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!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Matter of Conscience

Here is a thoughtful post from the New Church (R)evolution blog, Personal statement on G-6.0106b. Author of the post, David Paul wrote:

It is hard to comprehend sometimes why any Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) person would remain in the PC(USA). Even with so many supportive and loving people in this denomination I am not sure why we continue to stick around. The church has made it explicitly clear that LGBT people are not welcome. Psychologists, therapists, and probably most people would say we are a bit insane. And to some degree I concur.
Today the Church Orders Committee will be voting on some sort of recommendation to the General Assembly on what to do about the gay, or as Parker Williamson of the LayMAN calls God's children, "sundry anomalies."

Sixty people testified yesterday and spoke either for or against changing our policies. The committee will vote today. Then on the floor of the General Assembly whatever recommendation is put forth will be debated.

David wrote on his blog regarding his observations of the testimonies:

The other thing that struck me today were all those beautiful gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals bearing witness to God's call in their life and the church's refusal to accept. You can see it on every single LGBT person that has stuck with the church. You can see it in their eyes and you can see how their heart aches. Beautiful children of God sharing what they know to be true. The church says one thing and yet we know that God's call is real and powerful. We know another reality exists....

So why again do we LGBT people stay in this broken discriminatory denomination? There are some things I guess we can never fully answer. For me I stay because I care. It sucks that I care, but I do. I wish I didn't and I could just walk away. But right now I care too much to walk away. So I am here in San Jose taking a week of vacation from my job to testify why the church should allow me and so many others to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Each commissioner will have to wrestle with his or her conscience at this General Assembly. No one will be able to claim ignorance. No commissioner can say, "I didn't know about the exclusion these folks experience." The witness of LGBTQ people has been phenomenal. I am only there in a virtual way. But I see the pictures of the knitted scarves.

(Read about what those scarves mean here).

I can read and hear the testimonies as well as you can. Yes, the church has been talking about this for decades.

Please do not misunderstand. This conversation is
not about sex.

It is about what it means to be human. It is about what it means to follow Christ. It is about following the example of Jesus who loved and embraced those very people who the religious authorities dismissed as "sundry anomalies."

What is decided this week will have larger implications than the Presbyterian Church. The decisions will have bearing on gay people in your life whether you know they are gay or not. The world is watching this week.

Are you worried, commissioners, that we might lose members and money or be labeled as a "queer church" by your friends and neighbors? Are you worried about the backlash of the right wing? Or do you really think that these folks are sundry anomalies and not worth the possible threat they pose to the so-called purity of the church?

Your conscience. Your call.

This is what one of those "sundry anomalies," David, wrote about his experience with the church:

The church is too busy trying to protect the purity of the church to listen to Jesus.
Maybe this week you can prove him wrong.

(photos by Erin Dunigan for The Presbyterian Outlook)