I know I’m late to this, and by now all the good, original answers are taken, but I’ve never been a big fan of originality anyhow. I’ve been tagged by Sarah Glass and Carol Howard-Merritt (whose blogs are both phenomenal and well worth visiting) in this meme started by Bruce Reyes-Chow, the Barack Obama of the Presbyterian world, and hopefully the next moderator (which is kind of like a cross between the Queen of England and the Ambassador to the Middle East) of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
- What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian? It was last summer, actually — at least seven years *after* I actually joined a presbyterian church, and two years *after* I decided to go to seminary and pursue ordination in the PCUSA: I was at the Presbyterian Evangelism Conference in Nashville, and I bought a baseball cap with the PC(USA) logo embossed on it. Branding is a big part of our culture, isn’t it? Well, now it’s my favorite hat. Guess I’m Presbyterian.
- On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time? I’m going to have to second Ryan on this one and say the ordination process. Yes, it’s probably because I’m going through it right now, but geez — 500 questions about my finances, my eating habits, my sex life, my parents, my bowel movements, all so I can pass a psychological evaluation that qualifies me to INQUIRE about going into ordained ministry???? WTFWJD??? Probably not pursue ordination in the PC(USA), I’m guessing…
- On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time? How about considering ways to start and support intentional communities? I think Rick Ufford-Chase is doing something with this, and I’m hugely inspired by Shane Claiborne’s urban monasticism.
- If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be? I could sit and think of a few, but nothing I could come up with could possibly top Sarah’s suggestion of Matthew 6:25-34. My sentiments exactly, so I think I’ll just jump on that bandwagon.
- If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why? A turtle. The Presbyterian Church is slow to change directions, but it’s steady and persistent once it does. It has a tough shell that can withstand great pressure, but sometimes we withdraw into it a bit much. Actually, maybe the PCUSA is kind of like Molly, my pet turtle. She only has three legs, so she goes in circles a lot. But I still love her tremendously. Turtles are also a pretty humble sort, and I think Presbyterians have that capacity. And at least in cartoon stereotypes, the turtle is always the nerdy, geekish creature — definitely Presbyterian.
Extra Credit: Jesus shows up at General Assembly this year, what does he say to the Presbyterian Church (USA)? Once again forgoing originality (because it’s highly overrated), I’m going to have to echo Carol here and say that Jesus always confounds me too, so I don’t know. But I know that it would be something that turned our pre-conceived notions and policies completely upside down, and it would probably be completely misunderstood by most. In fact, I think after hearing from Jesus (would we even recognize him?), we’d probably move to strip him of his credentials and have him escorted from the building. Here’s hoping that some would have the grace and humility to lay down our denominational priorities, and follow him out into the world.
So now I get to tag five people. The rules (along with an explanation) can be found here, and I tag…Chris Walker, Rhett Smith, Sara Green, Steve Chastain, Lee Wyatt, and Tara Lamont-Eastman. (Yes, I know I can’t count. What did you expect from an English major? And I would have tagged Philip Lotspeich too, but Ryan beat me to it).
One more thing: As fast (and fun) as this thing is spreading across the world of Presbyterian bloggers, I’m thinkin’ the guy who started it must be pretty visionary, pretty good at “starting things” and pretty in tune with presbyterian culture and the larger culture we’re part of. Maybe he’d make a good moderator, huh?