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A reader writes: Mainline Protestant hope

A reader writes ...

I write to you as a young (30's) PCUSA pastor, passionate and very hopeful for the future of the Church (even the mainline). I want to thank you--for your wisdom, words, deep and meaningful insights, and your ability to communicate so much so well to so many souls like me. I've read (most of) your books, falling deeper and deeper into agreement with them, you, and so much of the emergent movement.

Mostly, however, I want to thank you for taking the time to travel to PCUSA's General Assembly in Pittsburgh, and speaking to the throngs gathered there. I was a commissioner two years ago, and am holding this year's GA in constant prayer. Amid the deep stressors, fears, and passions that encompass this time in the GA, it brought me joy to know you would be speaking, and also to read about what you shared.

Thanks. It was an honor to speak to the Presbyterian General Assembly several weeks ago, and I take these encouraging words to heart again this week as I am in California meeting with a number of sharp, engaged, and hopeful Methodist leaders.

There are struggles and difficulty ahead for Mainline Protestants, as there are for Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox. But if we believe that death and resurrection are written into the code of the universe (inherent in the Logos), then we shouldn't despair, but see opportunities for resurrection. I came across these sage words from Sister Joan Chittister recently:

The essence of struggle is neither endurance nor denial. The essence of struggle is the decision to become new rather than simply to become older. It is the opportunity to grow either smaller or larger in the process. There is, then, a gift hidden in the travails of forced change. It is the gift of beginning again: conversion.

A new generation of young leaders like you hold so much promise. Don't let anyone or anything discourage you. You are needed!