Sunday, June 29, 2014

Some of my thoughts about the PC (U.S.A.)'s General Assembly and Western culture in general


Sitting in the Middle East Committee watching all of the manipulation by staff and resource people and hearing all of the misunderstandings and lies offered by the same, I found my denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) slipping away from me. Sitting in plenary as an illegitimate Authoritative Interpretation was passed because various leaders and committee members would not admit that it was not interpretive but redefining the constitutional definition of marriage, I once again found my denomination slipping away from me.
 It was like a movie screen fading to a blur. There was and is nothing left between us. If there is a silver cord of life that holds all members in connection with one another mine was destroyed during General Assembly.

Except, there are those who love Jesus and in that loving, are faithful, honest and truthful. It is the faithful loving commitment to the Lord of the Church and submission to his word, the Bible, that hold the orthodox together. Those inside the PC (U.S.A.) and those outside.

And they are held together in the universal Church, not just in the PC (U.S.A.). While the denomination is constantly seeking ecumenical partners, the orthodox are already a part of the huge universal body of Christ. They do not need to dialogue, their connections are in Christ; they find joy in the fellowship of the saints.

So some will stay in the denomination, a few, and some will go. But either way we are in the world, and as the world invades the denomination both those in the PC (U.S.A) and those who have left will experience the same trauma. In either case the orthodox need to be in churches that uphold the word of God and the Lordship of Christ. There are times when one is alone in their faith. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about that in his book, Life Together. But as he also points out, Christian fellowship is a gracious gift of God.

The trauma in the PC (U.S.A,) is knowing that God’s word is being broken. Christology is shattered as the denomination ignores or refuses the redemptive and transformative work of Jesus on the cross.  The many symptoms of our sinful nature come at once. Lack of pity for the baby aborted live, failure to uphold the holiness of Christ in our lives, calling sin no sin, greed. And in the world? Darker days while the tolerant become intolerant.
 
In the last several days I have listened to a City Council meeting in Nanaimo British Colombia where a conference on leadership was rejected at the last moment because it was partly sponsored by Chick-Fil-A and because one of the speakers was Dr. Henry Cloud, a Christian psychiatrist, who believes homosexuality can be cured through therapy. (He has also written many books including Boundaries which I found very helpful.) It didn’t seem to matter that Laura Bush and Desmond Tutu were also speakers.

The words coming from these city council members display the world Western Christians are beginning to face. I care little anymore for a denomination that has opened the door to worldly lifestyles and that in a deceitful manner. But I do care for the people left in the bondage of sin, and those who want to be faithful to Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the body of Christ.

19 comments:

Jeff Winter said...

Thank you Viola for your thoughtful words. Having grown up in the old UPCUSA I barely recognize the church of my youth and ordination. I was called to be a white corpuscle to this denomination to fight back infection and disease. The cancer now is too great.

Anonymous said...

Amen, and Amen!

Bayou Christian said...

Bless you. May the Lord continue His walk with you in evident, and loving ways.

Anonymous said...

Well, it would seem that the conservatives, by leaving, and not making themselves present at the table, are creating the most liberal Presbyterian Church there has ever been. The more they leave, the more liberal the remnant. It's just math.

While I don't really believe the Gospel lies in the liberal/conservative plane, the lack of balance is not good.

Jodie Gallo
Los Angeles, CA

Anonymous said...

Viola, whatever ones opinions, there is no real medical or scientific evidence that being Gay and be "Cured" (it is not a disease...no "cure" is called for...that was VERY rude thing to write) and it is not appropriate to have flat earth proponents at geography meetings, or proponents of quack medicine speaking at such forums as this.

and yes Viola, whether you realize it or not, just as an old southern racist who will swear he is not racist but does not see what all the hubbub about using the "n" word is about, the cure comment was not the sort of thing a person with manners and decorum should say...at least not without expected (as with the racist) to get called out on it.
Gene

Atlanta

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart, Gene.

John Erthein
DeFuniak Springs, FL

Anonymous said...

Bless your too, John

Gene

Atlanta

Viola Larson said...

Gene the disease is called sin, as are innumerable other acts such as gossip and thievery. It is forgiven because of the death and resurrection of Christ. The person is then transformed by the power of Christ's resurrected life. We are all sinners, we all need Jesus.

Andy Vloedman said...

Viola I watched most of the proceedings online. The manipulation of process and fraud in mislabeling actions was obvious. As I watched my conclusion was the commissioners must see this for what it is and are just going along because they like the result. Since you were there I'm interested in your thoughts on that.

Anonymous said...

and your church, which you need to learn from, has pointed out that being gay is not seen as sinful. The literal reading of scripture (the same kind of reading that most conservatives would use to prevent you having a voice in Church I would add) on this issue, as it has with womens ordination and many other issues, is not the correct one.

Or the one the Church (yours and mine) is now using its worth noting.

the language of "cure" from a Doctor is what we are talking about. it was inappropriate from a medical standpoint. It was inappropriate from a theological standpoint. The word "cure" implies a sickness. Does one go to the doctor for a "cure" for gossip? Hardly.

Ever heard of Atascadero State Hospital? A place where doctors "cured" Gay people, earning it its nickname "Dachau For Queers".

If you really knew and understood the people you have fought so long to prevent serving in and being fully part of the church, you would understand just how loaded...and utterly inappropriate, the word "cure" is in reference to gay people, be it in a medical, or spiritual sense.

Gene

Atlanta

Viola Larson said...

Andy, I was in the Middle East Committee, and remember there were both orthodox and progressives against divestment and the other items, there were several commissioners very upset that they were not being allowed to hear both sides. One even said he felt like a puppet. He said that to his committee and all of us watching.

But in plenary on the marriage issue I could not see the commissioners except on a large screen like you. Most of the commissioners knew what they wanted. They wanted to be acceptable to our culture and they wanted to be for what they felt was 'rights.' Too many people in the PC USA do not know their Bible well enough, they have not been trained and I have to say I think we may be facing a denomination of unconverted leaders and lay people. Too many of the orthodox have left. And the commissioners did not understand the polity of their denomination, I can't blame them, they are lost sheep.

But people in the Covenant Network and More Light knew what they were doing. They were using an AI in the wrong way. They were using it to change policies without the Presbyteries voting on it. That was very dishonest. And people like Ed Koster who is progressive but honest and knowledgeable has called them on it. The stated Clerk and others know that that move was dishonest. I don't think that that many of the commissioners knew. And if they did they don't understand that obtaining what you want in a dishonest manner is sinful. Anyway that is my thoughts on the manner.

Viola Larson said...

Gene I mean it in a spiritual sense which may apply to both the soul and the emotions as well as the body. Remember Jesus is the great physician.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Viola Larson said...

Gene I will allow a lot of things but not anyone trying to put words in my mouth. Do not comment here again.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andy Vloedman said...

Viola I appreciate your observations. When someone asks me my reaction to the GA I tell them I'm waiting to see if enough people on both sides of the issues will realize what we have lost when we let our process be manipulated in such a intentionally fraudulent way. Any correction would have to involve a change in leadership since it was clear they knew exactly what they were doing.

Viola Larson said...

Yes, Andy, I agree with that. Leadership, the stated clerk, the moderator, those on the floor representing ACC and others knew exactly what they were doing. In fact I was re-watching some of that last night and the ACC representative on the floor when asked to reconcile what was said on their recommendation on the item with what she was saying on the floor did not answer that question but simple repeated herself.

Personally I think we need to find out who wrote the ACC's recommendation and find out what they now think and also if they were kept from stating that on the floor.

Andy Vloedman said...

Viola For me the moment that clearly defined where this GA was headed was when the chair of the committee was asked how the committee had reconciled it's action with the recommendation of the ACC and his response was we didn't consider it. At that point it was game on. The organization and coordination of effort surprised me. Who are these folks?

Viola Larson said...

That they didn't consider it means that no one in that committee brought it up, which is hard to believe. I know there were members of that committee that probably did bring it up. In fact the person, Neil Zampella, who moved that the AI was out of order for just about the same reason in plenary was in that committee, so I would suppose that the moderator of the committee was lying.