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!

Friday, March 07, 2008

An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church

The Witherspoon Society posted An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church (USA).

This is a powerful, heartfelt letter.

Date: March 2008

From: Your Candidates and Inquirers for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer

Re: Bush vs. Presbytery of Pittsburgh PJC Ruling Regarding Ordination Standards and G-6.0106b

We, your sisters and brothers in Christ, your colleagues in ministry, faithful members of Presbyterian churches are saddened by the recent ruling of the Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) which singles out the requirement of fidelity in heterosexual marriage and chastity in singleness as an essential tenet of Reformed faith. This ruling contradicts some of the most important work of the Peace Unity and Purity Task Force, which put forward a more gracious and open way for us to live together as the body of Christ in the midst of our differences.

This PJC decision puts a wedge between theology and practice, belief and action, being and doing. It demeans the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer persons by again reducing our lives to sexual acts. It fails to recognize God's ability to choose whomever God wills to serve the Church. It perpetuates the mythology that sexual orientation is simply a matter of behavior. It says that we are not filled with God's grace. (Read the Rest of the Letter)


47 comments:

  1. who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer

    Queer? I looked up the word "queer" in the dictionary and none of the definitions were flattering (as "homosexual" it is slang but it doesn't mean gay or lesbian here as that would be redundant). So, what do they mean by queer?

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  2. Wikipedia has a pretty good article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer

    Hope that helps.

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  3. Yeah, and did you hear that people of African descent have appropriated the originally derogatory term "black" as a term of empowerment?

    It's true!

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  4. "It demeans the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer persons by again reducing our lives to sexual acts."

    Boy,that says it all.

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  5. Well snad, I'm sure that makes perfect, logical sense to folks on the other side. See, they don't actually believe gay people exist; all people are heterosexual. Thus, gay people are actually just straight people who choose to do naughty things. They have lives, we have a lifestyle. Don't you see? Makes perfect sense. ;)

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  6. Thanks Alan for the reference. I have seen the Q as "Questioning" and Queer in this context seems to mean the same. There are gay missions by the way such as this gay Jewish one to Israel. Perhaps another way gays can serve is through missions and parachurch organizations.

    We really need to re-think our "church" concept by the way. Do we really want to put all our hopes in a system where the same pastor preaches from the same pulpit to the same people at the same time every week for 50 years? Is there really a pearl of great price at the end of this fight?

    Perhaps we should also be open to supporting missions and groups sponsored by the church that would sanction the services of Christian gays (is there any statute stopping that?). As Jesus said there's a big harvest and not enough workers.

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  7. Yeah, Alan - that thing about "lifestyle" always gets me, too. I wonder what these people would do if we all just stopped having sex for a while? Not that they are worth the sacrifice, eh? ;-)

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  8. Jim wrote, "Perhaps we should also be open to supporting missions and groups sponsored by the church that would sanction the services of Christian gays (is there any statute stopping that?). As Jesus said there's a big harvest and not enough workers."

    I agree. There are plenty of opportunities where people, gay or straight can and already do serve the church. Included among those is ordained service.

    snad wrote, "I wonder what these people would do if we all just stopped having sex for a while?"

    Yeah, well, I know gay people who believe that they are called to celibacy. Their denominations won't ordain them either. Once you pull that rug out from under their argument, the other side just finds a new rug.

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  9. "Once you pull that rug out from under their argument, the other side just finds a new rug."

    Just as I suspected!! I'll bet the rug lobbyists are behind it all!!

    Seriously, though, that was my point. A person is gay whether or not they are sexually active, just as a hetero is hetero with or without sex. So, by requiring gays to be celebate for ordination, the PCU IS basically reducing gays to a sexual act. For these others that won't ordain gays, if a gay clergy lives the life of a hetero (in other words, lies), in order to get ordained he or she is still gay, right? It's still the sex act that is the "definer" as our preznit would say. It's just stupid. It's also petty and damned mean-spirited.

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  10. This isn't related to this post particularly, but I just wanted to say that, originally, on my husband's blog about a week ago, I asked why, after evangelicals explain why they don't hate, progressives continue to call them hateful. Via a lot of comments, many of you have given me an understanding of why that is, and I see your point to some degree.

    I just want to say a couple things about that:
    1) Most of the time, you have misunderstood what evangelicals are saying, and you have interpreted legitimate rhetorical devices such as sarcasm and hyperole (as opposed, say, to name-calling with vulgar language) to be hate;
    2) It's not legitimate for you to say that all evangelicals do something just because some evangelicals do it.

    Thanks--

    Debbie

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  11. P. S. I forgot to say--Alan, I left one more comment for you on the "Just a Guy with a Blog?" post.

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  12. Oh, and Alan, what you say:

    "they don't actually believe gay people exist; all people are heterosexual. Thus, gay people are actually just straight people who choose to do naughty things."

    is not true. There's good evidence that sexual orientation is not chosen. However, behavior is chosen.

    My sister was born with alcoholism. She didn't choose that. However, she can choose whether or not to drink. Her life is tougher than mine because she always has to resist that inborn temptation. It's not fair that she has a harder life than I do. But that's the way it is. I don't want to say to her that just because she was born with an orientation towards alcoholism that she should go ahead and drink.

    That's similar to how many evangelicals view homosexual orientation: it's way tougher because people with that orientation have to resist something they're born with, and it's not fair, but we don't want to say go ahead and do it, because we believe that when people do things that we believe God does not intend them to do, their lives will be worse in the long run.

    Sorry, I hope that doesn't offend you, but that's the explanation.

    Now I'm dropping out again because I've got a ton of stuff to do. I really only stopped by to leave my previous comment.

    Debbie

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  13. Oh, by the way, (I guess I can't resist), I'm old enough to have lived through several phases of naming. When I was a child "Negro" was used to replace the derogatory term "colored." Then "Negro" started to be viewed as derogatory, so "black" was used as a non-derogatory term; it was not originally derogatory. When I was in college in the late 60's it was a term of power and pride. But then somehow that term was viewed as not a good term, and "African-American" came in.

    Debbie

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  14. "is not true."

    Actually it's quite true. Very many evangelicals and fundamentalists do indeed wrongly believe that sexual orientation is a choice. You may not, and that's good, but I think that may be a minority position within the evangelical/fundie communities.

    "That's similar to how many evangelicals view homosexual orientation: "

    Yeah, I know, unfortunately. There are all sorts of reasons that analogy is wrong, but the biggest reason is that untreated alcoholism destroys lives: the life of the alcoholic him/herself, lives of their family, etc.

    The same is not true of homosexuality.

    The second problem with the analogy is that, other than the obvious, sexual orientation is no different whether one is gay or straight. So the proper analogy would be alcoholism is like having any sexual orientation, which obviously makes no sense at all. One can either be an alcoholic or not, one cannot either have a sexual orientation or not.

    You choose to make the analogy because you've already decided that homosexuality is bad. The analogy would only work if that were true on it's face, the same way untreated alcoholism is bad.

    Regardless of one's sexual orientation, people can make either good, or bad decisions for their lives.

    On the topic of tone, you write, " legitimate rhetorical devices such as sarcasm and hyperole "

    I think in sensitive difficult discussions it is often helpful to refrain from either one as much as possible because I think they do engender negative feelings. Surely, as you've commented that some things written over here may be a catalyst for "hate", you can see that snotty, sarcastic, belligerent comments can also be catalysts for those same negative feelings.

    Or to quote a line from The West Wing, "Ah, sarcasm, the lazy man's wit." :)

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  15. Anyway, the main point I wanted to make today is that some of you have made me understand why some progressives continue to call evangelicals hateful after those evangelicals explain that they don't hate.

    Debbie

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  16. So, when PCUSA polity works as it is supposed to, that is somehow wrong?



    Why does anyone regardless of "orientation" feel that they must be accepted as ministers of word and sacrament in the pcusa? Are there no other denominations? Are you saying that everyone should be accepted? Are you sayingthat there should be no standards for ordained ministry?



    Sorry, I'm confused, I thought that an organization was allowed to control itself.

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  17. Ya know, Craig, the exact same argument was used to keep both women and divorced people of both genders out of Presbyterian pulpits as recently as the 1950s and 60s (and is still being used in the OPC and PCA).

    We are reformed, ever being reformed after the Word of God, and that calls us "to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" even if it means ordaining people we personally find icky.

    The whole point of Presbyterian government is to keep ourselves open to being reformed, not to cement our prejudices for all time.

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  18. I'll take a page from our Viola's book.

    Felix Mendelssohn, the composer (of among many other things the famous Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the tune for "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"), was the grandson of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. However, due to the rampant anti-Semitism of 19th century Germany, Felix's father had Felix and his siblings baptized and raised as Lutherans. As far as Felix himself was concerned, he was a Protestant Christian.

    Regardless, Mendelssohn's work was eschewed by anti-Semites in Europe, culminating in Hitler's inclusion of Mendelssohn scores in book burnings, because while he was baptized and raised a Christian, Mendelssohn was still considered a Judensohn ("son of a Jew").

    Yes, a man who believed in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, was baptized and faithful to the Christian church, but considered "less than" because of an accident of birth.

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  19. "Are you sayingthat there should be no standards for ordained ministry? "

    Yes, that's precisely what we're saying. You have inadvertently stumbled across our secret agenda. Next we plan on altering the Book of Order to get dogs and cats ordained. LOL

    Hey, Craig, let me know if you start asking serious questions, instead of that kind of straw-man. Or to quote a former research advisor of mine, "That's a stupid question. Ask a better one." :)

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  20. Flycandler.

    If you would have read what I said, you would realize that this is not about ordaining persons we find to be icky. It is about an orginization's (corperation if you will) right to self govern. In this case that process specified in the BOO was followed, which resulted in the PJC ruling. There are ways to challenge these types of things, use them. Or is it just a problem when the result is not one you agree with. As to your Hitler's book burnings reference, the only way I can interpret that is that you are calling me a NAZI (which of course only comes from fundies). Beyond that I see no relavance of Hitlers misguided racial theories to this discussion.

    Alan, First allow me to humbly beg your forgiveness for my stupidity. I foolishly thought someone might respond to the point of the post (called a NAZI and Stupid for my first post, is that some kind of record?)

    Had you seen through my clever subterfuge, you would have found t my real point. So I'll try again, all organizations (corperations) have standards for membership. The only question is who'se standards are used. Right now the standards in the PCUSA have been put in place in the proper way, and have withstood three attempts to change them through the constitutional process. If you don't like the standards, keep working through the process for change. If you are unsuccessful, you might consider other avenues for your gifts, talents and career choices.

    BTW I know some dogs that would do a better job that some ordained folks I've dealt with.

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  21. Craig, first of all, I didn't call you stupid, I called your question stupid. Second of all, even that was a joke, which is why there's a little smiley face next to the statement. :) Third of all, my comment was also in the context of the previous comments about sarcasm in this thread. So, I'm sorry that you misinterpreted my comment.

    However, if you didn't really mean to ask, "Are you sayingthat there should be no standards for ordained ministry?", which is not anything that anyone here has argued for, then why ask a question like that in the first place?

    (The Nazi thing that was mentioned was completely a reference to a previous comment thread on here. That is, one of the conservative commenters on here persists in making the "argument" that we progressives are like Nazis. If you hadn't seen that thread, then you wouldn't get the reference.)

    In any event, back to your question. No one is arguing that we shouldn't have standards for ordination. The better question you ask is: which standards?

    I think that the standard should be: we ordain those whom God calls.

    So, whose standards should we use? Though to me it seems like the answer should be obvious, I'll answer anyway by saying that we should use God's standards; not some set of extra-Biblical standards created by human beings who are, it seems, too intent on gate-keeping and not intent enough about justice-seeking. We should use standards that actually influence and/or impact that person's service (do they have a gift for discernment, leadership, evangelism, etc.), not arbitrary standards that have nothing to do with that service (ie. is the person left or right handed, blue or brown eyed, gay or straight.)

    "If you are unsuccessful, you might consider other avenues for your gifts, talents and career choices. "

    If you had been living in the 1940's giving career advice to an Africa-American woman, would you give the same advice? "Sorry, I know being a doctor sounds like a great career, and you're clearly an outstanding student, but you might consider other avenues for your gifts, talents and career choices." So, in the same way, giving up on the Church just because we haven't been successful so far is probably not a realistic option.

    Also, if a person is truly called by God to ordained service, and yet the Church says "No!", do you really think that person should obey the Church and not God?

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  22. Alan,

    This is the third time and it's going to be short.

    Denominations are man made institutions, therefore they can mae their own rules. They can also change those rules. The Kingdom of God is bigger than the PCUSA, it is possible to serve elsewhere and still serve God.

    Finally, denominations are dying, why are the GLBT folks so set on becoming a part of an institution that will be irrelevant (probably) within our lifetime.

    God with God, don't limit yourselves, do new exciting things. If God is leading you he will bless whatever he leads you to do.

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  23. "The Kingdom of God is bigger than the PCUSA, it is possible to serve elsewhere and still serve God."

    Indeed, there are plenty of places to serve, and among them is the PCUSA.

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  24. Finally, denominations are dying, why are the GLBT folks so set on becoming a part of an institution that will be irrelevant (probably) within our lifetime.

    This is one of the more bizarre arguments I hear from the right. "The only way to counteract declining numbers of pastors and members is to prevent people from becoming pastors or members."

    Could it possibly be that what the mainline church needs right now are MORE young pastors from diverse backgrounds with a proven passion for serving the church?

    I'm astounded that that has to be such a revolutionary statement.

    And no, Craig, I don't think you're a Nazi. It was a direct response to our Debbie by parroting our Viola, who as our Alan said insists on comparing us progressives to Nazis. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I find those remarks extraordinarily insulting, especially as a member of a minority that also got subjected to mass murder by Hitler. It's as ludicrous as comparing Jews to Nazis.


    (and yes, there is a concerted effort on my part to get our John to use more British expressions, such as "cheeky")

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  25. Fly and Alan,

    Do you guys major in misunderstanding or are you just obtuse.

    Alan, I'll try again. There is no God given right for anyone to be ordained in the PCUSA. Yes it is one option to serve God, but not the only one. If you or your friends feel that fighting this battle is the best use of your time feel free, personally I think there are better things to do. No matter what please stop acting like it is impossible to serve God outside the PCUSA.

    Fly, Thank you so much for not actually calling me a NAZI, you can't imagine how relieved I am.

    As to your point, yes it is theoretically that a group of young, diverse, energetic pastors could reverse the decades long slide into irrelevance of denominations. My question is why would they want to. Look at all of the exciting places God is working outside of denominations. I am not saying (lease read what I wrote, it's pretty short) that the way to end the decline is to exclude people from being pastors. I am saying why would someone want to board the Titanic, just because the water is deck level. SInce we're primarily speaking PCUSA here, let me say,IMO, the sooner we put a fork in it the better. So, by all means jump on the sinking ship, if that's what you want. Please don't let me stop you.

    I do find it interesting that we've so quickly gone off on these tangents. My main point still stands.

    The NAZI thing has so much more love and kindness when it comes from a progressive, than a conservative. BTW, I'm not sure I've ever read Viola actually call anyone a NAZI. I've only read her say things like "The NAZI's did x, group y is doing x, therefore group y is doing the same thing as the NAZI's" maybe that's splitting hairs but if two groups are actually doing the same thing then it seems fair to compare and contrast. Sorry, if that makes me evil too, but I've heard too many progressives (I live in one of the last two places Air America is still on) call conservatives NAZI's and then some (Stephanie Miller), so why not give it a rest.

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  28. "There is no God given right for anyone to be ordained in the PCUSA. "

    Actually if God gives it, it is right. LOL. What should the Church be doing, if not acknowledging God's will?

    "No matter what please stop acting like it is impossible to serve God outside the PCUSA."

    Well, to quote you, do you major in misunderstanding or are you just obtuse? (I can't help but notice that, while I called your question stupid, not you, you've decided it's appropriate to start calling us names) Anyway...

    I've acknowledged that there are plenty of places one can serve within and outside the PCUSA. You might have noticed that had you read this:

    I wrote "there are plenty of places to serve, and among them is the PCUSA."

    Which of those words was too big for you?

    Now even the obtuse among us should be able to understand that sentence means there are lots of different areas of service outside as well as inside the PCUSA. Just to reiterrate for the obtuse, that means there are jobs outside of the PCUSA, and that there are also, in addition to those jobs outside the PCUSA, also jobs within the PCUSA.

    Got that yet?

    Just to be even clearer...

    So for those folks, gay or straight, called to service outside the PCUSA, I say GREAT! For those (in or out of the PCUSA) called to service that does not require ordination, I say GREAT! You want to limit it there. I however believe that in addition to all that, there is also ordained service within the PCUSA that should be open to those whom God has called.

    It has occurred to me, and therefore I'm sure it has occurred to you, since I'm so obtuse, but it seems to me that, in addition to all those ways of serving, working justice and equality is also a way of serving Christ.

    Or perhaps we queers could just go back to being hairdressers and florists, women should get back to the kitchen, and African Americans should go back to the fields. After all, those jobs are important. Why should they want to do anything else?

    Not sure if I could phrase that any more clearly, but then I'm obtuse and majored in misunderstanding. LOL

    To quote you, "Give it a rest." I'm happy to have a pleasant conversation with anyone, regardless of whether we agree or not, but I'm not really interested in attempting to out-shout someone who doesn't even bother reading what I write in the first place.

    "So, by all means jump on the sinking ship, if that's what you want. Please don't let me stop you."

    Well, the Christian Church has been around for nearly a couple thousand years, and it doesn't look like that's going to change much for at least the next few hundred, just because you say so.

    "The NAZI thing has so much more love and kindness when it comes from a progressive,"

    Um...that's sorta the point there. "Conservatives" commenting here for the last week or so have been talking about how loving they are vs. how hateful progressives are. Then Viola comes over with her Nazi analogy again. Applying it back at other people demonstrates just how stupid and unloving it is. They can apply the Nazi analogy to us, but as long as it's "loving" it's fine?!

    " than a conservative. BTW, I'm not sure I've ever read Viola actually call anyone a NAZI."

    Can you read? I mean, even as obtuse as I am, I can read well enough to see that no one here ever claimed that she called people Nazis, only that she compares progressives to Nazis.

    "I've only read her say things like "The NAZI's did x, group y is doing x, therefore group y is doing the same thing as the NAZI's"

    Right, and if you use her analogy you'll see that Jews are just like Nazis too. How's that analogy sit with you? Probably just fine.

    "maybe that's splitting hairs but if two groups are actually doing the same thing then it seems fair to compare and contrast."

    Yeah, right. Let me know the next time progressives build concentration camps and start killing 6 million conservatives. That kind of hateful, ridiculous, stupid, insipid rhetoric makes me want to puke.

    But then I'm not as clever as you are.

    "Fly, Thank you so much for not actually calling me a NAZI, you can't imagine how relieved I am."

    PS, I love how you have the nerve to act offended by that, and you act offended by this:

    "I've heard too many progressives (I live in one of the last two places Air America is still on) call conservatives NAZI's and then some (Stephanie Miller), so why not give it a rest."

    but then you write, "The NAZI's did x, group y is doing x, therefore group y is doing the same thing as the NAZI's" maybe that's splitting hairs but if two groups are actually doing the same thing then it seems fair to compare and contrast."

    ROFL. You clearly don't read what we write Craig...the question is, do you even read what you write?! LOL

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  29. Alan,

    Yes I read what you write. I notice that you still will not engage my main point. No problem. If you don't want to do that that is your perogative, but please don't engage what I don't say.

    1. I don't know how to be more clear the PCUSA can establish any standards that it wants with regard to ordination. Just because someone wants to be ordained in PCUSA does not mean PCUSA has to ordain them. This is not debatable (what those standards are, or should be is, and should be, debated), the fact that standards exist and not all meet them is simply a fact.

    2. Yes, you acknowledged there are places to serve outside PCUSA, but you focus on serving within PCUSA. It seems as though your focus is too narrow.

    3. I was unaware that you are in fact "queer", I'm not sure why it's relavant to this conversation. Other than the fact that for you it may be more personal than for others.

    4. No where in this conversation have I suggested that any group of persons should "go back to" any occupation, nor would I. Again this is not relevant to the conversation. I assume that you would not object to those who decide for themselves that they prefer those careers.

    5. Sorry I didn't add the little :) by the obtuse comment.

    6. Please read my posts, I said that denominations were going the way of the dinosaur, not Christianity. A bit of cursory reading of either Barna or the statistical report of the PCUSA makes the case more effectively that my opinion. BTW, it's interesting that the growth areas in the Christian church are primarily in the following areas; the third world (perhaps non-western would be more accurate), churches without (or who down play) denominational affiliation, and churches that tend toward conservative theology. (sorry, that what the statistics look like)

    7. I may be wrong, but it seems like a comments string on a blog probably not the best place to determine who is loving and who's not. So can we agree that it is possible for both progressives and conservatives to be loving, even though it may not seem so from the other perspective?

    8. Interesting use of the "jews are like NAZI's" analogy since I've heard progressives equate Israel with the Third Reich. Inflammatory but maybe not helpful.

    9. I'll drop the trying to explain the analogy, and move on it is obviously to emotionally charged to be productive. If you will agree to do the same.

    10. I'm not offended by either of the two, as much as I am amused. Especially by the Air America folks who make a living by name calling (yes I listen fairly regularly)

    In short, it should be obvious that I have read your posts. It should also be obvious that I origionally posted different topic and that conversation has been diverted. If you want to comment on the propriety of an organization (corperation) setting it's own standards than I'd love to go there, if not then we'll see where this goes.

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  30. Alan:

    You said: ""Conservatives" commenting here for the last week or so have been talking about how loving they are vs. how hateful progressives are." Who has been saying that? I certainly haven't. I did ask why progressives continue to call evangelicals hateful, even after evangelicals have explained themselves, and, as I said earlier, you guys helped me to understand that.

    Please don't misinterpret. Or are you thinking of someone else?

    Debbie

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  31. I love you.
    I hate you.
    I hate you.
    I love you.
    I love to hate you.
    I hate to love you.
    Kiss me, dahling.

    The parade is up ahead, folks.

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  32. "churches that tend toward conservative theology. (sorry, that what the statistics look like)"

    You should read the latest Pew report. You might be surprised. And at least 2/3rds of the tiny amount of growth in more conservative denominations can be explained by demographics, and those changes will not last.

    " Interesting use of the "jews are like NAZI's" analogy since I've heard progressives equate Israel with the Third Reich. Inflammatory but maybe not helpful."

    And what? You think I'd think that's OK too? If it's wrong for them it's wrong for Viola and her cadre.

    "If you want to comment on the propriety of an organization (corperation) setting it's own standards than I'd love to go there, if not then we'll see where this goes."

    Already did. Sorry you missed it.

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  33. Craig, if you think that denominations are irrelevant and doomed, why do you give a damn about those within the PC(USA) wanting to amend their own ordination standards? Isn't it our right?

    I think the reality of the "post-denominational church" is that instead of having a hundred or so denominations, we will have millions, with each individual church establishing its own denominational structure. It's not unifying the Body of Christ, it's atomizing it.

    And yes, the "well there are plenty of places you can serve" statement is extraordinarily offensive. It's been used for women in the church, divorced people in the church, and black people in the church. To tell me that because of YOUR personal prejudice that I cannot fulfill a call by GOD to leadership, and that I should instead be content with arranging the flowers in the sanctuary or playing the organ, that's no different from telling a woman what she cannot fulfill a call by God to leadership and should instead be content with making casseroles for potlucks.

    The PCUS and UPCUSA fought a long, hard, difficult battle to change their own standards to allow women to answer God's call, but I firmly believe that it was the right and just thing to do.

    And it is the right thing to do now regarding those GLBT people called to leadership by God.

    The PC(USA) is my church. I celebrate our proud theological heritage, our commitment to scholarship, our representative democratic system and our efforts to further justice at home and abroad. I acknowledge our shortcomings and past failings, and believe we can use them to learn more about ourselves and how to serve God better. We've been meaning it seriously for 500 years when we say ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda, secundu Verbum Dei. We are the church reformed, always being reformed, after the Word of God. I am not willing to throw it all away in the name of personally-customized church.

    I do not look forward to the era of Elm Street Charismatic Overhead Projector No-PowerPoint Still-Water Dunking No-Preaching-Girls Girls-Teaching-Sunday-School-OK Communion-is-symbolic Baptism-is-not Adult-only-baptism Altar-call Call-and-response-during-sermons-only Divorcees-Not-Welcome "Intelligent Design"-advocating 6-Day-Creationist-mocking Gay-hating Minority-tolerating Anti-condom Caffeine-ok Liquor-ok-as-long-as-it's-private Dancing-verboten Starbucks-ensuite Free-Wifi No Shirt/No Shoes/No Salvation Community Church. People who own signmaking businesses might, but I don't.

    Nec tamen consumebatur, my friend.

    Ain't burnt yet.

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  34. Fly,

    I'd be more interesting in responding to you had you actually read and responded to the entirety of my posts, but I'll take a shot any way. Sorry about the numbered lists, but it helps me keep track.

    1. Honestly I don't care if you (or anyone else) wants to work through the constitutional process to change ordination standards (btw, I've only said that in every post on this thread). The key part of that is "work through the constitutional process" We agree, thanks. This also makes my point that you do believe that organizations (corperations) should be allowed to establish their own standards for people inleadership roles.

    2. I am not commenting on anything but the reality of the situation as it exists today. My opinion, there are some good and bad aspects of the trend. The point of my post however is. Given the situation as it exists today with the decline in denominations, what is the attraction is gaining power over something that is declining. (The caveat here is, do you believe that by making the changes that you can somehow revitalize the PCUSA and help it to rise from the ashes. If that is the case, then you have my respect. There would have to be someting like JS suggested that would allow a period of seperation of congregations that didn't wish to go down your road.)

    3. I was very clear in my statement. There are a number of organizations (both church and parachurch) that have standards that are different from the PCUSA. In no way did I suggest, or imply that anyone should be relegated to a certain set of tasks. I find it interesting that you would demean those who perfrom the tasks you consider derogatory. It would be an interesting discussion vis-avis the whole body of Christ/spiritual gifts picture.

    4. I have not "told" you anything, and I find your assumptions regarding my "personal prejudice" an interesting reflection of your "personal prejudice" Let me say this, I spend all day every day managing an incredibly diverse group of people and ensuring that everyone has opportunities to stretch the boundaries of what they believe they can do, as well as what roles others have given them. I'm hard to offend, but this comes close.

    5. My only comment about what you don't want to see is, I find it interesting that you've made it about you. I'd be much more interested in becoming the church that God wants, than the church you or I want.

    Alan,

    1. It's been a while since I studied statistics and polling, but any future predictions are at best a wag. Again, 'm just referring to the way things are currently. Although if you look worldwide you see a completely different picture.

    2. You asked if I thought it was OK, I said no I didn't think so. Then I offered an instance where I have heard the argument you mentioned made. I would have no way of knowing if you approve of this type of thing from anyone other than Viola or not. I'm glad that you don't approve though.

    3. Alan, I have been trying to limit this to exactly that issue. I apologize if I have missed some of your comments in other places. So if you want to point me to your previous comments, great, if you want to explore it here that's great too.

    Semper Gumby

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  35. I ask again, Craig, why do you give a damn about us in the PC(USA) and what God is doing with us?

    Don't give me this psychological projection crap about "you've made it about you". I'm talking about God calling people to serve and God using the church to further the cause of social justice.

    Enjoy your parachurch.

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  36. I realize this is a bit off topic, but I have to ask, Craig:

    1. Are you aware that Stephanie Miller is not affiliated with Air America?

    2. I've never heard Thom Hartmann or Rachel Maddow call anyone a Nazi. Can you enlighten us on which Air America hosts do so with the regularity you claim?

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  37. "Alan, I have been trying to limit this to exactly that issue. I apologize if I have missed some of your comments in other places."

    Nope, they're all right here in this thread. Take care.

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  38. Fly,

    1. You know, I flip on Air America and there Stephanie MIller is, it's strange how that works. She may not be employed by AA but once they broadcast her she is affiliated. Beyond, that I don't keep records about who says what on AA.

    2. Do you not read my comments, I don't care what you do with the ordination standards, I do care that you do it through the constitutionally mandated process for change. BTW, I never claimed "regularity" just that that's where I hear the NAZI reference most often on talk radio.

    3. I don't know what what "psychological projection crap you are talking about. You said at the end of your list of all of the things you consider bad about churches "I don't". I was unaware that you were the arbiter of such things. I thought God was. It seems pretty clear to me. If we are in a community that is doing God's will (or acording to Alan, in agreement with God's opinion) that God will bless the work being done in his name. If we are not then God won't bless what is done there. You approval (or dissaproval) means nothing in the big picture.

    4. Not that it matters, but I am currently a member of a PCUSA church, I hope that gives me your permission to be interested in the antics currently going on therein. I spend a fair amout of time worshipping and serving with a "church plant" (planted by our congregation) that is not affiliated with a denomination. I work for a Christian non-profit. I do ministry for special needs kids through a parachurch. I also serve at an nondenominational mission in Haiti. So please get over it. Expand your horizons, you might like it.

    Alan,

    When I have a chance I'll go back and read your posts.

    Alan and Fly,

    Why do my posts get longer and cover more stuff and yours get shorter and further from the topics I tried to engage?

    Bon Swa

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  39. Fly and Alan,

    This Craig whoever is a troll. Let him go.

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  40. John,

    Thanks so much, I appreciate the welcome I've gotten from your blog. I'm guessing you probably won't check out the Boyd-Eddy book either.

    El Trollo

    Alan,

    Near as I can tell the only comment you've made about ordination standards is PCUSA should ordain everyone who is "called by God". I would be interested in how you would make that determination. It certainly seems pretty subjective. Would you keep the education requirements? I'll be interested in hearing you expand on this.

    Craig

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  41. A post-denominational Presbyterian. What a fascinating concept. Your stated goal is to destroy the PC(USA). Your ignorance of our system of governance (and the doctrinal reasons for it) is almost as spectacular as your ignorance of how the radio machine works.

    Happy trolling in your parachurch.

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  42. "Why do my posts get longer and cover more stuff and yours get shorter and further from the topics I tried to engage?"

    Because there's no reason to spend time repeating myself over and over. I've written what I meant to write and answered your questions. You can either read what I've written or ignore it. Your choice. But I'm not going to spend more time simply repeating myself. Take care.

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  43. Fly,

    4:41 cst Thom Hartman show, Air America, the new Air Force Slogan is an attampt to connect with the NAZI Luftwaffe. You asked for it you got it.

    BTW why do you feel the need to label me, to put me in a pigeon hole of your own preconceptions.
    I have NEVER stated that my goal is to destroy the PCUSA, I've actually said plenty that I would love to discuss with you. Please limit yourself to what I have actually said, not what you want me to say.

    Actually, I'm fairly well informed as to the governance of the PCUSA and how it works, (or doesn't)(unlike our host who inststs that it is a democracy). Also, you've crushed my Radio/Mass Communications professors who tried so hard to provide me with a good education. I thought my point was very clear, our local AA station is what is called an affiliate of the SM show (which is syndacated) this means in fact that SM is affiliated with our local AA station, although not an employee. This means that there is a financial affiliation (or relationship) between the local AA station and SM (in other words, either the local station pays SM for what is called content, or SM buys airtime from the local station so she has a presence in this particular market. The most fascinating thing about this relationship is that (given the lack of paid commercials, called spots, on the show), is that someone is probably losing money on the deal. (to everyone else, sorry to digress)

    Finally, (and I really hate repaeting myself, but you seem to be ignoring what I write) I am very happy serving God through both church and parachurch orginizations. It is amazing that God's Kingdom actually does get advanced through all sorts of organizations. As far as trolling goes, I'm not much for fishing.

    Alan,

    Thanks, I apprecaite your straightforward attitude. While I would be interested in a dialogue, I appreciate your desire not to elaborate. Maybe some other time and some other place.

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  44. "Thanks, I apprecaite your straightforward attitude. While I would be interested in a dialogue, I appreciate your desire not to elaborate. Maybe some other time and some other place."

    Already did right here. You do enjoy asking me to repeat myself ad nauseam, don't you? LOL

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  45. Well, I would point out that Thom Hartmann is (a) in Darfur all this week with a nonpartisan aid program with various radio talk show hosts sponsored by Christian Solidarity International and (b) is not on the air at 4:41 pm Central time.

    The comment I think you're referring to was part of a discussion of items in the news between guest host Carl Wolfson (again standing in for Thom, WHO IS IN DARFUR ON A HUMANITARIAN MISSION) and Christy Harvey from a Washington think tank. Harvey brings up as "I saw this and just thought it was (laugh) a little strange, um, they have decided to change their slogan, and it is now going to be 'ABOVE ALL'. That's their new slogan." Wolfson says "and that means 'UBER ALLES'?" Harvey says "when you translate that into German it (laugh) is 'UBER ALLES'" Wolfson says "and you put 'Deutschland uber alles, the word Deutschland, which Luftwaffe do you get then?" Harvey : "Um, well I think 'Air Force Uber Alles' is not exactly the message we really want to be spreading around the world, but they think it's a bold one. I wonder how much focus grouping and how much it cost to come up with this one." She then says "It's crazy, I sometimes can't believe it myself and think, 'this has gotta be from The Onion" and Wolfson says "that's why The Onion is so good, because humor is based on truth, and here we have it from this administration!".

    Shock! Horror! Talking about something ironically funny in the news! What kind of Communist bastards are these?

    And yes, Thom Hartmann is carried by Clear Channel via stations across the country, and they are hardly a bastion of hyper-liberalism.

    But the fact that you randomly bring up Air America (which you claim alternatively to listen to constantly and never listen to) in a discussion about the PC(USA) on a blog of a PC(USA) pastor. Yes, John has a link to Air America (and Fox News and the Jerusalem Post) on his main page, but that's a tenuous connection at best.

    Enjoy your parachurch. I hope you get a snappy uniform.

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  46. Fly,

    You obviously do not read what I post. Otherwise you would not be repating what I said.

    1. I did not say that Thom Hartman had the discussion, I said that it was on his show(with a substitute host). Which discussion you correctly identified. WHile to you it might seem as just good fun, I would suggest that those in the AF might be offended. It is certainly not the most egregious example, but it was timely. Further the Thom Hartman show is in fact on the air at 4:41 cdt in the upper midwest. Please don't tell me I'm too stupid to tell time, and Identify the show at the same time. Further, this entire discussion stems from you and Alan asserting that is is bad for conservatives to compare progressives to NAZI's, and my mentioning that I expect the same type of condemnation when the reverse happens. Which I hear on ocaision when I listen to AA. Unlike many, I work during the day and am busy with family committments in the evening. Therefore the only opportunity I have to listen to AA is on my (rather lengthy) commute. So I apologize for only being able to listen sporadically. ( I have consistantly said that I listen regularly, although not exclusively, again please read my actual posts.)

    2. As I thought I explained vis-a-vis SM, both are carried on our local AA station, who they are or are not syndicated by is not germane to the discussion. Again as I explained to you how the process of syndication works. Other thab to change the issue I don't know why you keep bringing it up.

    4. I'm not sure what kind of animus you bear toward parachurch orginizations, and why you continue to focus on this one facet of this string. It seems as though you believe that no Kingdom ministry happens outside the PCUSA, I disagree. (big shock)

    It is obvious that you are going to keep going further and further afield from my original response. If that somehow makes you feel better, I'm happy for you. Beyond that I don't see any point in continuing to respond to you. You obviously don't read what I write, even if you do you are responding to a characture of me based on your own preconceptions of who you think I might be, rather than who I am. I'll probably drop in occaisionally, and will probably comment on and off. But, unless you want to get back on topic I'll just let you rail.

    Alan,

    I've never asked you to repeat yourself ad nauseum, just wanted to see if you would answer some questions. You feel like you have answered them. I would have hoped to go a little deeper into the discussion. If you can't do that without repetition, I'm sorry. Maybe, we'll have better luck on another topic for another day.

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  47. "I would have hoped to go a little deeper into the discussion. If you can't do that without repetition, I'm sorry. Maybe, we'll have better luck on another topic for another day."

    I'm definitely able to discuss things without repetition, but sorry, but there's no evidence that you're able to understand what I write (either I'm not clear enough, or you have a penchant for misunderstanding, or both) so going "deeper" probably isn't possible. Take care.

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