Tag Archives: chaos

Reflections on a life well lived

I am not alone in trying to articulate my deep appreciation for Cynthia – Cindy – Bolbach. Here are some other reflections:

Former GA Moderator Cindy Bolbach Dies at Age 64 by Presbyterian News Service

Advent: What Are We Waiting For? by Theresa Cho

Dear Madame Moderator … by Bruce Reyes-Chow

What I Continue to Learn from Cindy Bolbach: We Hate Cancer by Jan Edmiston

Life Is Fragile by Ruth Everhart

Former GA Moderator Cindy Bolbach Dies at Age 64 by Michael Kruse

Madam Moderator Cynthia Bolbach by Krista Phillips

Advent day 11: Rest in Peace by Derrick L. Weston

Fell Sergeant, Strict in His Arrest by Fr. Mike White, Cindy’s nephew

Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly, passes away by The Presbyterian Outlook

If you have written something – if you see something – that should be added, please make a comment and I will do so.

See you along the Trail.

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Utter chaos

Five years. The vagaries of time make it feel like yesterday and like a lifetime ago, all in the same moment.

Ruling Elder Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) died on 12-12-12 in the afternoon. This post was written on that day at a time before I knew of her death. Thanks be to God for her life! Alleluia. Amen.

Here are reflections from friends and colleagues on her life and death.

I did something today I have never done before.

I stood in silence for five minutes.

I am not big on pomp and circumstance and formality. A South African friend once observed that I can be a bit “cheeky” to those in authority. For some reason everyone who has heard that assessment has agreed with it. Go figure.

I stood in silence today for five minutes in honor of Cindy Bolbach.

The tradition in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is to stand when the General Assembly moderator of enters the room. Almost every moderator in my memory has encouraged people not to do so. Most of the time most of them meant it. Yet the tradition persists – in honor of the person and even more so in respect of the office. And while it is not my favorite thing, I take part.

Today, without being asked, without being prompted, I chose to stand in silence for five minutes in honor of Cindy Bolbach – moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010).

I watched her election from the back of the auditorium in Minneapolis. My son Sean and I leaned against the wall.

A period of questions and answers precedes the voting. Commissioners (the folks with the votes) pose questions and the individuals standing (we’re Presbyterian, we don’t run) respond. The questions deal with theology, issues before the church, and issues in the world.

At one point, a question was posed along the lines of: “What would happen to the church, if you were not elected and one of the other candidates were?”

One by one the candidates offered replies praising the others and noting that the church did not depend on their election. Then Cindy Bolbach stepped to the mike. I do not remember her exact words, but the essence was:

There will be utter chaos.

The Assembly erupted in laughter. Sean turned to me and said, “She just won, didn’t she?”

The Assembly still had to vote. But Cindy did win. And I believe her sparkling humor that bristles with wisdom played a key role.

I stood in silence today for five minutes in honor of Cindy Bolbach.

Cindy is a woman of incredible faith, deep love, amazing grace, and an incredible wit. She lives daily her commitment to Christ, to the Church, to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) , to all people, and to God’s world. She mixes simplicity and profound sincerity with a capability to navigate complexity and controversy. I am privileged to know her. The Church (in all its manifestations) is blessed by her presence.

For most of this year, Cindy has struggled against cancer. The struggle cut short her ability to attend events but it never dampened her spirits (at least in public). She wore a fedora to the 220th General Assembly (2012) and she wore it well.

This morning came the news that Cindy has entered hospice care. And I stood for five minutes in her honor.

But in the silence it came to me that another way – a better way – to honor Cindy Bolbach – is to give thanks to God for Cindy – to entrust Cindy to God’s merciful care – to pray for her without ceasing – then to get back about the business of ministry. I am pretty sure that is what she would want. So it is what I have done.

When Cindy returns to the dust, as we all will someday do, I will shed more tears. But I will also proclaim “Alleluia.”

When Cindy returns to the dust, as we all will someday do, there will be utter chaos. But in the chaos there will be love and there will be grace and there will be God. And all will be well for Cindy. And all will be well for us. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Current Events, Family, Friends, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The herder

Ideas swirl through his mind,
thoughts career,
snippets of conversations,
fragments of emails,
shadows of intentions,
vaguely misremembered promises,
each representing
a task,
a responsibility,
something to do.

As though propelled by
some force unseen
they crash, collide,
then fly away to disappear
leaving chaos in their wake,
increasing anxiety,
provoking paralysis.

He struggles to slow their frenzy
that he might pluck them
one by one from the maelström to
name them,
ponder them,
weigh them,
value them,
in order that he might strip them
of their power to intimidate
and herd them into
some coherent, prioritized order
upon which he will act.

21 August 2012
DL 1817

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