I offer this gut reaction as I sit here listening to the current debate on the floor of Synod 2016. Over the last few days, much of the table group conversations and facilitated group discussions were concentrated on the implications of the MSR report and recommendations. Amendments to the original proposals have been put forward yet the common mind of the Synod on this topic still proves elusive.
The title of this reflection hijacked my thoughts momentarily and transported me to the story of that famous valley of Elah where the fledgling kingdom of Israel squared off against the Philistines. A well-told tale of a very renowned confrontation waged between 2 unlikely foes, on one side is Goliath and the other, David. A story of a battle between a giant and an underdog and how the underdog wins in the end.
I am not confident that there is a battle going on or that there are a giant and underdog status in the way the debate has been conducted. I guess what I am feeling at the moment is the failure of both sides of the discussion to give due acknowledgement to the most unlikely but specific outcome that God will continue to work through the most unlikely of circumstances, and the David like-people and yes even though the Church history of financial mismanagement to bring about God’s justice and peace to God’s people. Let us not underestimate God’s underdog status!
I suspect that the most significant mistake Goliath made was that he allowed his past experiences in war got the better of him. The voices we have heard from the Synod floor over the past few days raised legitimate concerns over matters of financial sustainability, and they caution us on the changes that need to take place to our governance arrangement. I am still unconvinced that the way that we address the challenges we are currently facing is to allow our failures in the past restraint us from embracing what God may have in store for us in the future. We need to be as prudent with our finances, but it should not prevent us from walking with the most vulnerable people we are called to be with and for. Establishing processes to deal with Presbytery resourcing should not be about saving the bottom line or jus about the financial sustainability into the future but an opportunity to explore ways to enhance and resource Presbytery and congregations for the mission we are called to exercise.