Last Monday night, January 9th, I came home from the special presbytery meeting where they voted to put an administrative commission over my church, Fremont Presbyterian, and wrote my small posting, An administrative commission & deception. I checked my e-mail before going to bed and discovered that someone who had been rather contentious in his comment on an earlier posting wanted to friend me on Facebook.
In his comment he wrote that his father had at one time been a pastor of Fremont and he made disparaging remarks about Fremont's ‘senior pastor and those members who were leaving the PCUSA. He left his phone number in case someone wanted his help or information. So when he asked to be my friend I had second thoughts, but then I thought perhaps this will be a good thing and fruitful. After checking out his site I affirmed the friendship and because it was midnight went to bed. Sometime around two in the morning I awoke feeling very troubled.
I thought perhaps it was my blog. Perhaps I had written too strongly and needed to soften what I had written. That does sometimes happen. But when I turned on my computer I discovered that I had made friends with a very troubled individual. Within the last two hours he had written twenty times on my face book page and not pleasantly. He had gone so far as to attack some of my friends. And he had placed bad information about former pastors of Fremont who were pastors before I joined the church. Some of it I knew to be true, some of it I knew nothing about.
Needless to say I quickly deleted all of his material and clicked the places that disallow him from seeing my Facebook page. I have been very sad all week, both because of the actions of my Presbytery toward Fremont, and because a troubled individual would go so far as to befriend me so that he could torment me all in the name of LGBT rights. He even mentioned that my small great granddaughter had on rainbow colored leggings that is a symbol of the LGBT community. “What’s up with that,” he wrote.
I thought of these events as I read the letter written by the Moderator and Vice Moderator and watched the video they had made with six other Presbyterian ruling and teaching elders about hope. My sadness has spilled over into that. Why are they unable to comprehend the sorrow of so many orthodox? They do not understand that for the orthodox it is a matter of faithfulness. To make Jesus Lord means loving him past all other human desires and contrivances. It means obeying past any human predictions or perspectives.
Hope is founded on the word of God. Hope is not founded on any thing but the Son of God and the promises of God’s word. The author of Hebrews writes about that hope which the Christian has which is the fulfillment of God’s promises. And all of his promises are in Christ Jesus. Hebrews calls such hope the anchor of our soul. It brings the Christian into the very presence of God. As Hebrews states, “a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us ...” (6:19-20)
God may yet provide hope in the PCUSA—but he may not—He may instead bring judgment. As Karl Barth warned the German Church, God may “remove the candlestick” of our denomination unless we turn back to the Son and the written word of God. To bring it all back to where I began, how, for a Christian, could it be otherwise than to hope in Christ and his promises? Nothing else is sure, only Jesus, only his word, only the promises of God. We cannot meet the affronts to our faith, whether they come from a troubled individual or a troubled presbytery, alone; Christ and the hope he gives comes before and between all.