So, our General Assembly’s meeting this week in San Jose. My husband’s there, and I stayed home so that my daughter could live out her final days of being a first-grader. I’m in D.C., keeping track via the blogosphere, twitter updates, emails, and facebook status updates.
From what I can tell of the one-line testimonials, it’s been a fun GA, so far. Bruce Reyes-Chow was elected moderator. There’s a presbymergent booth and activities set up. A lot of people who have been talking a lot over the Internets are meeting each other face-to-face. As Shawn Coons twittered, “I met two of my imaginary friends so far.”
Most people who go to GA know what it’s about. We make statements as a denomination, and then we try to act on them, lobby for them, live them out. Sometimes we make big mistakes, and other times, great minds come out with some pretty amazing positions.
We’re doing what Christians have done since the first council of Nicea. Gathering to think about who we are, what we believe. Asking how we can best live out our faith in our current context. Praying and worshiping together. Asking for God’s guidance. It is often too political. It’s often frustrating. We are well aware that our statements have very little legislative muscle nationally. We often ask, “Why even bother?”
But I tell you, there is a warm and wonderful feeling when the assembly comes up with a masterpiece statement of social justice…. Words matter. And sometimes it’s important to say things, even when you know that nobody’s listening. I don’t expect anyone outside of our denomination to understand this. I’m just letting you know what it’s like.
Anyways, one of the main Presbymergent activities was the Church Basement Roadshow, a book promotion for Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Mark Scandrette. The promo was located at a Presbyterian Church about a mile away from where the GA met, so the good folks at the Presbymergent booth publicized the books, passed out hundreds of flyers, blogged positively. They bought the books, recommended the books. They put Jones’ book on display. All-in-all, they worked tirelessly getting the word out for the event.
In response to the love, Tony Jones blogged about the GA, briefly, on beliefnet:
We’ll have lunch over here before we head down to San Jose for tonight’s show. I’m looking forward to seeing how many PC(USA) pastors show up from their nearby General Assembly
I’m not sure how to respond. Is this the vestigial tail of evangelicalism? Evangelicals have spent a couple of decades putting down the mainlines, saying that we’re an irrelevant social club. But I thought we were getting beyond all that with the whole emergent movement.
I just gave it a good, old-fashioned eye rolling and moved on.
But then I went back. Perhaps it’s my sense of humor that has not evolved enough. But… you know… I do a lot of book signings. I know how much goes into them on both ends. After all the work the Presbyterians put into promoting Jones, hosting him, hyping his work… I don’t know… is it too much to ask for a little respect?