June 22, 2008

PC(USA) Moderator: Bruce Reyes-Chow?!

This is pretty inside baseball so unless you're interested in the goings-ons of religious denominations that you yourself have no affiliation with you may want to skip ahead.

Bruce Reyes-Chow was elected moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  As you might expect Bruce is a pastor, but I would wager that he is known by an even larger number of people as a blogger.  I've been a casual reader of his blog for a while so I knew he was running for the moderator position but assumed that he was something of a dark horse candidate (again, I'm not a presbyterian so I could be wrong on that)  For those who are vaguely familiar with navigating any religious political structure here are your visual clues: he doesn't wear ties, but does have an earring.  Here's a good snippet from the above linked story that points to how this is an interesting, and I think important, shift in leadership:
Minutes after being elected moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow said during a press conference he was eager to get back to his hotel room.

It was not that he wanted to get a well-deserved rest after Saturday night’s speech, question-and-answer session, and his second-ballot election.
Instead, Reyes-Chow said he was more keen on checking the Internet buzz his election was generating.

Reyes-Chow, a 39-year-old San Francisco pastor, husband and the father of three daughters between the ages of four and 11, said that blogging and using Facebook and other social networking sites “is part of my way of being, how we naturally engage with people.”He believes being transparent and prolific will “help people feel invited to participate in the church in a new way.”

He also recognizes people have “concerns about why we share so openly,” especially on the occasion when he places his political views online.

“I see something and I think, ‘That’ll blog,’ and I put it on,” he said.

During his campaign for moderator, someone asked Reyes-Chow if he could tell the person something about himself that could not already be found on his blog.

“Not really,” Reyes-Chow said. “I am an open book, pretty much. I am excited about connecting with folks and using my spiritual practice of blogging.”
I'm very interested in religion and I'm very interested in the internet/technology so I'm probably overstating how interesting this is in reality, but even given that this is a progressive  mainline protestant denomination I still think this is a big deal.  Not only for what Bruce isn't, the old-guard, but primarily for what he represents for the future of the PCUSA, which is also the future for every other American denomination whether they recognize it or not.  As a fellow member of the global Christian faith (and a fellow blogger!) I'm encouraged by his election.

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