Shuck and Jive

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

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Shuck and Jive: The Most Reformed Blog on the Web

I have been checking out a few other blogs as well as the Layman and so forth. My name appears every now and then as a supposed example of everything that is wrong in our denomination. I have been taken out of context, misrepresented, and slandered. In these blogs and letters to editors, people have been urged to contact denominational officials to do something about me--the heretic.

But I don't take it personally. Because it isn't about me. There is a power struggle in this denomination. Some clergy want to leave the denomination and take the presbytery's property with them. Others want control over the denomination. There are two tactics. The first is to encourage sessions to withhold funds in order to dry up the presbyteries, general assembly and staff. The second tactic attempts to paint the denominational leaders as apostate. Here is how that works:

  • Rather than charge me with doing something wrong, which they certainly could do...
  • Rather than actually meet and talk with me, which they certainly could do...
...Instead, they jump to the conclusion, and try to convince anyone in the blog world, that I am already guilty of heresy. They encourage all of these people who do not even know me, to write letters and e-mails, demanding that I be "disciplined." They accuse my presbytery of being negligent and bad, in order to embarrass people in my presbytery. It is called power politics.

What they think they are going to get is either...
a) that I will be "disciplined" and then silenced (which is not really a big prize); or
b) if I am not disciplined, it shows evidence that the denomination is corrupt by not calling on the carpet its obvious heretics. This is the big prize. They want leverage in order to steal the church's property.

All of this is done without one word to me. Guilty without trial. Guilty without even an accusation. Guilty by the court of bloggers. Because I am colorful and outspoken regarding social justice issues and theological scholarship, I have become the poster child for the corruption of the denomination.

Now the good news. That tactic will not work. I am not a heretic. I, of course, have done nothing wrong. I am a Reformed pastor. I have been ordained for 15 years. I have publicly proclaimed my ordination vows on several occasions and by the grace of God and with humility, I carry them out. I teach and I preach Reformed theology. I have done so. I am doing so. I will continue to do so. If anyone would like to visit with me, discuss the over 450 blog posts I have made or the hundreds of sermons I have given over the years, or the papers I have written, or the countless number people I have helped on their spiritual path, or the positive work that I have done in and for the PCUSA and for Christ, do come on over. We'll hoist a sarsparilla.

By the way, the staff of our presbyteries, synods, and general assembly do good work for this church. The PCUSA is a good denomination. I am honored and humbled to serve Christ through it.