Monday, September 27, 2010

Some Thoughts About Conservative Presbyterians

One thing for sure, reading The Layman (hyper-conservative scream sheet) is akin to watching a hurricane from aloft – it spins and spins and spins some more, round and around a singular eye – the ordination of LGBT persons.
With this agenda, the Presbyterian Coalition comes out now in opposition to three amendments: 
- 10-A, which aims to focus and sharpen our Ordination Standards with wonderfully traditional language.
-10-1, a proposed new Form of Government.
-10-2, the Belhar Confession, a remarkable document coming out of the struggle of South African Christians to find a way through and beyond the horrors of Apartheid.
There’s nothing imaginative about a hurricane, and there’s nothing imaginative in the response of the Coalition to the three amendments – though predictably predicable: in their eyes, all three amendments will be used to promote the ordination of “homosexuals.”
Which is to say, the current G-6.106b was never intended to promote either fidelity within marriage or chastity in singleness, but was a cleverly worded phrase to slam the door on the ordination LGBT persons in a same-gender relationship, or who, for reasons of faith and conscience, will not take a vow of celibacy.
But like all hurricanes, this one, too, is losing its strength.
How often can one say no? How long can one bar the door?
Perhaps that’s the fear behind their rejection of Belhar – a reminder that justice prevails ultimately, and though the road to justice is full of landmines and barbed wire obstacles crafted by the guardians of the old order, the new thing God is doing to further the cause of justice in God’s world gains headway and strength from the opponents standing in its way.
In the same issue, it’s noted that the Colonial Church near Kansas City has voted overwhelmingly to leave the PCUSA and seek affiliation with the EPC.
And to that decision, I can only add my blessing and peace. 
Our history is full of separations for all kinds of reasons – Presbyterians share this in common with the whole of Christendom.
Splits happen in bowling, and they happen in the church, too.
Until such time as the Millennium is upon us, we will struggle with our frailties, doing the best we can to honor the LORD Jesus Christ.
I honor the LORD by working for the ordination of LGBT persons, marriage equality and the right of our clergy to officiate at LGBT weddings.
While some would call me apostate, I think it’s time for us to quit such name-calling and simply get on with our respective visions, in separate churches, if need be, allowing for a gracious separation.
Perhaps we can yet work out some kind of a local option for Presbyteries and/or congregations, and I’d be willing to live with some such arrangement.
But as much as the Coalition fears the ordination of “homosexuals,” I long for the day when we will be able to ordain whomever the LORD calls to ministry, trusting our Presbyteries with the time-honored task of guiding and examining those within its boundaries, determining their suitability for ministry.
Enough, okay?
Let’s work out a peace treaty of some sort where we can all following the dictates of our conscience and faith, interpreting the Scriptures and Confessions as the Spirit leads.
And if we cannot craft a peace treaty, then let’s declare an armistice, a cessation of hostilities, and let’s all go home to our families.
There’s been enough blood shed on both sides! 

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