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Who is Our Neighbor?

As suggested in this column last week, we have an obligation to reach out to those Christian brothers and sisters in our own fold who for whatever reason have become distant or estranged — either by our action, or theirs, or by both — before we go to the Table of our Lord.

Going to the Altar

The claim has recently been made in this space that God has given the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) a moment of grace, following years of intense warfare, in which we have an opportunity to rethink who we are called to be and what God is calling us Presbyterians to do in the new century — to rekindle our commitment to Jesus Christ and to reinvigorate our mission to the world for which he died.


September is here: the beginning of a new school year for many (both religious and secular); the celebration of Labor Day, honoring laborers of every kind and their labor; and, for the first time, the remembering of the awful events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, a day of infamy which the people of this nation will long remember.

A Moment of Grace

God has given the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) a moment of grace to dream new dreams, to see new visions, to lay aside the weapons of warfare, and to rethink mission and strategy on a truly grand scale.

At the end of a quarter century of nearly continuous contentiousness, it is as if a boil has been lanced, followed by an experience of relief, a weary contingent of God’s people wanting to move beyond the trenches that divided and to move forward into a future of obedience and service.

Accomplishments of the 214th General Assembly

In advance of the meeting of the 214th General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, conventional wisdom held that there would be very little real work to be done since virtually all matters relating to human sexuality were off the table this time around.

As it turned out, though, commissioners not only did real and important work, they even dealt effectively with a few sexuality related issues.

An Holy Assembly

For weeks The Presbyterian Outlook has expressed editorial hopes that the 214th General Assembly would be a Pentecost Assembly — one in..

Continual Repentance

If something new and wonderful is to happen at the 214th General Assembly it will certainly involve repentance — lots of it — a commodity that has been in very short supply for a very long time in our church.

Repentance involves sincere confession and a turning around — a turning from ourselves and our own interests to God and God’s interests.

A Pentecost Assembly?

This space has been devoted in recent weeks to the shape of a new church which is arising in our midst as a consequence of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit is the active agent in everything that happens in the church — indeed, in the world.

Our eyes are accustomed to seeing things as they have always been — or, at least, have been within our span of memory — and it is so difficult to perceive and to understand new shapes and forms of divine activity that are right in front of our face.

What Will the New Denomination Look Like?

If we as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to become what God wants us to be, then we will have to alter radically our way of thinking about ourselves as a denomination and the way we conduct our business.

First, we will focus on our own particular congregation, and pour tremendous energy into its mission and, even more important, the mission of each member in the world.

How Connected Must a Presbyterian Church Be?

Two things define us as Presbyterians, beyond the fact that we are a church governed by elders, gathered in an ascending series of governing bodies: we are a confessional (or at least aspire to be!) church and a connectional church.

Two weeks ago this column was devoted to discussing the perplexities of being a confessional church in a time of widespread biblical and theological illiteracy.