Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The LayMAN and Its BogeyMAN

The LayMAN is fuming. Here is the latest from Carmen Fowler:
If you disagree with the latest liberalization of ordination standards you will be openly called names: bigoted, closed-minded, homophobic, old-fashioned, behind-the-times, out-of-touch....In all this remember that the flaming arrows are not really aimed at you. They are aimed at Him. Consider it a privilege to take the flack for the One who took the nails.
Where have we heard that before? If you disagree with us you crucify our Lord. Hi Ho.

And this from Forrest Norman:

Fresh off a political triumph which redefined the mores of a denomination, advocates of this liberal trend are not going to adopt what they view as an archaic worldview nor are they going to stop seeking further revisions. They will seek to redefine marriage. They will seek to redefine the trinity, demoting the divinity and undermining the historicity of Christ’s bodily resurrection. They will seek to progress from “may” to “must” in terms of gay ordination, same-sex marriage rights and per capita support. They will seek to “retranslate” (i.e. change) and replace the wording of the confessions to bring them into conformity with their preferred proclivities. They will seek to further dilute the existing confessions by adding additional ones.
Let me see if Mr. Norman is correct from my point of view.
  1. They will seek to redefine marriage. Yup, that's me, although I call it marriage equality.
  2. They will seek to redefine the trinity, demoting the divinity and undermining the historicity of Christ’s bodily resurrection. Already been done. I push for further undermining of supernaturalism.
  3. They will seek to progress from “may” to “must” in terms of gay ordination, same-sex marriage rights and per capita support. I will not enable prejudice. If there is "may" to "must" on the ordination of men or white people, then I advocate "may" to "must" on ordination of gay people. If there is "may" to "must" on opposite-sex marriage, then I advocate for "may" to "must" on same-sex marriage. I don't care about per capita.
  4. They will seek to “retranslate” (i.e. change) and replace the wording of the confessions to bring them into conformity with their preferred proclivities. The confessions are historical markers and should be translated accurately.
  5. They will seek to further dilute the existing confessions by adding additional ones. Belhar would have been a helpful addition to call the church on its racism. Dilute? Odd choice of words. I like "enhance". Also, I would advocate for a new confession to address the issues I raise on a regular basis.
All in all, I am pretty much everything Mr. Norman warned you about. I would smile if my liberal friends would do all of these great things. While the liberals in the PC(USA) are liberal on social issues, they are mostly status quo on theological matters. They are nicer than me, too. They seek dialogue and they beg for the LayMANites to stay in the denomination and they wring their hands in sorrow that ordination changes might make someone mad or sad. I don't.

It won't help the LayMAN with its fundraising efforts for folks to know the truth. That truth is that I am a small minority in the denomination. Perhaps a minority of one. Most who resonate with my ideas have long left organized religion. They are the church alumni association. Most could give a flip about the church except when it seeks to force its oppressive "morality" on the secular world.

There are these odd pockets (one of which I happen to inhabit at present) that will never be a majority in church or culture. We are that strange group that neither the religious nor the non-religious quite understand. We embrace secular values for the most part but still like to play in the Christian sandbox. Oddities to be sure. We get lifted up by the religious right as bogeymen for everything wrong in the church. So we are a good fundraising tool for the LayMAN. I should demand a cut. We aren't that powerful or numerous. It would be nice if we were, though.
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