We have asked all the nominees for moderator four questions so that we, as a church, could get to know them a little better. Here are the responses for Rev. Gary Clark. If you would like to know more about Gary, please read his profile from the General Council 41 website.
1) “Cruxifusion” means “united by the cross.” What does Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection mean to you?
As a father I have had a hard time with the theology of atonement. I can not imagine asking one of my children to give up their life to appease my anger over something someone else did years before. Jesus attacked blood sacrifice by forgiving sins and offering healing through ‘faith’ in God alone. Therefore I have asked God for another meaning to the cross. My faith journey leads me to confess: the cross is a warning that ‘a living faith’ comes at a cost (perhaps life itself); that evil does exist; and that once we conquer our fears of death all things become possible. The resurrection is sign and symbol that God’s love is a power beyond our understanding and that power is truly life giving and transformative.
2) Describe the God you worship.
The God I worship is the very essence of love, compassion, joy, and hope. This God can not be contained in creeds. This God is meant to be experienced in the first person. Words, music and even the Good News itself can only point the way but are not God. Knowing God requires relationships both with the Holy directly and within a community of those who seek the Holy as well.
3) Which Christian author has had the greatest impact on you?
As a preacher I have been greatly influenced by Rev. Herbert O’Driscoll. Rev. O’Driscoll understands the power of the story. He has shown me how to break open the meaning of the scriptures with my heart and to ponder God’s wisdom hidden within. His theology is rooted in the struggles of people today and the gift that Christ can be for us. He continually points to hope that faith in Jesus sets us free from the shame of our failings so that we may be the incarnation of the God’s divine love.
4) What gifts and passions do you have that you believe the United Church needs today?
I offer a deep love and respect for congregational life. Congregations are the basic Christian Education, Worship and Mission units of our church and they are hurting. I will seek to address the disconnect between congregations and the courts of church as well as the sinful model of competition between congregations. I live the promise and the hope that comes when we let down our walls of suspicion and become the Body of Christ. I want to share the mystical and unexpected joy that comes when we submit our lives to the greater Glory of God. And I try to listen as much as I talk.