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!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Presbyterian Busybodies

The Presbyterian Busybody and Fusspot Coalition (PBFC) e-mailed my church secretary the other day. They continue in their quest to convince her that Jesus does not want gay people to have their relationships recognized by the church or by society.

Talk about busybodies. If they bother our church secretary you can bet they are bothering every church secretary in the PCUSA with their fusspottiness.

They even try to turn Jesus into a busybody fusspot. They suggest that when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees about divorce he was not really talking about divorce. Jesus was really talking about gay people. Really! Here is their spew of bullshit:
The biblical and historical witness of the Church throughout history and around the world is clear and unequivocal. It is expressed in the Creation mandate of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, which was used as the foundation for Jesus' instruction on marital monogamy and permanence in Matthew 19:4-6 (= Mark 10:6-9): In response he said, "Haven't you read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female [Gen 1:27]? And he said, "Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh [Gen 2:24]. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What then God yoked together, let no person separate."

Jesus did not merely affirm Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. Rather, he based his limitation of two persons to a valid sexual relationship on the twoness of the sexes. In Romans 1:23-27, Paul intentionally echoed Gen 1:26-27 in rejecting homosexual practice because it was a violation of the male-female prerequisite for sexual relations ordained by the Creator at creation, not because of how well or how badly it was done in his cultural milieu.

Scripture and our confessions alike condemn same-sex sexual relationships and indeed any sexual relationship outside the bond of marriage -- sinful relationships and behaviors that God seeks to redeem and transform, not accommodate.
The PBFC really knows how to twist scripture to their own hypocritical advantage. I wonder how many members of the PBFC have been divorced and remarried? But of course that doesn't matter.

They smell red meat with their anti-gay crusade and no amount of irony, reason or human decency will stop that march for injustice.

I take little stock what the Bible says in regards to details. That is no secret. I have written about that before. I am not the "go to guy" when it comes to obeying the Bible in regards to contemporary ethical dilemmas.

If love, reason and commonsense isn't enough to help you decide right from wrong no amount of biblical proof-texting is going to help. This last
sermon is about the most "biblical" you are going to get from me. Any document that says the following:
"If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity..."
is not a document to be trusted at face value regarding ethical behavior.

What is so bizarre about the bible-believing busybodies, is that a bronze age bible isn't even backwards enough for them. They have to read into it stuff that isn't there in order to justify their prejudice.
Jesus did not say one thing about gay people. This is my paraphrase of his message to the busybodies of his day:
“Don’t even pretend to think you are holier than thou. If you think you can find a loophole that gives you divine permission to discard another human being, think again.”
To use a text in which he clearly is criticizing hardheartedness as a text to justify hardheartedness makes one want to run screaming into the darkness.

The
PCUSA Civil Unions and Christian Marriage Committee wants your input. They need to hear voices of sanity and human decency.

I know it is discouraging when we have to compete with the well-funded ignorance of the Presbyterian Coalition. But oppression has always been well-funded.
In response, a little truth can go a long way. As Martin Luther wrote in his great hymn:
The prince of darkness grim -- We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
You get a 1000 words to "fell him" by telling your story of why we need justice in the PCUSA. Email the committee by November 15th.

71 comments:

  1. I had someone try to tell me, by citing Mark 10:6, that Jesus condemned homosexuality. But I reminded them that he wasn't talking about homosexuality in that instance and they should stop cherry-picking to try to claim such things. As you know when cited in full the story shows Jesus was condemning divorce.

    But some people don't care about the truth. They only care about twisting the facts any way they can to support their anti-gay agenda.

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  2. **But some people don't care about the truth.**

    Ain't that the truth.

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  3. I see that the busybodies have submitted an overture to restore that awful anti-gay statement the previous General Assembly removed.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” --Mahatma Ghandi

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  4. What does the Bible say about homosexual activity?

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  5. I was under the impression that it was frowned upon.

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  6. You might want to bone up on your Bible Bari.

    Check here

    and in pdf

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  7. I enjoy getting those newsletters, in an odd way. It's sort of like having the opposing team hand you their playlist prior to the scrimmage.

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  8. Ugh. The Gladys Kravitzing of the PCUSA continues. Now Gladys emailing church secretaries?

    My guess is that those emails are getting deleted unread. Most church secretaries I know have better things to do with their time than gossip with the fusspot coffee klatch about those goll dern hom-o-sexshuls and how they're ruining the neighborhood.

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  9. Well, except for me, Alan. But I only use my knowledge for good. Our fusspot coffee klatch gossips about the Presbyterian Coalition! ;-)

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  10. My sitemeter is telling me that Presbyweb has linked to this post. I can't get to its page because I don't pay for it.

    So welcome presbywebbers.

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  11. I signed on for a free 30-day trial. They linked to this busybodies post.

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  12. Wow, you're famous! You'll get the busybodies, fusspots, tattletales, and scolds all atwitter!

    Ah Presbyweb... Such a clever website idea to simply repost other people's work, charge money for the site, and hope the subscribers don't realize they could get the same content for free with a google alert or RSS reader.

    I wish I'd thought of it. Seriously.

    There used to be a simple way to bypass Presbyweb's security by simply going straight to their archives, but that hole got plugged once they changed providers, alas.

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  13. "You get a 1000 words to "fell him" by telling your story of why we need justice in the PCUSA. Email the committee by November 15th."

    Oops, forgot to mention that we just sent ours (copy posted on my blog). I hope everyone else is getting their letters sent too!

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  14. Snad--OK, I don't really need to go to it. They post the stuff for the common people a day late which is fine for me. I just wanted to welcome the readership...

    Alan--tattletales! I forgot about that bunch... silly me : )

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  15. I'm one of those presbywebers who have stumbled on your blog. Your blog has that gleefully strident tone that makes we wonder if responding generates any light or only more heat. I'm always amazed how easily you folks who want to revise the church's understanding of homosexual practice sweep away 2000 years of church history, exegetical consensus, and the practice of most Christians in the world. I find one of your comments interesting:

    "If love, reason and commonsense isn't enough to help you decide right from wrong no amount of biblical proof-texting is going to help."

    So revelation must accord with cultural reason or it isn't revelation? Sounds like a bad hangover from the Enlightenment. Are we revisiting the Thomas Jefferson school of biblical interpretation?

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  16. Hey Mike, welcome!

    Here is the deal, Mike.

    If the Bible never existed, how would you possibly make a decision?

    Seriously, can you not think for yourself?

    As far as all the historical precedent you cite, the same could be said for the ordination of women. In fact, the vast majority of Christians today (including the big RC) don't ordain women. So why are you in a denomination that has been willing to "sweep away" 2000 years of biblical good ole boyism?

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  17. I think we did pretty well sweeping away centuries of tradition by getting rid of slavery.

    No God but God. Tradition should not be worshipped. As I'm sure any traditional, orthodox Presbyterian knows, even our own confessions state that.

    BTW, you assume love, reason and common sense *aren't* in accordance with revelation? I love the use of a false dichotomy. So your god is a mean, capricious god with no common sense? Odd.

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  18. Loved your link to Soulforce. I wonder if Mel would mind rephraseing #4 "The Bible is a book about God. The Bible is not a book about human sexuality." to read

    The Bible is a book about God. The Bible is not a book about economic justice, gender rights, or warfare?

    Probably won't fly huh?

    Peace
    Alan (the conservative one)

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  19. Don't know, Alan. I guess you could ask him.

    As for me, the Bible is about all kinds of stuff. In the end what matters is the decisions we make.

    Whether the topic is sexual justice, economic justice, gender rights, warfare, or whatever else, we make the decisions.

    We can blame our acts of injustice on the Bible. We can claim that some invisible divine being told us what to do, but in the end, we make our own decisions.

    So what is yours?

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  20. "We can blame our acts of injustice on the Bible."

    Exactly. If we're doing injustice to our neighbor, we're clearly not taking the Bible seriously.

    If one is claiming that the Bible tells us to oppress our neighbor, then I think, using the orthodox Reformed notion that Scripture interprets Scripture, one is not taking the Bible seriously. Instead, that's simply looking for proof-texts to confirm one's existing bias.

    Alan (the other conservative one) ;)

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  21. To the other conservative Alan : )

    Right on.

    I sometimes wonder if I am more orthodox than I give myself credit for being.

    Or maybe not. : )

    As for the bible banging busybodies who misuse the bible to reinforce prejudice, I don't know what they are...

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  22. Check the letter Alan (the other conservative one) and Brian sent to the pcusa marriage committee.

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  23. "I sometimes wonder if I am more orthodox than I give myself credit for being."

    Let's look at the evidence:

    We're not the ones rewriting the KJV to support a particular political standpoint.

    We're not the ones advocating a works-based notion of salvation that is based entirely on the proper use of genitalia.

    We're not the ones elevating the role of the teaching elder to the level of a Catholic Priest, and thus making up completely non-biblical requirements for the job.

    We're not the ones throwing away centuries of Presbyterian polity so that we can shove injustice and oppression down the throats of everyone else in the denomination on matters that are not essentials of the faith.

    We're not the ones who, if we don't get our own way, are willing to break our promises and our ordination vows in order to pick up our toys and leave the sandbox.

    We're not the ones subscribing to a particular dead end theology called fundamentalism, invented in the early 20th century and attempting to pass that off as "traditional" or "orthodox."

    So yes, John, I'd say that when it comes to *real* conservatism, we're all significantly more conservative, traditional, and orthodox ... much more, shall we say, "classically presbyterian" than the pretenders out there who think the only real definition of being orthodox is to be anti-gay (and if you cross that one line, a la Jack Rogers, etc., no matter how orthodox your theology, you're a traitor.)

    Alan (the real conservative one.) ;)

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  24. **We're not the ones subscribing to a particular dead end theology called fundamentalism, invented in the early 20th century and attempting to pass that off as "traditional" or "orthodox."**

    That is the truth right there.

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  25. Allan,

    George Orwell made an observation back in 1948 based on world politics and the conflict between left and right. Call yourself the opposite of what you are, call your enemies the opposite of what they are, and oddly, it gives you a kind of rhetorical high ground.

    (Notice again the latest post by the Layman. Greg Ogden is calling the self proclaimed conservatives to task by telling them to focus on being disciples of Jesus. Clearly he is telling them they are not. What do they do with that? Call themselves disciples of Jesus and take upon themselves the the right to call anyone who disagrees with them as non disciples.

    Without ever cracking open the Sermon on the Mount.)

    Your letter and this last post are very effective at calling the king naked. Well done

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  26. "If the Bible never existed, how would you possibly make a decision?"

    You're confusing rationality with reason. The question is not whether people can think or make decisions. The question is how do we come to think rightly. One answer is common grace. But I'm thinking of the whole John Calvin and the spectacles of scripture thing. It's not that reason can't see; it sees much better in the light of revelation.

    To cut to the chase, it seems that your God is as merciful, just, enlightened, and reasonable as you are. Who needs a uniquely intrusive Christ or Scripture since God fits comfortably with what we see as the best in culture, whether the issue is homosexuality or anything else?

    To quote a line from the movie "Bagger Vance" - "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then." And that's what we are when God is only as enlightened as we are. We'll get it right now and then. And that the leaves rest of the time for wandering around in the dark.

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  27. Fancy theology you have there, Mike.

    I am a heretic. My theology is crap. I don't know one thing about God. I don't know anything about rationality or reason or the divine spectacle of revelation or whatever. I don't know much about the Bible and I don't even care about it that much.

    I am OK with that. Because the people I am increasingly coming in contact with in the church have fancy theology but then tell lies about other human beings.

    If your Bible and your God can't help you tell the truth about your neighbor and treat her with justice then I want nothing to do with your Bible or your God.

    You can have it all, my friend, the Bible, theology, John Calvin ...God for that matter.

    I'll take human decency.

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  28. "Who needs a uniquely intrusive Christ or Scripture since God fits comfortably with what we see as the best in culture"

    I find it amusing that, in one moment you are arguing *for* culture (ie. church history, exegetical consensus, and the practice of Christians around the world, none of which any really orthodox person would claim are divinely inspired) and then you turn around and suggest that we are choosing culture over God. Care to pick one argument and stick with it?

    So we're choosing culture over God? I'm not sure in which culture you're living in, Mike, but here in the USA, homosexuality is all by itself reason enough to legally fire anyone from a job, reason enough to deny someone the opportunity for military service, reason enough to deny someone over 1000 special rights and privileges given to straight married couples. Oh, and if you're unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is also reason enough to end up tied to a fence in the middle of the Wyoming prairie while you slowly bleed to death.

    Affirming the equality of all people is *not* conforming to culture, feeling compassion toward all people is *not* conforming to culture. Those are distinctly counter-cultural acts, and also happen to be Biblical.

    You're the one arguing for tradition over God because it suits your preconceived notions and/or the "truth" about homosexuality handed down by society and the church over the years.

    If anyone is trying to conform the church to culture here, I'd say it is you, Mike.

    "To cut to the chase, it seems that your God is as merciful, just, enlightened, and reasonable as you are."

    I'm quite sure He is even more so. The best we can do is strive to be better. Which really doesn't argue much for your desire to build a bridge back to the oh-so-enlightened 13th Century, does it?

    If you think I'm saying that I'm more enlightened than God, I am not and you have misunderstood me.

    What I am saying is that I am more enlightened than you. If you believe that means that I am thus at the same time saying that I am more enlightened than God I would say that your theology and self-image are both questionable at best.

    You're not God. The fact that I disagree with you does not therefore mean that I disagree with God.

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  29. "Bari said...

    I was under the impression that it was frowned upon."


    No reason? Just "frowned upon"?
    In the desert Israel was trying to build an army. To do so requires procreation.

    The early church was trying to build a world wide church. That also required procreation.

    If Jesus wanted to condemn sexual orientation he would have. But he didn't.
    What he did do is teach you that you have no merit to cast the first stone.
    Though you seem to have missed that lesson.



    Oh, Mike....

    "Are we revisiting the Thomas Jefferson school of biblical interpretation?"

    I'll take Thomas Jefferson over the Fred Phelps school any day.
    You?

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  30. “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.”

    - Hillel

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  31. John I could not believe you stated “If the Bible never existed, how would you possibly make a decision?” If Bible never existed we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all. We would all be doing what ever we want without fear of condemnation of a any kind.

    Lets go with your premise.Then yes I could make a decision, but what would you care, your opinion would mean nothing. Since we are not using anything for a moral compass, we could completely on the opposite sides of the fence on any issue and both of us would be completely right, because nobody would care.

    But we do have a Bible, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide us.
    His oath, His covenant, and blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When every earthly prop gives way,
    He then is all my Hope and Stay.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    All I have to say to you is good luck holding on to that sand.

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  32. Mary E - just so you know, I was raised without the Bible and without religion of any kind. I make decisions that few would call amoral. Of course, one can argue that the culture in which I have lived has been directed by Christian values, but that only goes so far.

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  33. And I think, John was saying that one needs to be able to think, regardless of the doctrine that is presented. If you are simply parroting someone, you are at the whim of that person or doctrine. A little dive into history will show how ugly that can be. After all, the Spanish Inquisition is only funny on Monty Python's Flying Circus.

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  34. "Since we are not using anything for a moral compass, we could completely on the opposite sides of the fence on any issue and both of us would be completely right, because nobody would care."

    Really? Without the Bible a person has no moral compass?

    The vast majority of the world who are not Christians may be surprised to learn that.

    So would Jesus and the Apostles and all the early Christians, who did not have a Bible until it was codified centuries later. ;)

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  35. Mary,

    Welcome back! As Alan and Snad both pointed out, whatever the value of the Bible, it isn't because without it humans couldn't make moral decisions. The evidence is seen in people around the world (and even in our own pews) who never even read it, yet manage to be quite moral (more moral in fact, then many who do read it. I will get to this at the end of this comment).

    The issue is this:

    People (such as the Presbyterian Coalition) miss the main point of the biblical message.

    (If you want to know the main point of the biblical message it is right here.

    Most religions and wisdom traditions by the way affirm some form of this central message).

    The Presbyterian Coalition justifies ignoring the main point because (they say) of the Bible!

    So it really doesn't matter how much they know about the bible, theology, church history, whatever. If you miss the main point, the rest as Paul would say, is crap.

    In the PCUSA, the main point is Christ.

    Christ said, "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets."

    When the Presbyterian Coalition misuses the Bible, tells lies about gay people and their relationships, works against equality and justice for them (their own church members!), and does so in the name of their religion, their religion is obviously, crap.

    Back to the Bible. For the ideology of Presbyterian Coalition (heterosexist cultural norms) the Bible is used as a shield against the commandment to love.

    I have heard people say: "I would accept my gay son and his partner but the Bible tells me I shouldn't." How screwed up is that?

    Rather than trust the Christlike impulse to love, to trust their hearts, to trust their loved ones, they give in to heterosexist cultural norms.

    Where do they learn this? They get it from groups like the Presbyterian Coalition, who in the name of the Bible, teach people to do the opposite of what Christ calls people to do.

    That is perverse.

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  36. John, when you say, "If the Bible never existed, how would you possibly make a decision?" (a great question), you are starting to sound like a Quaker. :) Here is one of the most famous quotes from George Fox, the founder of Quakerism:

    "You will say, 'Christ saith this, and the apostles say this;' but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of the Light, and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?"

    Quakers often pose the question "What canst thou say?" as a way of asking essentially what you asked.

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  37. "Where do they learn this? They get it from groups like the Presbyterian Coalition, who in the name of the Bible, teach people to do the opposite of what Christ calls people to do.

    That is perverse."

    Yep. And here they are. The guardians of scripture...

    http://conservapedia.com/Conservative_Bible_Project

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  38. "If Bible never existed we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all. We would all be doing what ever we want without fear of condemnation of a any kind."

    That, in a nutshell, is the idolatry of Fundamentalism.

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  39. I do love the Quakers. Wish there were more of them! : )

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  40. Cap'n!

    I don't think our beloved fusspots are so bizarre as to support that project. : )

    Jodie, good point about the idolatry of the Bible. It isn't the texts of or in the Bible that are the problem, it is the ideology brought to them that results in perversion.

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  41. Alan, Jesus and the Apostles had the Torah as well as a large part of what we call the Old Testatment, especially Psalms and Isaiah.

    I don’t ascribe to the golden rule as I do the 2 greatest commandments which are found in Mathew 22: 36-40.

    36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

    37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment.

    39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

    At first I had a hard time understanding how to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ then I finally figured it out. So will share with you the gospel according to Mary on the understanding of this.

    Rule one: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    How do to this--self explanatory

    Rule two: Love your neighbor as yourself
    How to do this--Repeat rule number one.

    If you can’t love God with all of your being, you can’t love anybody else, and how do we reflect our love of Him, by keeping His commandments.

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  42. "If you can’t love God with all of your being, you can’t love anybody else, and how do we reflect our love of Him, by keeping His commandments."

    Right!

    And what is His commandment?

    Here.

    You know that, Mary. You don't have to be told it. The way to love the neighbor is to love God and the way to love God is to love the neighbor.

    So when we are confronted with the ethical question of how to respond our gay neighbors who ask that their relationships be granted the same respect and protection that hetero relationships receive, His commandment is not that hard to understand, is it?

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  43. " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

    What, dare I ask, does the Bible have to do with that? How many years before the Bible was written do you think God existed?

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  44. "Alan, Jesus and the Apostles had the Torah as well as a large part of what we call the Old Testatment, especially Psalms and Isaiah."

    Thanks, I realize that. But the Torah is not the Bible, there's a rather large part missing at the end. ;)

    And there are plenty of folks on this planet who are moral people who are not Christians.

    So my point still stands.

    Anyway, as our conversations here clearly show, simply having a Bible on the nightstand hardly guarantees agreement on what the words in it actually mean.

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  45. Rule one: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    How do to this--self explanatory

    Rule two: Love your neighbor as yourself
    How to do this--Repeat rule number one.


    Mary, I'll give you credit for posting the real commandments. The average fundamentalist would have offered the Ten in an effort to avoid Jesus.

    For those who believe that The Gay(tm) is beneath them, I offer Matt: 25 36-40.

    There is very little that occurs in our lives that this lesson doesn't cover.

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  46. Basically the Biblical sanctions against homosexuality just tell me that the same prejudices that exist today existed in Biblical times as well.

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  47. *claps*

    Exactly Ann. You'd think we'd be farther along by now, eh?

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  48. Ann is right. And the higher order moral standards that exist today but not back then do not show up in the Bible. It very much reflects the culture of the time in which it was written. Sometimes higher minded, sometimes lower minded, and all the time different minded.

    That's why there is no injunction against pedophilia or slavery, but there is also no prison sentence for doing wrong.

    There was a clear concern against plutocracy and violent oppression.

    We have given ourselves away to Plutocracy I am afraid. And Mars worship too, although we don't realize it. But just listen to our vocabulary and ask yourself if it is the vocabulary of Mars worship or is it the vocabulary of the Prince of Peace?

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  49. Ann gets the prize. And after all those words...

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  50. So when we are confronted with the ethical question of how to respond our gay neighbors…What would I do. Well first I think while they were moving in I would offer to help move, maybe make some cookies or a cake (we southerners are good for that). And would give them my number if they needed any additional help. Of course the subject of homosexuality usually does not show up first thing in a conversation. But if and only if they ask my opinion of gay marriage I would tell them frankly I disagree with it from a biblical stand point. But that does not change the my opinion of you in any way. I would not change who I am or the way I act because of someone being gay.

    Please tell a time when all neighbors had a perfect relationship…it doesn’t happen, but does not mean that you can not still be a good neighbor and disagree.

    Prejudices that exited in the bible…They were called Samaritans…The story of the Good Samaritan and the Woman at the Well (a Samaritan), they were some hated people in the bible. But that was a whole country. I am sure there are plenty of others that occurred at that time they are just recorded in another form of written history.

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  51. If they invited you to their wedding reception or a party for their silver anniversary would you go?

    If one lost consciousness and the ambulance came but refused to let the other ride with them because he wasn't legally family, would you intervene in whatever legal manner you could (e.g., argue with the paramedics, drive the other to the hospital, argue with the hospital...).

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  52. Erp...like I said a good southerner enjoys any eating occasion.

    Would I go to an aniversary party? Like I stated before neighbors don't have to agree, but it would be rude not to come and I would have to offer to help with anything they needed. I mean it is just being neighborly.

    As far as an emergency situation..would I argue with the ambulance driver? Not my strong suit...would I drive my neighbor...I wouldn't even have to think twice about that, of course I would.

    Just becuase I believe homosexuality is a sin does not make me act like some uncivilized beast. I have learned from the Bible that I am to treat everyone as a loved child of God.

    You know that might be a great starting point. The arguement is not that we are christians, it starts with we are God's children. Start with God first then we can start finding common ground and move forward...together.

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  53. Some have we should say been less than neighborly. In particular I was thinking of a lesbian couple with children who in 2007 were visiting Florida when one did lose consciousness and was rushed to hospital. Her partner despite have her medical proxy and despite being her partner was not allowed to see her or know her condition because the hospital didn't consider her a relative. Eventually after many hours she was allowed for 5 minutes just as her partner received last rites and was taken off life-support.

    Personally I would change the priority of the commandments you listed above. First, look to your neighbor, love your neighbor, try even to love your enemy. Don't use the law to be unjust (see Mark 7:9-13). But then I'm an infidel.

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  54. "Just becuase I believe homosexuality is a sin does not make me act like some uncivilized beast'.

    Afraid you just did.

    You can't hide what you believe.

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  55. Well again it is time for me to leave. I have been noting but forthright and honest hoping to understand the bases of your choice and I all got was ridicule and questionable biblical platitudes. All your name calling and childish behavior helps to maintain the status quo.

    God bless and goodnight Mrs. Calabash where ever you are...

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  56. Mary,

    I am glad you commented. You are welcome back at any time. I appreciate your comments and questions.

    Peace...

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  57. "They" have such a difficult time believing/understanding that anyone is actually born "that way." If "they" ever came to understand that, where would the hate come from? Who would they attack next?
    We just watched a very interesting documentary about the KKK on the History Channel: They wanted to make it very clear that they too are "Bible-based Christians."
    Well, Mike, I guess the last 20 years have been a waste of time because it was based on love...

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  58. I guess I missed the "name calling" and "ridicule." Frankly, I don't see it at all.

    I do find it the usual modus operandi of some people interesting: stop by a clearly liberal blog to state your opinion (which is fine, of course) and then either 1) be shocked that people don't really care about your opinion, or 2) be insulted that people disagree with your opinion.

    Then 3) leave with hurt feelings.

    What gives?

    I do hope these conversations are at least civil (and I think this one has) but folks really shouldn't expect them to be all that productive. And if people can't handle honest disagreement, I'm not sure blog comment forums are really the place to hang out.

    Not to mention of course, that none of this "impolite" conversation would be necessary if everyone in the denomination simply minded their own business. So playing the victim card really doesn't make a lot of sense.

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  59. Right again, Alan.

    Those who speak and work against equality and continue to work for oppression are the first to cry out how they are persecuted and mocked when they get called on their hypocrisy.

    Cry me some crocodile tears.

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  60. …If everybody in the denomination simply mind their own business…

    After that statement there was no way I could leave it alone. I am an active elder in my church and I participate in my Presbytery, I also a member of Presbyterian Women’s Council for my Presbytery. Mind my own business…if it is a part of the Presbyterian Church and the change is wanted to be made in the Book of Church order that will affect every member of the PCUSA? It is smack dab in the middle of MY business. And I refuse to roll over and die and allow God to be twisted to fit some societal norm.

    So all you God haters get over it. God is here and he ain't changing.

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  61. So Mary E. takes off her mask!

    If you disagree with her, get this, you are a God hater?!

    Mary, are you actually equating yourself with God???!!!

    You know, you are not the first Fundamentalist to fall back on that defense. Jimmy Carter pointed that out about Fundamentalists once. He said, and I quote, "Its impossible to have a conversation with Fundamentalists because they think that if you disagree with them you are disagreeing with God"

    In the Old Testament that used to be called blasphemy.

    It's at least the highest form of arrogance one can achieve.

    Mary E, you are truly unfit for office. Please, for your sake and for the sake of the Church, resign from all those positions of yours post haste.

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  62. Seems another of those boiler plate arguments that came out when the "pretty face" came off was the one about "if you don't let me deny equal rights to teh Gay, you are denying me MY rights!".

    "Oh the gates swing wide on the other side
    Just beyond the sunset sea.
    There'll be room to spare as we enter there -
    There'll be room for you and room for me.
    Oh the gates swing wide on the other side
    Where the fairest roses bloom.
    On the right hand, and on the left hand
    50 miles of elbow room."

    It may not be scripture, but it sure brings a smile to my face when I sing it!

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  63. She has the right to argue her point and a direct attack on her isn't likely to make her change her mind.

    Until she can look at a couple that is same-sex and see that the good fruits they produce whether it be the care they have for each other in sickness and in health or the care of the children they may have (whether foster or adoptive or genetically the child of only one of them) and asks whether a bad tree can produce good fruit, she probably will not change her views. Now what the PCUSA does is your business, but, beliefs like hers also oppose civil recognition which leads to partner split from partner if one can no longer speak for themself. It also leads to children not being adopted and in constant threat of being removed by the state because the couple who have long fostered them is same-sex (see current Florida case).

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  64. Mary,

    What change is being made to the Book of Order and how would it affect you, your church, or your presbytery?

    I don't think God is going to be "twisted to fit some societal norm" whatever that means. I imagine that God will stand up for herself.

    Seriously, let's talk about societal norms. Earlier on this thread Alan mentioned some of these norms.

    Just today I talked to someone who was fired from her job because she was gay. She was told that was why she was losing her job. There is no protection in Tennessee.

    The societal norm is second class status for gay people. That is the norm.

    I along with many others in the church and outside of the church are working to change these societal norms. We want equality to be normal. Those of us who are also people of faith, think that is what God is inviting us to do.

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  65. Mary,

    I'll ignore your childish "God Haters" tantrum and chalk it up to someone simply getting carried away with their own rhetoric. That happens, and people occasionally type things they don't mean. I'll choose, in spite of any evidence that I should, to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Let's be clear: if you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married.

    Let's be clear: If you don't want LGBT people to be ordained, then when a ministerial candidate comes up for a vote in your presbytery, then carry out your right and vote "No" if you wish.

    That's it. That's all that anyone is saying. No one is forcing you to get married to a woman, and no one is forcing you to vote for the ordination, or vote for the installation of any LGBT person as an elder or minister.

    You and others want to try to use the "connectional church" as an excuse for butting into other people's business. I would remind you that we are not a top-down church. We're Presbyterians, not Catholics. If you'd prefer a more centralized church polity, then I honestly and as politely as possible would suggest that you seek another denomination, because the Presbyterian church is not now, nor has it ever been about such overarching "federal" (for lack of a better word) control over individual conscience.

    We will not allow you to change the historical polity of this church into some pathetic parody. We believe in the traditional reformed notion of the priesthood of all believers. At this point, I can't honestly say that I have any idea what you believe in.

    Or put more simply, I won't violate your freedom of conscience if you don't violate mine.

    You do, in fact, whether your realize it or not, want to twist God to fit some societal norm. The norm you want is the current societal norm that says LGBT people are less than everyone else, a sentiment you originally said was not what you believed at all. Society currently says LGBT people do not deserve simple human rights. Society says LGBT people should be fired from their jobs, no matter how good they are at their work, simply for being gay. Is that a society norm you believe the Church should follow? Society says that LGBT people should be beaten to death, dragged behind pickup trucks by ropes around their necks, beaten for simply walking down the street.

    Seriously, Mary, are those the sorts of societal norms you're arguing for?

    God is here. And God is not changing. And this is what I know about God: God loves everyone equally. But the entire Bible is filled with stories -- David, a mere shepherd becomes king; Moses a murderer becomes a leader of a nation; Abraham a simple farmer becomes the father of a nation; Jesus the poor son of a carpenter is the Lord of all nations -- stories throughout the Bible that tell us in no uncertain terms that God loves us all equally, but that He roots for the underdog.

    God does not change. He's still rooting for the underdog. Who are you rooting for, Mary? The status quo? Yourself?

    Again, I hope your outburst above isn't really how you feel, because if it is, you're more of a heretic than anyone you're pointing fingers at, because no one here is saying they are above God as you have said. But again, I choose to believe you're a better person than that, and I hope you will repent of your hateful words. I'm sure there's no one here who wouldn't be happy to forgive you for your words chosen in haste, if you only have the grace to ask for forgiveness.

    By their fruits you shall know them. Mary, is "God Haters" really how you want to be known?

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