Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The resignation of Tara Spuhler and the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns

Were there some people “fomenting distrust, meanness and bullying behavior” at the 220 General Assembly? Well maybe, there was a lot of painful, rebellious activity with commissioners and others insisting they have already and will continue to marry same sex couples. But that isn’t what led to the resignation of Rev. Tara Spuhler. Rather the confessions and announcements of disobedience were caused by Spuhler’s admittance that she had signed the marriage license of two lesbians and her insistence that her actions were a part of her vows as a pastor. But regarding the resignation the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concern has posted a statement as their top article on their web site. It begins:

The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC) expresses its disappointment and outrage with the forces fomenting distrust, meanness and bullying behavior which led to the resignation of the duly elected Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012), the Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe.
They believe that the GA should have called for a “possible reprimand of such persons who disturb the peace, unity and purity of the church.”

After McCabe resigned a 'Town Meeting' was held to discuss her resignation. McCabe, Moderator, Rev. Neal D. Presa, Wilson Gunn, Executive presbyter for National Capital Presbytery and the new Vice Moderator Rev. Tom Trinidad all sat at a table facing those who came to listen and ask questions.

Most of the people there were those who were upset that McCabe had resigned. However, several members of the press were there asking questions and recording questions and answers. It turns out that McCabe who neither blogs nor tweets had seen two tweets that someone had sent her in an e-mail. They evidently were questioning her position as Vice Moderator since she had signed the license of a same gender couple. And she had seen a blog posting but had eventually talked to the blogger. Another blog by Pastor Mateen Elass, suggesting that integrity matters, was sent to Moderator, Presa.

But none of this was mean or bullying—it was instead disagreements with McCabe’s actions which are after all prohibited by the PCUSA’s Book of Order.

In fact, through questions raised by both Rev. Dr. James Berkley of The Layman and Leslie Scanlon of The Outlook it was established that there was no meanness or bullying but rather questions about the right or wrongness of McCabe’s actions.

Now the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns is stirring up the pot again, trying to blame innocents for another’s misdeeds. This isn’t a women’s issue or concern, it’s instead a Christian disciple’s concern. It raises the question “is the progressive side of the denomination attempting to force their positions on to all others without a proper vote?”

I was in the town meeting. I went with a friend, a pastor who is a woman, whose integrity is impeccable. As other people began their confessions of having ordained LGBT people before it was allowed and marrying same gender couples now in violation of their vows, as they commiserated with McCabe, my friend began to cry. In the middle of her tears she said, “There is no longer any safe place in the PCUSA for Evangelicals.” No one saw her, if they had, they probably would not have cared. She is right, but God never calls to safety, instead he calls to service, love and care which sometimes calls for speaking the truth.

The ACWC is failing to speak truth and they, arrogantly, are seeking to molest those who stand for truth.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Viola, for explaining what DID happen at GA. The meeting did make clear what you write. Rev. McCabe was properly questioned by tweets and blogs, but she was not bullied. She, herself, said as much. Apparently she is not used to being questioned about her actions, even in fair and logical ways, and it upset her.

But as for Moderator Presa, he did seem angry about some communications. But the fact was that those communications came not from evangelicals but from liberals, who questioned his forthrightness about how the whole matter played out. They accused him of orchestrating the whole thing by using McCabe to be elected but then disposing of her in order to get the (male) vice moderator he really wanted. Since that was such an outlandish claim and since it questioned his honesty, Presa was not at all happy with the accusations.

But no one is pointing a finger at the liberals. No, it is the evangelicals who are being blamed for something they never did in the first place.

As long as ACWC plays the pathetic victim card, they will actually hurt the cause of Christian sisters in Christ who are so ably serving as gifted leaders in the church. And a victim card played from an untrue premise is all the more hurtful.

Jim Berkley
Roslyn, WA

Viola Larson said...

Thanks Jim,
for the additional information. And there were people (women) sitting around me when McCabe announced her resignation who were already complaining that now there was no woman in leadership. Our need for quotas is wreaking havoc with our integrity and compassion.

Chas Jay said...

Thanks, Jim and Viola.
I always wonder why the quota crowd insist on upon their definition of "diversity" which allows for them to question men that serve as ministers for congregations with over 1,000 that practice good stewardship, continue to spread the gospel to a lost world.
I assume they removed those versus about Jesus having 12 male disciples and that He preached to crowds of over 5,000 and was constantly followed by crowds wanting to see and hear Him.

Viola Larson said...

Chas Jay, I am not against women leadership, I am a ruling elder after all. But it would be so much better if people who are qualified were called for their gifts above all. But I don't want that to be what this is about. People who have disobeyed Presbyterian polity are making people who are not the wrong doers. That is silly and really immoral.

Chas Jay said...

Viola, I know that. You aren't a quota keeper but a commandment keeper and that's why I value your words and the wisdom you share. Sadly, so many of the women in our churches are quota keepers that value meeting quotas and instead of obedience to His commandments.
I know those that cried about there not being a woman would have fought against you being the vice-moderator.