Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Several streams of concern and enthusiasm

Once again looking at an old post to see what someone else was reading, I found a song and a quote that are even more meaningful in the present. I will place them at the end of this posting.

In the now early days of the removal of sexual standards from the first half of the constitution of the PCUSA, I see several streams of concern and enthusiasm arising in the denomination at the moment.

1. The orthodox are gathering toward each other with some sense of a deeper love for one another and an understanding that God’s calling to them may be to be in different places. But their centrality no matter any differences is in Jesus Christ as Lord and the authority of his word. There is no question about who is Lord. While there are complex issues, and anxiety, there is confidence in the sovereignty of the Lord.

I believe the orthodox are finding their feet and will find the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through them as they stand on the authority of scripture and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

2. On the other hand there is already a move by the progressive people in the PCUSA which will further divide members of the denomination. Recently Presbyterian Voices for Justice web site advertised their conference at Ghost Ranch this summer which will be led by Marvin M. Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-Smith editors of Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice-Love. I wrote about the book at Amendment 10-A& the monstrosity that is coming.

The conference will include the 1991 sexuality report rejected by that GA, as well as such issues as gay marriage. The blurb on the Ghost Ranch site includes this, “This seminar will be welcoming of all perspectives and experiences, and will be designed to maximize participation of those who attend. Sessions will prioritize discussion of these issues, and participants will be invited to share their insights about the ongoing personal, social, and ecclesiastical quest for an "ethical eroticism," one that deepens self-respect and strengthens inclusive, radically hospitable communities.”

Every advocate group for GLBTQ persons has made announcements or placed sermons in such a way that one sees the future quite plainly. Celebrations on the 10th of July:

Create a Celebration on Sunday, July 10. The Presbyterian Church (USA) passed Amendment 10-A which removes barriers to ordination for LGBT people. Mark this historic moment in the life of the Church and your local congregation by opening your service with a celebration. This can be a procession or a "minute for mission" where congregants share the importance of this Presbyterian action and what it means to you. Work with us to generate interest among journalists so the stories get out to the whole world. Consider a procession of rainbow banners, scarves or balloons at the start of the worship service so the reporter can get a photo and not disturb the rest of the service. Interviews can be held at another time. We will provide you with a template for a media alert that you can send to the religion reporter from your local newspaper. Just register your celebration below and we will be in touch!

Michael Adee"
The push for same gender marriage,

Insistence on unity and radical diversity at the same time, jeers for those who wish to maintain a biblical and orthodox safe place or to protect their sheep are constant themes on progressive web sites, blogs and tweets.

And yet from another of my postings:

Are all the foes of Sion fools,
Who thus devour her saints?
Do they not know her Savior rules,
And pities her complaints?

They shall be seized with sad surprise;
For God’s revenging arm
Scatters the bones of them that rise
To do His children harm.

And Karl Barth about what the confessing churches of Germany needed to do and know. And so do we.

"Of course something has to be done; very much so; but most decidedly nothing other than this, viz. that the Church congregations be gathered together again, but aright and anew in fear and great joy, to the Word by means of the Word. All the crying about and over the Church will not deliver the Church. When the Church is a Church she is already delivered. Let persecution be never so severe, it will not affect her! 'Still,' it is said, 'Still, shall the City of God abide, lusty beside her tiny stream.' (Psalm xlvi. 5; Luther's translation.)"


Jeff Ogden said...

Great post! Thanks for all that you do to raise awareness. I've been avoiding the pro-10A sites because it makes me so depressed and angry. Thanks for pointing to our true hope.

Jeff Ogden

Greg Scandlen said...

“Chastity in Singleness”

The PCUSA has not actually believed in this since at least 1992 when it adopted its formal position on abortion. In a 22-page report on “problem pregnancies,” abstinence is mentioned just once and even then just as a tiny part of “comprehensive sex education” programs in the schools.

The official PCUSA position on abortion is that there should be no limits on it, there should be unlimited public funding, and that any deviation from that policy is “an attack on women.” Members of the PCUSA support a very active lobbying effort against any and all attempts to temper the use of abortions. See my blog posting at http://gmscan.wordpress.com/ for a more thorough explanation.

will spotts said...

Greg -

You are correct in terms of the public lobbying position of the PC(USA).

I tend to regard this as very corrupt - a case of denominational groups and officials acting without proper GA support. Especially given the 2006 position on late term abortions followed immediately by the Washington Office's activism against any limit on partial birth abortion.

Basically - I think you're dealing with a stacked deck. And I think Presbyterians in the pews are little inclined to fight against denominational corruption. They would have to engage in a lot of unpleasantness to ensure compliance of national employees and officials. i.e. They would have to make GA positions bullet proof - which would prevent any of the pleasant splitting the difference kind of action preferred by commissioners. And they would have to demand the resignation or firing of employees who failed to follow those policies.