The Synod train is chugging forward. We are heavy into the business. Although little has been controversial; we’ve begun to see a few people engage in what I’d call “off topic soap-boxing.” In other words, I’m noticing lines being drawn in the sand (particularly in relation to homosexuality, but also related to the conscience clauses) in areas that, quite simply, they don’t belong.
Of course, I’ve run enough meetings to know that it’s helpful, at the beginning, to be a bit flexible, and perhaps this will get some of it “out of the way” when we get to the times when it’s actually ON topic. I’m afraid, however, that it is unlikely to work that way.
I’m struck by the wise question of one of my seminarians. He noted that we’ve heard a lot about “One”ness and “Unity,” but we’ve heard nothing about what – at the core of it all – unifies us. In my opinion, being a confessional denomination, it is our Standards of Unity that should unify us. They provide, for us, he important aspects of faith and – perhaps even more importantly – help develop a communal hermeneutic of the scriptures. One of our biggest problems in the RCA is the lack of a communal hermeneutic – in other words, we do not approach the Bible in the same way. Which means, obviously, that we do not interpret it the same way or end up with the same conclusions.
Why aren’t the “scriptures” our unifying focus? Because we don’t have a common hermeneutic on them.
Why isn’t Jesus our unifying focus? Because we don’t have a common atonement theory or a common understanding of what he accomplished through his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
The Standards of Unity help answer those questions.
We had a number of great speakers this evening – one of which was an author of the Atlas of Global Christianity. At $250 I’m guessing it won’t be on my shelf anytime soon, but immensely interesting! I think they’ll be posting the talk online — if so, I’ll post a link. You’ll definitely want to check it out. Believe it or not, statistics don’t have to be boring.
The thing I’m most disappointed about is that we were supposed to receive the Commission on Christian Worship’s report and didn’t. I totally understand the scheduling reality, but I was looking forward to the commission offering it’s support to the hymnal I’ve been helping work on for the past 7 years. Tomorrow, I guess.
Grace and peace,