to midnight once the plenary sessions began. Starting on the first day of the Assembly, I also became strongly convicted that I should submit a commissioner's resolution, which required several hours of writing and follow-up each day. With all this, I got to bed most nights around 2am, and then would wake up at 6:30 or 7:00 for the next day. On the last two nights of the Assembly, I was up even later getting my comments ready for when that resolution came to the floor.

GA ended on a Saturday. The previous night I got 4 hrs. sleep. I flew out around 1:30 p.m. and was supposed to fly to Dallas/Ft. Worth, then to Knoxville, TN, where I would drive on to Montreat to lead worship at the Christian Life Conference.

We left San Jose on time, but within an hour were informed that there were problems with the right engine and we would have to land in LA. We did so rather quickly, and saw a whole line of fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars (at least 7-8 total) speeding out to our runway and then following us into the gate. We sat in the plane for about 30 min., then were told that we could get off - it would take 1 1/2 hrs. to service the engine. Eventually we got back in the air... to arrive at D/FW about 4 hrs. late (near midnight). By the time I waited in line to get a new connection and a hotel room, it was about 1am. By the time a shuttle came and took me 20 min. away to the hotel, and I waited in line there, I crawled into bed at 3am. My alarm went off at 5am to catch the shuttle back for a 6:30 boarding time. We were re-routed through Charlotte to Asheville, which was closer to Montreat... but the luggage still went to Knoxville, which is about 2 1/2 hrs. from Montreat.

So, I arrived to lead worship at Montreat with 5 hrs. sleep in the last two days, the same clothes I had worn for 48 hrs., no contacts (they were in the suitcase) and a 3 hr. time change just to stir the pot a little extra. Needless to say, I was pretty gone and more than a little disoriented.

I did finally reunite with my clothes, and last night slept a good 8 hrs. or more... so today was the first day I've been well rested and begun to process all that happened at GA. And a LOT happened at GA, even beyond the headlines and "hot issue" votes. I hope to share that soon through this blog as well as locally at my church.

One final note - this adventure was made bearable by sharing all of it (well, not the hotel) with Karen Sloan. Paul Detterman, the director of PFR, had talked Karen into going to the Montreat conference, though Paul ended up taking an earlier flight. I enjoyed visiting with Karen and hearing more about her life, calling, and ongoing ministry with Presbymergent. If you don't already know her, I think you'd find her story fascinating. She has a website HERE; she wrote a book which I read on the plane (and people around us heard us talking and asked for one) - it is called Flirting with Monasticism - read the reviews on Amazon... it's truly a captivating story. While I don't use much of the lingo of the emergent (or missional) church, Good Shepherd does share much in common, while staying rooted in the evangelical stream of Presbyterian Christianity. I enjoyed swapping stories with Karen about her experiences and my own at Good Shepherd.

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