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Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.

Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.  

Charles Wiley  
Barry Ensign-George
David Gambrell
Christine Hong 
Karen Russell

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March 2, 2011

Though none go with me

Despite Jesus’ command to the contrary I have been thinking about, maybe even worrying lately, about the future of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  It seems that a lot of us have been trying to discern what God has in store for us, if the conversations around The Fellowship and Next Church are any indication.

 I increasingly believe that many of the struggles we face as a denomination are the aftershocks of our dislocation from the center of American culture.  Many Presbyterians have been so used to the congruence between middle class white American culture and the Presbyterian Church that our movement away from the center is extremely disorienting.  This disorientation causes deep confusion about identity and mission.  We are no longer the chaplain to the culture.  I spoke to a pastor recently who recounted when a particularly wealthy member of the congregation came to him and said, “when I joined this church, the mayor was a member of this church.  Two bank presidents were members of this church.  Three city council members were members of this church.  That’s why I joined this church.  Now, there is no mayor, no bank presidents, and no members of city council.  I’m leaving.” 

 We have to find what God is calling us to when we’re no longer important.  For many Presbyterians, this reality is painful and unwelcome.  But it can also bring us to a more faithful clarity about identity and mission.  Free from the expectations to of the past, we may be able to follow Jesus more closely. 

 The other night as I rested uneasily in bed, the words of a Gospel song my Holiness missionary parents taught me as a young child kept flitting through my head, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”   The second verse stuck in my head,

 Though none go with me,

still I will follow.

Though none go with me,

still I will follow.

No turning back,

no turning back.

I believe strongly that God is in the business of forming a people, and that being Christian is a communal activity.  But as we move forward in these uncertain times, we may find ourselves, from time to time, without others to join us.  As believers, congregations, governing bodies, and even as a denomination, we will find that faithfulness to Jesus Christ will sometimes feel like a lonely calling. 

We go not alone, for Christ goes before us and the Spirit is always with us, but we may find ourselves in more Gethsemane moments then triumphal entry moments.  In those cases, I pray that we have the courage to follow Jesus, though none go with us.

Categories: Current Affairs, Faith, Leadership, Religion, Spirituality , Theology, Worship