Getting to “yes”

Getting to “Yes”

Thoughts About Serving As Acting Stated Clerk

I have recently taken on a role as Acting Stated Clerk of San Diego Presbytery. What this means is that I am the procedural mechanic who helps people understand how to get to yes.

That may not be the most typical definition of a Stated Clerk, but it is such an essential function that I think it encapsulates the essence of what it means.

In this time of declining institutions and the need for adaptive change, the “rules” often function as a vehicle to say “no”:

  • “No, you cannot do that.”
  • “No, we have never done it that way.”
  • “No, it will upset too many people.”

Those non-starter statements dampen enthusiasm. They give the impression that what once was, always will be.

True, not every idea is a good idea. However, a problem that has arisen over the course of years is that — systemically — we have thwarted people by process rather than affording them the opportunity to pursue new ideas on the merits. This is where a Stated Clerk comes in.

The goal and role of a Stated Clerk is to help people navigate the procedural waters so that they know how to get to “yes.” The Clerk’s job is not to get them to yes; rather, it is to point the way so that they can get to yes themselves. Assisting someone does not equate with agreement. Further, assisting one person does not mean that the clerk is conflicted from providing procedural guidance for someone with the complete opposite view. Informally over the years, I have found that presenting the likely best paths of both pro- and con- to any and all parties who want help facilitates a greater likelihood that the question will be debated on the merits.

I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Linda Therien, whose retirement triggered my stepping into this role. She modeled the heart and integrity of  a great clerk. She cared for the people of this presbytery enormously. She was remarkable for her ability to provide advice without letting on what was her own personal opinion of the idea. She also would go the extra mile to figure out a way forward in the event that the obvious path was blocked.

Already in a few short weeks, I have had numerous of phone calls and messages to which I responded, “No, you cannot do it the way you have described; however, here is a different way you might approach it to get to the same goal.”

Thus, I am the procedural mechanic who helps people understand how to get to yes.

Not Ashamed

Not Ashamed of the Gospel
Romans 1:16-2:5
January 14, 2018

Yesterday, as I was preparing this sermon, we got a phone call from our youngest, Abby, who is in her first year at the University of Hawaii. I suspect most of you heard about what happened. Just before 8 am, this notice appeared on hers (and all other cell phones) in Hawaii:

Abby and her roommate were scared. She said that people were running around and no one really knew what they were supposed to do. While on the phone, we did a quick online search and flipped among all the news channels to see if we could find some confirmation. The lack of confirmation and because she was not hearing sirens made it seem likely that it was either a hoax or error, but that did not make things any better when she was in her room, sitting and waiting.

I just want to share something posted by a friend of mine, a pastor on the Big Island of Hawaii:

Another great day in Hawaii nei. So… we had a misfire on the state’s civil defense system. Got a lot of people in a panic and it was rather a stressful situation. People alerting their families and friends and telling love ones they love them. Thank God it wasn’t a real attack just a alarm “inadvertently” set. But here’s the main thing. If it was for real, are we ready just in case it was our last day? How’s our relationship with Jesus? There was no missile attack but that doesn’t guarantee our lives will just keep going along with no problems. Only God knows the day we’ll come face to face with Him. Maybe today’s miscue could be a wake up call to make sure we are right with God! Think about it and make sure Jesus is first in your life. That’s what I need to do everyday! Love you guys!! (James Tex-Kimo Texeira)

Find the entire January 14 sermon at: Sermon Index