A monthly column for the PC(USA) by the General Assembly stated clerk
September 11, 2009
The default television channel at our house is HGTV. It is a channel that focuses primarily on home improvement or home replacement.
The home improvements that are featured range from a new paint job and throw pillows to major renovations. Given that the improvements generally follow a life change of the home owner, the work is usually centered on a hope that new space will mean a new way of living.
This month, the proposed new Form of Government will be available for discussion across the church. To me, this work is like a home improvement project, not home replacement.
The basic structure of our Presbyterian life together — the foundation and load-bearing walls — is all there in the proposal. What is new is the remodeled space to allow the church to move into a new life together.
Why is improvement needed?
The current Form of Government is more than 25 years old. The world in which it was created is so different from today’s world in which we minister. Multicultural understandings, personal computers — digital everything — and the all-encompassing Web have created a very different context for ministry.
So, we need to renovate our polity space. We need to knock down some walls of regulation and build room to allow newness to happen. That newness could bring some new ways of living together and some new visions for our future.
The HGTV home improvement shows usually have three parts. First comes the sharing of vision between home owner and designer. Second, the home owner’s anxiety surfaces about the changes. Finally, the project is completed.
The Form of Government revision process has had similar stages. Perhaps we are nearing the final phase. I hope you will take the time to look over the proposal carefully.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”
Let’s approach this renovation with the handle of faith.