A Rambling Letter To Christ Covenant Pres. Church About General Assembly

Dear Church Family,

Andrew and I are in Mobile for the PCA General Assembly and I wanted to share with you the highlights for your joy and encouragement.
General Assembly is the annual meeting of PCA people to connect, refresh and do the business of the denomination. Reports are heard from each of the ministries of the denomination – like Covenant Seminary and College, Mission To The World, Mission to North America, Reformed University Ministries and so on. Pastors and elders from churches all over the country are called commissioners and the commissioners hear and vote on various items. One big item this year is determining a denominational confession of past racism, both of omission and commission, in the Presbyterian Church, and a commitment to deliberate efforts toward reconciliation. I am glad this debate is happening here in Mobile, Alabama because walking the streets of old downtown, the history of racial suffering cries out in so many ways. It is impossible to make this just an academic debate when ‘their blood cries out.’
The Assembly opened with a worship service last night. We sang, heard the word preached, took communion together – over 2,500 men and women with strong voices singing and sweet fellowship. What I most wanted to pull you church family in to share with me was the humility evident in the speaker and the listeners. Several thousand people on the eve of debating deeply-felt issues, yet all of one mind, agreeing that we can’t do anything without Jesus Christ, praying that the discussions of the next few days would be bathed in His grace and favor, that the debates over very important particulars of faith and practice would come from humble hearts that stand firmly on truth and that submit to a sovereign God. Be so thankful for the earnest prayer and heart of the leaders of our denomination! I am.
After the worship service, the assembly elected this year’s moderator and they elected none other than Andrew’s best childhood friend, George Robertson. While accepting this office, George mentioned his friend Andrew who had invited him to church as a boy, which opened George’s heart and eyes to the doctrine of grace. God is so good!
I missed this however, because I was in the exhibit hall (where all the vendors and book sellers set up) running my mouth and reuning with old friends and also calling Will to check on him. He had texted me earlier in the evening to assure me he was home safely from work and fed. Actually, his text read, “Home from work and doing illicit drugs. No worries.”
The convention center is right on the Mobile Bay and the moon over the bay last night was magical.
Andrew checked an item off his Alabama bucket list when we ate dinner at the original Wintzell’s Oyster House with dear friends Tom and Beth Ann Stein.  My reality on this excursion was rubbing up an enormous blister because we walked many blocks to get there – normally no big, but I was wearing a brand-new pair of platform shoes, hitherto unworn, in order to look, you know, young and hip. We see so many old friends at GA, the pressure is on to be thin and ageless. Tom, ever the practical Midwesterner said, “Yes, but bloody is not sexy.”  My southern Mother-in-law would counter that with her own ironclad truth:  “Beauty is painful.”  I was torn, but comfort won out and the brand new platforms sit bloody and upturned in hotel room corner.
This morning I did one of my favorite things – the urban run. I know calling Mobile ‘urban’ makes New Yorkers chuckle, but to us Cullmanites, Mobile is quite urban and the run was delightful.
Well, this is long and rambling, but I really wanted to share the experience with you so you can rejoice in our great, great God!


Galadriel Learns Contentment


I need another clone,”  I’ve said many times when deep in discussion about something thrilling or amazing. I personally can’t go do the thrilling thing because I am busy doing this life, but my clone could. Over time, I have racked up a whole sisterhood of clones:

Linguist Clone. Pondering the staggering fact that movement of my tongue, lips, and throat in certain ways conveys meaning, thought, from my head to yours and that this happens in different ways all over the globe. Glory!

Novelist Clone. And an excellent one. One who captures a place and a time and a person; who allows that person to do whatever he or she is going to do; and who manages the authorial alchemy of both watching and superintending unto resolution. I may need two of these.

Ballerina Clone. We all have that regret, the wrong fork in the road, that we didn’t take ballet and that we quit piano. This clone would be dedicated to the life of movement, to muscles and leotards and the elite world of sweat and practice and obsession.  In this category also reside Olympic Figure Skater Clone, Olympic Gymnast Clone,  and Guy That Billy Joels The Piano In A Public Place Clone.

Army General Clone. As a reader, I have romanticized war, while scolding myself for doing so. I have longed to be the one on whom all the responsibility lies, to be faced with the impossible task of loving my men and, unflinchingly and crying on the inside, sending them into the fire in the cause of good over evil; to be in a no-win situation and to win! This clone would helm the ship of state with grace.  I probably need to stop reading war books for awhile.

Football Player Clone. My son would say no, no, no, no, no, you don’t want to be a football player. But, I do. Don’t most people watching want to be on the field? Haven’t we all said, “Just give me the ball and I’ll do it.” This clone may or may not be a star, but she would be so utterly reliable. No coach would ever question whether she would do her job. She would deliver every single time. She would plug the gap or make the gap, whichever. She would have sticky hands and a bomber arm and be lithe and fast, fast, fast.

Teacher Who Only Teaches Clone.  Teaching minus grading, recording tardies, cleaning the microwaves, etc. No paperwork or extra responsibilities, just 58 minutes of literature discussion.

Artist Clone. Unlimited time and resources to explore color and light and texture, to touch and juxtapose. To put one thing beside another so that one pops and one supports. To reflect The Artist, which is the glory of making art. A sub-clone would just do photography and iMovies.

I see that all my clones are perfect at their jobs. Hmmm. Maybe I am wishing for more than just clones.  I am having a disturbing image right now of myself as Galadriel realizing that even she, one of the good guys, wants to be queen of the world.  Yikes.

5-Minute Clones:

These clones only exist for 5 minutes because I don’t want to live this life, I just want to see what it’s like. Then if the clone likes it, she can stay.

Computer Geek Clone. It would be nice to approach the titanium rectangle in front of me as an equal, to intuitively know what is actually happening in amongst the teeny inner pieces, and never, ever to be stumped.  CG Clone is one of a set of triplets including Algebra Clone and I Can Read, Understand, and Follow The Manual Clone.

Jazz-Club Clone. Urban, middle of night, smoky and blue lit. Unlike me, the clone would be a smooth operator in this setting.

Lake-Life Clone. Again, not in my skill set.  Sit on this dock for 7 hours?  People do that?

Clones I am Supposed To Want But Don’t:

Princess Clone; World Traveller Clone; Life of Leisure Clone; Lottery-Winner Clone

Clones I Ought Not To Want But Do:

Naturally Skinny Clone; Thick Hair Clone

Punishment Clones:

These clones are for if I’ve done wrong and need to suffer.

I Love To Shop Clone. To me, the rhythmic screech of coat hangers on a department store rack is the eternal music of the fiery pit, but every day is Black Friday for this clone.

Baseball Mom Clone. If the sun comes up and I am still sitting on a metal bleacher at the “All Star Tournament” it is because I am dead. I had a friend who watched the sun rise as her daughter’s tournament drug on. I have never gotten over that. Speechless.

Spa Day Clone. This clone gets an all day deluxe manicure, pedicure, wax, facial, hot rock, eucalyptus massage. The View is on continual loop on the wall-mounted TV. Like Dante’s 9th level, this one is pretty bad.

Life Before Air-Conditioning Clone. Add to that a Corset-Wearing Clone for a twofer.

Geisha Clone. All luxury, but boring as dirt and then the foot-wrapping thing.

Rap Really Loud In The Car Clone. It’s bad enough pulling up beside this at a stoplight. And, yes, it does happen occasionally here in small-town USA.  It happened to me recently at a gas station and the lyrics were paralyzing.  Truly. Though I was quoting Jay-Z above when I typed, “Glory!” So make of that what you will.

Daytime TV Addict Clone. Death.

Collector Clone. This clone lives for obscure, arcane additions to the set. It doesn’t matter what it is – copper jello molds, thimbles, Precious Moments figurines – this is all that Collector Clone wants to do and talk about. Collector Clone has no soul.

I know I will, as Galadriel said, “pass the test, diminish, go into the west” and find that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, that I am quite content with this one life.

I have eternity to explore those other lives.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16: 5,6