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Posts Tagged ‘Swirling Eddies’


In 1986 a new friend lent me a cassette of an album called Fearful Symmetry by a band called Daniel Amos.  I had heard nothing like it and I had been exposed to a wide variety of music.  I was a new Christian at the time.  I didn’t like it.  But I gave it a few listens.  It grew on me, like mold.

Soon Daniel Amos was my favorite band.  I never got to see them in concert, having just missed a show in Boston at the Paradise Club just behind my dorm at Boston University.  That was one of their last tours.  Their last album came out in 2001 just before I got married.  I figured I’d never have a chance to see them.

This summer, that all changes.  They recently announced a summer tour and they have 2 dates in Arizona.  The show in Phoenix is booked for the night I get back from a mission trip to Mexico.  There still isn’t a site in Tucson for the date (hello, someone).  I’m planning to go to the show in Phoenix unless a location in Tucson comes together.  Being new here, I just don’t have the connections yet.  But I’m working on it.

This had me thinking about a set list.  What songs would I want them to play.  Yeah, they would be there longer than the double disc Live at Cornerstone 2000 recording I have.  After all, they have 12 albums to draw from.  I’ve been meaning to do this, but keep forgetting.  But Pam Mark Hall just posted that the rehearsals sound great and mentioned some songs they are prepping for the shows.

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Having been in the ARP since 1998, this was my first General Assembly as a member of the PCA.  I had heard many things, but it was good to see things first hand.  That means the good and the bad.  Inevitably, my mind compares and contrasts everything to my experiences in the ARP.

Some of the differences come from the fact that the PCA is much larger than the ARP.  I was not used to holding up a half sheet of card stock to vote (unless the votes needed to be counted).  We would merely use voice unless the vote was close.  There were differences in terminology:  Memorials => overtures, delegates => commissioners.  No big deal there.  But the sheer size of the documents was so much greater.  There is, comparatively, so much more going on.

One of the additions was a review of all the minutes from all the Presbyteries.  We had to vote on some matters relating to them.  That was interesting.  I was also shocked at the length of the report from the Standing Judicial Commission.  I can count on one hand the number of issues that came up in a decade that went to the ARP Synod’s version.  There were pages of appeals and other judicial issues sent up.  It is a very different culture than the ARP.

I miss going to Bonclarken.  I knew my way around.  I knew were to have a good meal (especially a good Tex-Mex with my friends from Presbytery), and where to enjoy a beer and cigar.  Each year the PCA General Assembly moves.  This year it was Nashville.  I had never been to Nashville.  I did not know my hotel was 3 miles from the convention center until the night before I left.  There was a shuttle to and from the airport, but no mention of one to the convention center.  The hotel desk said there wasn’t one.  So, I had already walked the 3 miles once before I discovered the PCA had provided regular shuttles to my hotel.

I was surprised to find that all of the hotels and the convention center charged for internet access.  Now that we’re “hooked” they want $10/day to access the web.  I needed to get my sermon notes back to Tucson.  Thankfully there was a Panera nearby, and I enjoyed a chai latte and bagel while uploading my document and checking out some sports news.

I found the worship far more accessible and edifying than in the ARP.  Part of that is the fact I did not grow up ARP and our church didn’t use Bible Songs (a holdover from the days before the ARP permitted the use of hymns).  Often the worship is filled with songs I do not know.  Since we were in Nashville, we used numerous hymns by Indelible Grace and similar musicians.  I liked that and found it much easier to engage with the worship.  I did not feel like a fish out of water.

I found how the PCA does business to be similar in many ways.  For instance, both bodies have guys who seemingly speak to EVERY recommendation.  There is also an underlying aura of fear at work in both bodies.  The “slippery slope” and “big brother” seem to never leave some people’s horizons.  I was reminded often of the Swirling Eddies’ song “Knee Jerk“.  People in both denominations have been wounded from experiences with the mainline denomination.  Sadly, those wounds are infected and need to be healed.  Instead, the people nurse and rehearse, therefore look upon many items with unnecessary suspicion.  This is sad, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

Both assemblies are, obviously, filled with sinners.  How we go about our business is tainted by our sin.  And how we listen to the business is as well.  I suppose I should view this as a sanctifying process and seek to grow in patience and diminish in sarcasm.  The constant phrases “point of order” and “motion to recommit” wore me down (as did the lack of sleep).   That is just as much about me as it is about others.

The ARP often has a Pre-Synod Conference.  They bring in a speaker or two to address a pressing issue for the denomination or church at large.  The PCA has seminars in the morning.  It was good to be able to choose what topics I want to address.  They reflected the needs and/or goals of my ministry.  So, I went to:

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We are back in the Whinery after a few days sans kiddos.  CavWife and I flew the coop to visit with a search committee, and I met with the elders.  The kids got to stay home with a friend of ours.  They did very well.  She was a bit sad Friday night.  He was clingy before we left Friday morning, but we were able to slip away, and heading into our friend’s pool was distracting enough for him.

We flew up Friday afternoon.  We had a slight delay in our flight departure time.  A mere 20 minutes or something.  Oddly, it continued to say “On Time” even a few minutes after our departure time came and went.

A few members of the committee picked us up at the airport and drove us to town.  We were free to have dinner on our own, so we got a recommendation for a local establishment.  It was a very nice place.  We ate outside and enjoyed some of the local sights, and sounds (particularly the motorcycles).  Then we took a spin to see some of the local geography.  We located the YMCA (since CavWife is certified for spinning, and in process to be certified for step- and has a class 2x/week at the local Y), the movie theatre, library …  We also drove through some subdivisions near the church.  We aren’t sure if they will be in our price range, though.  The area looked far more beautiful than it did in March.

Exhausted, we crashed at the hotel.  We were up early the next morning, as I met with the Session all morning.  One of them saw my post on Adam Again, and gifted me with his copy of 10 Songs by Adam Again.  It got a good listen this morning!  Quite thankful.  Hmmm, I wonder if he has Outdoor Elvis by the Swirling Eddies….  Great to ponder having elders who have actually listened to some of the obscure bands I enjoy.  CavWife got a tour of the area by a committee member and talked about some of the pragmatic stuff about living in that community.

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