Every year the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, since it has no Bishops, gets together to decide big decisions and set course and direction. Let’s just say that today I totally kicked the General Assembly’s ass. Here are some thoughts that struck me over the course of the day.

Based on research done at Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church in Dublin, 90% of immigrants into Ireland after one year have never been in an Irish person’s home

If as Bill Hybels said, there is nothing like the local church when it is functioning properly, does that mean that there must be lots and lots and lots of things that are like the Presbyterian Church in Ireland?

When the token young people are wheeled out for a song, their belting recital of “These are the days of Elijah” almost lets you forget that based on our churches, that doesn’t seem true.

One delegate speaks of the typical noble Presbyterian elder who it is said, died having never comitted a pleasure in his life. Legendary! Best quip of the day.

The republic that is the general assembly has a weakness; every delegate is allowed to talk. One chap speaks at length about the agricultural benefits that comes from, wait for it, global warming! That’s the response we make to a huge and brilliant lifestyle report calling Christians to environmental sustainability. Let a ranting man have the mic.

In the terminolgy of the Northern Irish troubles, on the “Protestant” side, Unionists are moderate and Loyalists are extreme. So for “Catholics”, Nationalists are moderate and Republicans are extreme. Yet in the General Assembly constantly speakers refer to ‘us’ as Unionists (never Loyalists) and ‘they’ are always Republicans (never the more moderate Nationalists). Once again, I feel we’re the Presbyterian Church of Northern Ireland!

Of course, these are off the cuff, late night comments made after drinking whiskey with Soapbox, so don’t ever hold me to them should they sound ungracious or scathing. The reality is that more than at any time in the last two years I am assurred that the Presbyterian system of government, while so far from perfect that it could get its game for Man City, is still a very fine thing when it is rolling along right.

Your Correspondent, Urges you to pass his snoozing proposals

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