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

Friday, January 20, 2012

ECO? Seriously?

Planet Earth needs another Presbyterian denomination.   Here it is.  This one is "a bold church unafraid."   OK, unafraid, but yet a bit squeamish about gays.   So squeamish in fact, that they could no longer function in the PC(USA) and simply had to form a brand new denomination because someday, somewhere another congregation or presbytery in the PC(USA) might ordain a gay person, and well if that happened, then, gosh, we couldn't be bold and unafraid any longer.  We would have to be very afraid.  

So this new, bold and unafraid denomination calls itself curiously enough, ECO.   That might mean that the new bold and unafraid denomination might be bold about responding to climate change, unafraid to speak out against mountain top removal strip mining, bold in raising awareness regarding fossil fuel depletion, and unafraid in working toward sustainability.   With a name like ECO, a denomination must have as its central focus care for Earth.   Right?  If that was its focus, I would consider jumping ship and signing on.  

Well, it is not literally ECO.  Not that kind of ECO.   Here is the logo:

 
It seems they like the image of ECO (notice the green leaf), but it is recycled fundamentalism and homophobia with green lipstick.   It is not unlike calling creationism "intelligent design".   I perused their theological statements and outside of a brief and tame statement on "stewardship of the goods we've been given" I didn't see anything about caring for Earth.   

I get that they don't want theological innovation (or "heretics" like me nor do they want gays).  Whatever.  But to rip off and co-opt the image of the ecological movement for their narrow ideology is shameful.   The only hope is that maybe they will be shamed by the people they attract with this false image to live into it.



11 comments:

Kattie said...

I'm glad at least that they stopped calling it the "New Reformed Body". I haven't seen very much "Reformed" in their process thus far. They pay lip service to it, but their actions don't seem to match the words. This has been a clergy-only led rebellion. There's not a single lay leader in the Theology or Polity groups. I'm wondering if the PC(USA) will recognize them as a legitimate Reformed Denomination.

Snad said...

Deformed Renomination is more like it; dropping their seeds on rocky ground.

Jeff said...

I read the name as "Evangelical COPS"

Kattie said...

Here’s an excerpt from the ECO Polity document:

“Those who are invited to take significant leadership roles in the congregation shall be
spiritually mature, agree with the Essential Tenets of the ECO, be carefully selected, be trained
and/or mentored, and be supervised, and should ordinarily be members for at least a year.”

You have to “agree with” not just abide by the “Essential Tenets”. I guess they’re going to say bye-bye to freedom of conscience. This is a little scary to me personally. Our Session has been prodded by our Pastor to endorse becoming a Union member of the ECO and the PC(USA). If that happens, I wouldn’t be permitted to serve on Session again even though I’m a PC(USA) Ruling Elder. We don’t get to pick and choose which constitution to follow; we have to agree to follow whichever constitution is less permissive on each particular issue. I’m not about to give up my freedom of conscience!

Alan said...

Gee the BFTS have formed a new affinity group.

Confessing Churches,
Renewal Network,
etc., etc., etc., etc.

Now add ECO to the list. This too shall pass like all the others.

John Shuck said...

@Alan, agreed.

Jessica said...

Wow, I am not exactly sure how I have stumbled upon your blog but I happen to be from Lowville and realized I graduated hs with your sister-in-law she was wonderful. I am a little confused though as I have never heard of this ECO movement but is'nt it calling the kettle black saying that they are ripping off the real ECO movement? I mean after all are'nt you a heretic/naturalist calling yourself a Presbyterian. I bet you the founders of Presbyterianism would claim no affiliation with you!

John Shuck said...

@Jessica

Welcome. I very much enjoyed my time at Lowville. As to your question the answer is no.

I am a PCUSA minister in good standing with my denomination. I feel I represent an important part of the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition. I rip off nothing. I am at home even as I challenge the denomination to reform its theology and commitments.

"ECO", on the other hand, has absolutely nothing to do with the ecological movement. Its logo and acronym represent a marketing ploy.

Jeff Winter said...

I was at the Orlando meeting last week. I'm glad the new name doesn't have the words reformed body it, though I am looking forward to the promised new body we will get in the new heavens and earth. I am supportive of no ordination for gays and lesbians since I don't believe for a second that God creates homosexuals. I have given a chunk of my life helping men and women leave homosexuality. Many are successful and some are not. I love homosexually-identified folks. They are some of the most honest people I know

John Shuck said...

I have given a chunk of my life helping men and women leave homosexuality.

And that my friends is the icon of ignorant religion. This is what you get when superstition is in charge. You get people devoting their lives to harming others while operating under the delusion that they are doing good. The authoritative basis for this life purpose is not science, reason, or logic, but special revelation ("God told me to do this.") This is why religion must be exposed for the fraud it has become and why no book can be viewed as "Word of God."

irreverance said...

Aw, I'm late to the party again.

Elsewhere on the web, I've seen someone say is should be "ECHO," adding the "h" for "homophobic." Given that it's formation is specifically in response to the PC(USA) opening the door to gay and lesbian ordination, it seems fitting.

The other two issues to me seem to be pensions and property. These are what keep them from outright leaving the denomination. From what I gather, the plan is to be both part of the PC(USA) and ECHO at the same time (at least for a while). I presume this is an attempt to allow pastors to retain their pensions and to avoid fighting over property.

Of course there are a whole slew of issues that arise with being part of two denominations at the same time, primarily because of the reason for the new denomination, so it will be interesting how this works out.