One of the benefits of blogging is expanding your circle of acquaintance into a much wider world. It just occurred to me that because of QG, I will get to read the responses and reports of a bunch of fellow Presbyterians that I would never have known about--but for the blog.
So a big shout-out goes to Cheesehead,and St. Cassarole ,(who are rooming together!) Russell Smith (of The Eagle and The Child), and Will Spotts (of The Truth In Love Network). Say hi to my commissioners from New Covenant Presbytery if you see them at General Assembly. Look for Rev. Wendy Bailey of My Backyard, who is attending as an observer. I'm looking forward to reading your on-the-scene reports, if you are able to post!
There are so many things on the agenda, that you can't follow them all. My particular interests are the PUP report and the overtures on the divestment issue. I mentioned the PUP report in yesterday's post, and it is probably the number one focus of concern for most Presbyterians.
My interest in the anti-divestment movement comes from the fact that a number of people from New Covenant Presbytery who I respect, traveled to Israel, listened and talked to Israelis and Palestinians alike, and returned home with a well-reasoned overture to reverse the anti-Israel divestment policy of the 2004 General Assembly. It was passed overwhelmingly and will be acted on during the GA.
The text of the overture is available here--see pages 16 to 19 of the pdf file.
The goal is to turn the denomination from a punitive approach against the Israelis to seeking investments in the area that would either increase job opportunities for both Israelis and Palestinians, develop more social and health care infrastructures, rebuild homes, businesses destroyed by conflict and fund collaborative ventures between the two groups. There are a number of other overtures on this subject on both sides of the issue that will be considered by the committee in charge of deciding what to report out to the GA for a vote.
The divestment policy passed at the last GA must be changed--it has had, and will have, no positive outcome for anyone. It angered many, many faithful Presbyterians who cannot imagine why their church would side against Israel and with the anti-American, anti-Christian forces of the Palestinian extremists. Most Presbyterians are sympathetic to Israel. This policy is seen by them as anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-democratic.
There's no way that relatively small amount of investment that the PCUSA has in any company that some activists are targeting makes any difference to those corporations. It's another example of the arrogance of some of our denominational leadership who insist on dragging the church into the international political arena to make a controversial symbolic stand. The church does not need any more of this pointless divisiveness.
Will Spotts, of Truth in Love Network, is focusing on the anti-divestment overtures. He is observing GA as a member of The End Divestment Now Committee. If this issue is important to you, check his blog for updates this week. Will has spent a lot of time, energy, research and travel on this issue and is far more knowledgable about it than me. I'm just reporting the person-in-the-pew response that I am hearing in my part of the world.
Meanwhile, the big order of business today is the election of a new Moderator, who will serve for the next 2 years. Apostle John predicts the election of Joan Gray, of Atlanta. Tonight we'll see how good a pundit he is!