I love words. Beautiful words artfully placed together by the likes of Toni Morrison and Mary Oliver and Lin Manuel Miranda can change lives.
But sometimes there are too many words and this post is written after a week of reading overtures, manuals, articles, liturgies, indices, and quite a few tweets. These are my end-of-the-week thoughts about words in Church World.
- No wonder the average person thinks Church is irrelevant when we spend more time in committees discussing the use of upper case vs lower case letters than having conversations with the people around us.
- Boxed factoids are a quick read and they spark interest:
- Did you know that Presbyterians in St. Louis during the General Assembly last week bailed out over 3 dozen poor, non-violent offenders who could not pay their cash bail for minor offenses?
- Did you know that there’s an Arabic speaking Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa led by a clergywoman from South Sudan?
- Did you know that members of the PCUSA have donated over 1.5 million dollars in grants to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2016?
- Did you know that the Presbyterian Church has 220 congregations and 22 schools serving 6000 students in Pakistan?
- Long form articles go unread much/most of the time. (Are we still printing church newsletters with “musings from the pastor“?)
- We clergy like to hear our own voices. Invite Ruling Elders to talk more.
It’s been a long week of words but – the great news – is that many of those words moved people: the words of a young man who felt safe enough to come out in a room full of siblings in Christ, the words of the second Arabic-speaking woman ordained in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, the words of children asking questions at the communion table, the words of installation to new Co-Moderators of the General Assembly.
But let’s use our words wisely and sparingly. We have a lot of listening to do.
And so many times the number of words in a worship service leave me tired and catching up to allow some breathing space for the Spirit.
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