General Reflections – March 2017

Engage – Encourage – Equip

I – Don’t – Know

Two sets of three words – two ways of describing the work of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery – two ways forward for us as a mid council and as a denomination.

I don’t want to stay on this point for too long, for fear that you will all start identifying your own three words!  But I do want to say that I believe that we, as a Presbytery, are in a good position as we move forward into the next several years.

I had to admit to someone late last week that I was having trouble focusing my thoughts for my remarks today.  I think I finally figured out why – I don’t know!  I know what we, as a Presbytery, are about.  I understand what the things are which we are supposed to be doing, how we are to serve our congregations and leaders, how we need to apply our limited resources to an ever-growing list of needs.

Part of what you ask me to do as your General Presbyter is to participate in forums beyond the bounds of this presbytery.  Frankly, that is one of the privileges of serving this Presbytery – the opportunity to listen in on conversations about what other parts of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are thinking and doing.  It’s also exciting [Read more…]

General Reflections – Sept ’16

Seventeen years ago I stood here, the unwitting recipient of an assault worthy of 21st century presidential campaigns.  Speaker after speaker arose that Saturday morning to proclaim the campaign’s new slogan.  The immortal phrase, forever now a part of the historic fabric of this presbytery, was that such meetings were “mind-numbing and soul-sucking!”

I offer this historic reminiscence partly in jest, as few of the ringleaders of that assault are in this room or even in this presbytery so many years later.  But there is another reason to remember these withering words.  They do define the modern assumption about meetings – not just presbytery meetings, but meetings in general (and, if we’re not careful, even our worship services).  It’s not that we need to adopt the secular MTV soundbite culture – all entertainment all the time.  But we need something.  [Read more…]

General Reflections – March 2016

Soren Kierkegaard told a marvelous little story:

“Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper pews.  The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible.  He reads to them:  “Ducks!  God has given you wings!  With wings you can fly!  With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles.  No walls can confine you!  No fences can hold you!  You have wings.  God has given you wings and you can fly like birds!”  All the ducks shouted, ‘Amen!’ [Read more…]

General Reflections – June 2015

Like many of our churches, which get copies of newsletters from other congregations, I receive copies of docket packets, newsletters, and the reports of the presbytery leader from a number of presbyteries across the country.  Some are fascinating, and lead me to print or highlight a particularly good idea that might spark healthier ministry here in Eastern Oklahoma.  Some are [Read more…]

Understanding General Assembly

There have been many blog posts and news stories about the actions at General Assembly.  To help your congregation understand what did and didn’t take place, here is a letter and a couple of documents for your use.  The bulletin insert from The Presbyterian Outlook may be used in bulletins, newsletters, emails to your congregation members and your church web site.

Read these documents carefully and prayerfully, and let’s begin the conversation. Please keep comments respectful. Click on the link below for the letter and documents.

Letter regarding GA actions