Change

Posted by Scott Foster on

I went to bed last night with a House floor full of Democratic representatives doing a sit-in for firearms reform. Defying the House rules. House Speaker orders the cameras turned off in the chamber.

Enter Facebook.
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Rep. Cory Booker (and others, I’m sure) made sure his live stream on Facebook was operating. This is how I found out about it. Soon after the traditional TV cameras were shut off, C-SPAN picked up all the streaming feeds and these interesting times in American history were broadcast out all over the country. I think they finally wrapped it up around 3 this morning (Thursday).
 
This sort of clamor isn’t unusual in the House. The Senate is typically a little more reserved. But the House is long known for candor, passion, and emotion.
 
Did you see the movie, “Lincoln?” Tommy Lee Jones plays Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, a very powerful and colorful character of a congressman. (It’s Tommy Lee Jones, of course.) Whether or not the screenwriters got this factually correct or not is out of my wheelhouse. But I do appreciate how they captured the temperature of the room during congressional debate in the mid 19 Century:
 
Thaddeus Stevens: How can I hold that all men are created equal when here before me stands, stinking, the moral carcass of the gentleman from Ohio? Proof that some men ARE inferior, endowed by their maker with dim wits, impermeable to reason, with cold, pallid slime in their veins instead of hot, red blood! YOU are more reptile than man, George, so low and flat that the foot of man is incapable of crushing you!
 
George Pendleton: How dare you!
 
Thaddeus Stevens: Yet even YOU, Pendleton - who should have been gibbetted for treason long before today - even worthless, unworthy you ought to be treated equally before the law! And so again, sir, and again and again and again, I say, I do not hold with equality in all things, only with equality before the law! 
 
I have it on good report that much cooler heads are functioning on the floor of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (United States of America)!
 
The Belhar Confession was approved last night! It’s the first change to the Book of Confessions since the reunification of the northern and southern branches of the Presbyterian church in 1983 (the split occurred over slavery before the Civil War). It’s a great moment in our history as Belhar sprung from the egregious human rights violations during apartheid in South Africa.
 
We’ll be taking Behlar out for a spin (and the other confessions, too) in our Affirmations of Faith from time to time during worship right here at PCM. Watch for us to mine our heritage as Presbyterians! We’ll explore the depths of our theological forebears even as we go forward in the newness of our redevelopment.  One of the only constants in the Presbyterian church is change. 
 
Ecclesia reformata, sempre reformanda.
The church reformed and always reforming.
And so it goes.
That’s who we are.
 
Grace & Peace,


 

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