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, March 10, 2010

Busy Busybodies Are Busy





The busybodies are at it again.






Busybody Team One has filed a complaint against the Presbytery of John Knox for approving the ordination of Scott Anderson, a candidate for ministry who happens to be openly gay.

They argue Anderson should not be ordained because he does not comply with the ordination standards of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which require those being ordained to practice fidelity if they are married or chastity if they are single.

The complaint also states that the presbytery should not have allowed Anderson to declare a “scruple” -- basically a conscientious objection – to the fidelity-and-chastity standard....

....During his examination by the presbytery, the complaint states, Anderson said “his relationship with his partner was exactly like a marriage except for procreation and that `he’d never taken a vow of celibacy.’
Anderson and the presbytery have done exactly as the General Assembly has ruled. Of course if you don't want a gay minister you can attend a different church.

Meanwhile
Busybody Team Two has filed a complaint against Rev. Jane Spahr for officiating at the wedding of two women. This was during that window before California's Prop Hate when same-gender couples could be married.

One of the women for whom Rev. Spahr conducted the ceremony, attorney Sara Taylor, was quoted in a news release.

The defense is not suggesting that the PCUSA require its ministers to perform same-sex unions, Taylor said. Rather, the goal is to make sure the church doesn’t discipline a minister for doing something that isn’t constitutionally prohibited in the Book of Order and is endorsed by the state, she said.

“It’s akin to saying if a heterosexual couple came to a pastor and asked to marry them without a license and she married them, that marriage would not meet the definition of marriage according to the church, because they didn’t have a civil contract,” Taylor said. “Would you discipline a minister for that?”
Of course not. I have done such a thing myself. It is called pastoral care.



That is why we call Teams 1 and 2 "busybodies." They won't mind their own
business.


35 comments:

  1. As the kids say, "FAIL!"

    Yet two more excellent opportunities to watch the BFTSs do a total face-plant in front of the entire denomination.

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  2. Then they will use their FAIL as proof that the denomination has demons in it! Send $$ to the LayMAN quick!

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  3. This case will have far reaching consequences. A PCUSA minister performing a legally sectioned marriage in California. How about those PCUSA ministers in all those states that now allow same sex marriages. How did the busybodies manage to pick this particular case?

    I always loved Gladys Kravitz!

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  4. There was an instance of a female pastor from NJ who performed a same sex wedding in MA. Where charges ever brought against her?

    The real question for the GAPJC to answer now is: if the state says it's a real wedding does the PCUSA consider it a wedding or is it still not a wedding because the Book of Order says that same sex marriages don't exist?

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  5. In this country our laws have made ministers agents of the state in regard to marriages. I absolutely love this kind of quandary.

    I

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  6. The real question for the GAPJC to answer now is: if the state says it's a real wedding does the PCUSA consider it a wedding or is it still not a wedding because the Book of Order says that same sex marriages don't exist?

    That is what the busybodies want the question to be. There is no reason to answer that. The reminder the GAPJC can give to the PCUSA is simple:

    ministers and sessions can utilize discretion in providing pastoral care for their members.

    Then hereafter, when the busybodies try to meddle investigating committees can dismiss their stupid claims before they start.

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  7. "Then they will use their FAIL as proof that the denomination has demons in it!"

    I wrote about this on my blog a long time ago. I honestly believe that they bring these cases and then intentionally throw them in order to do exactly that. I think they're intentionally inept exactly so they can complain about the results later.

    http://tinyurl.com/4h8aoq

    "ministers and sessions can utilize discretion in providing pastoral care for their members. "

    Indeed. The BoO gives ministers the right and responsibility to decide form whom they will and will not participate in marriage ceremonies. All the GAPJC has to do is read the BoO and they're all set.

    "does the PCUSA consider it a wedding or is it still not a wedding because the Book of Order says that same sex marriages don't exist?"

    Interesting quandary for the BFTSs since their contention is that civil law doesn't matter here, and only the BoO should govern the behavior of ministers in these matters. (There are overtures to this effect, right?) So, they can't suggest that the minister thinks that the wedding is a real marriage because of civil law and therefore violates Benton, because they have already argued that civil law doesn't matter.

    "In this country our laws have made ministers agents of the state in regard to marriages. "

    But not divorces. I have always thought that ministers should not sign the marriage certificate on behalf of the state unless they're willing to arbitrate the divorce settlement too. (But of course, the church doesn't really care about divorces.)

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  8. I think that once we decided that marriage is not a sacrament (and I agree it is not), we abdicated the definition of marriage to the State.

    The religious ceremony is not about defining or establishing a marriage. Where the institution of the Church matters politically, it is an endorsement of State. But where the institution of the Church does not matter politically (eg USA), then who cares if the Church endorses a wedding.

    We are left with basically a petition ceremony. The Church helps a couple ask God to bless their union. Its up to God to actually do the blessing. But it is the most fundamental prophetic calling of God's people to be the conduits and the petitioners of God's blessings to the rest of humanity.

    If the community agrees that it wants to request God's blessings on gay marriage, it is the responsibility of the Church, in the capacity of messenger, to make that request.

    But to declare and claim how God has answered the petition, that is a tough call. As it is for any petition. Its not like baptism. Its not a sacrament. Its a prayer request.

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  9. I've never understood how one rationalizes banning members of a church from marriage, which is not a sacrament, but not banning them from participation in the sacraments.

    Is it because the BFTSs realize that if they banned teh gays from communion that even their allies on the right would think they had gone too far?

    Or have they just not gotten around to it yet?

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  10. just haven't gotten around to it yet...

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  11. If they can find a way to threaten the careers of clergy, the BFTSs will get around to it. It is not about consistency or logic but about controlling clergy.

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  12. "If they can find a way to threaten the careers of clergy, the BFTSs will get around to it."

    Exactly. I had a rather long discussion on a blog once with one of the uh, er ... classical BFTSs in which I asked why it is that us Elders, particularly us queer elders never get brought up on charges for violating B. I mean, come on. Charging an actually *gay* elder seems like the whole point of B, doesn't it?

    The answer I received was the most convoluted piece of papist crap about the high holy importance and responsibility of Priests (er...I mean pastors) I've ever heard from a so-called Presbyterian, all to cover the obvious fact that the real reason is simply that Pastors have a livelihood to protect.

    Frankly I would have respected the answer a little more if the BFTSs would simply tell the truth. It isn't like they're fooling anyone, these "scavengers and sycophants and flatterers and fools, Pharisees and parasites and hypocrites and ghouls, calculating swindlers, prevaricating frauds, perpetrating evil as they roam the Earth in hordes. Feeding on their fellow men, reaping rich rewards. Contaminating everything they see..."*

    I'm gay. I'm also an Elder. I was ordained after G-6.0106b was put into effect. I'm married to another guy; to another gay guy, actually. The wedding between us two totally gay guys happened in a PCUSA church. I have come out to my presbytery multiple times. I came out when I was a commissioner to GA both during committee meetings and *on the freaking floor of GA* during plenary session. I think it is safe to say, that when it comes to being an ordained gay elder, I've been there *and* gotten the t-shirt. So as I've asked many many times, what does a guy have to do to have charges filed against him?

    Oh right, have a manse, a salary and a pension and a family to support. Because the BFTSs totally get off on punishing another person's children.

    *(lyrics from the musical "Scrooge")

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  13. Bob wrote, "There was an instance of a female pastor from NJ who performed a same sex wedding in MA. Where charges ever brought against her?"

    I believe that was this case:

    http://www.anglicansunited.com/?p=3914

    The charges were not sustained. I assume it was because when she participated in a same sex marriage, she did not participate in a same sex marriage because same sex marriages do not exist.

    BTW, Bob. Ministers do not perform marriages. I know that's the common parlance, but weddings are not a sacrament nor a majik incantation. Ministers are actually just there to help the couple remember their vows and to enjoy the buffet afterwards. Sorry, but the whole "perform marriage" thing is a pet peeve of mine, just as "officiate" is another one. If anyone performs or officiates at a wedding, it's God. If we do need any mediator between us and God, it's Christ, not some pastor.

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  14. Control is the issue. Obviously, any institution needs quality control (orthodoxy) of some kind. But this can be done in a way which is liberating, dynamic, life-giving, welcoming, uniting, etc. The busybodies and control freaks of the planet do not seem to be interested in celebrating the attributes of heaven I find most appealing: abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice, freedom.

    love,
    john

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  15. "Ministers are actually just there to help the couple remember their vows and to enjoy the buffet afterwards."

    Which points, I think, to one of the great problems with marriage in the USA and some other places. When doing a wedding we become agents of the state. Thus according to the state we perform marriages.

    I think we would be better off by moving to the French model. The couple gets married by a state official and then, if the couple chooses, the may also get married by the Church.

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  16. Re: Southward

    I knew that the charges were not sustained at the presbytery level. Has the case been appealed?

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  17. BTW, have you all seen this little nugget?

    http://www.layman.org/news.aspx?article=26821

    Sickening. The short version: "Gays = pedophiles and if we don't control them, we're opening ourselves up to legal troubles."

    Of course, that article will bring in thousands of dollars to the Lay Committee.

    I have been pointing out the increasingly shrill and desperate measures the opponents of justice and equality have been taking as they see that they're going to lose. We can, no doubt, expect much worse from them in the coming weeks and months as they go from desperate to frantic to hysterical.

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  18. "I think we would be better off by moving to the French model. The couple gets married by a state official and then, if the couple chooses, the may also get married by the Church."

    I agree this would be ideal. Unfortunately it isn't actually going to happen. So, the alternative is, as long as the state is sticking its nose in people's marriages, the state has to treat people equally.

    "Has the case been appealed?"

    That I don't know, but I can't imagine that the BFTSs wouldn't appeal. Like the scorpion and the frog, it is their nature, isn't it?

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  19. Well some gays are pedophiles and some seek to have sex with those who have recently gone through puberty. But some heterosexuals are pedophiles and some seek to have sex with those who have recently gone through puberty.

    Although I'm not sure that a pedophile can be gay or heterosexual. More and more scholars are starting to say that pedophilia is a sexual orientation. Identifying pedophiles as heterosexual or homosexual by children of what sex the pedophile assaults is a study in failure.

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  20. Even having the conversation is stupid, Bob.

    It is predicated on an assumption that the church does not already have rules and regulations in place to discipline people for abuse. Not to mention the odious attempt in this case by Mr. Williamson to use such a horrible event for political purposes. It's obvious from his article that Williamson can hardly contain his glee that the person in question was sole dissenter in the Janie Spahr case.

    If you want to discuss the real issue here, maybe you should start by actually condemning in the strongest possible language anyone who writes such an evil piece of trash.

    Just a thought.

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  21. Williamson's column was despicable. I thought of commenting on it, but I couldn't without using inappropriate language.

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  22. Besides the majority who have simply been mislead by false teachers, there are a small number of people on the other side who might, somewhere in their oily black hearts, benefit from hearing the truth now and then, because Lord knows their sycophants and toadies aren't going to say anything.

    And then there are the few like Parker Williamson.

    There are times when it is simply best to shake the dust off your sandals and pray that God never deals with them as harshly as they deserve.

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  23. But inappropriate language is sometimes the ONLY appropriate language! You could post a response here so you can vent (and we can enjoy it).

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  24. Parker Williamson is a nauseating pervert. He would call his own mother a whore if he thought it would help his vendetta.

    I thought when he left the PCUSA he might tone it down a bit, but I guess his sex obsessed twisted brain just can't let go.

    I don't think there are too many folks out there who don't see through him. Even his supporters know he's been acting somewhat erratic of late. If any of the busybodies are out there reading this who used to support and respect him, folks, he is embarrassing himself and making you look even worse than you usually do.

    Retire him already.

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  25. Or get him on a date with Eric Massa.

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  26. That being said, it would be nice if the Layman would police its own. There are conservative Evangelical and Fundamentalist preachers out there who have gotten away with serious (hetero)sexual misconduct, but I don't see the Layman ever mentioning those folks.

    Some claim it's because if they say they are sorry they qualify as "repentant".

    (as if...)

    But some of them don't even come out and say they are sorry. Donn Moomow blamed it on his football fans.

    (maybe being Ronald Regan's minister made him special, I don't know)

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  27. That being said, it would be nice if the Layman would police its own. There are conservative Evangelical and Fundamentalist preachers out there who have gotten away with serious (hetero)sexual misconduct, but I don't see the Layman ever mentioning those folks.

    I agree and frankly I am appaulled. When I was first ordained and all the way through the 80s ministers that committed sexual misconduct and even sexual abuse were sent on to new presbyteries, their crimes hidden by the COM. Finally in the early 90s the word was getting out that a MWS had committed, well it was called sexual misconduct buy I believe when one has sex with an employee it is sexual abuse. The presbytery sent him to counseling and with great wisdom decided to return him to ministry at a presbytery meeting at the church he served. And after the meeting a member of the COM told me this was the second church n the second presbytery at which he had committed sexual misconduct! If the COM had told us that I for one would have voted against his being reinstated.

    Then we had a series of cases in Philly, (like 5 or 6 in a row) but what comes to mind is the last case in which a pastor had sex with a woman who was a church member, an elder and a church employee. And the pastor was married. He made a deal and pleaded guilty to violating his ordination vows. There was this massive debate at presbytery as to whether the presbytery should dissolve the relationship between him and the church he served. Ultimately we dissolved the relationship but I couldn't believe that people PASTORS! hadn't read the studies on how sexual misconduct hurts a congregation! Then when the COM brought him back to the presbytery so he could be reinstated he had gotten divorced and then married the woman against whom he had committed sexual misconduct. I voted against his reinstatement but he was reinstated.

    All of this makes me terribly angry. I don't understand why we are so quick to reinstate these people!

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  28. And doesn't anyone read the studies that say if a MWS commits sexual misconduct twice it is likely that he isn't just suffering from low self esteem but is a sociopath?

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  29. I'm not going to apologize but Jodi pushed one of my buttons. I get very angry at these guys who can't keep their pants zipped. And then at presbyteries which don't deal with the situation correctly.

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  30. "I don't understand why we are so quick to reinstate these people!"

    Because they aren't gay.

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  31. And by that I don't mean we should reinstate them, regardless of sexual orientation. I just mean that in the minds of the BFTSs there "sins", and then there are sins.

    That, and they don't actually care about marriage.

    So, Bob, perhaps you can understand a bit of my outrage when someone like you describe above is reinstated as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, and a gay person can't be installed for doing absolutely nothing wrong. And that a PCUSA church would most certainly bless that person's next wedding should he decide to get married, but they refuse to allow the marriages of committed LGBT members in good standing.

    That is a scandal to the Gospel.

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  32. I think we all know about screw ups (in so many words) in the ministry, yet the BFTSs are making a federal case out of Scott Anderson.

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  33. John

    I'm not sure if you were in Utica Presbytery to recognize the first case I described. I know John W. was. And a case in 1989-90 that was hushed up except everyone in the presbytery knew about it.

    I am angry that the people who serve on COMs and PJCs haven't read the psychological studies that I read back in the 1990s. Isn't knowing what your are doing some kind of requirement for being put on such important committees?

    I know Alan. It's because they cover up sin by heterosexuals but not by homosexuals. (and I did see a horrendous case in the 1980s where a pastor was pushed out of a congregation not because he was gay or had any kind of sexual relationships outside of marriage, heterosexual or homosexual. He was pushed out because congregational members thought he was gay! And the COM let it happen. A theologically somewhat liberal pastor and a friend of mine became the interim after him (ironic, huh?) She believes in marriages and ordination for homosexuals! Of course she's heterosexual so I guess it's okay to advocate for homosexual marriage and ordination as long as you aren't heterosexual?

    Anyone who sees the dysfunction in a congregation after a pastor (or even a prominent church member!) commits sexual misconduct or abuse or reads up on the subject would know that someone who has committed sexual misconduct or abuse must leave and specially trained interim should do a few years of work to start the healing.

    I read up on it on my own. Shouldn't members COMs and PJCs be required to read about the psychosocial results of a pastor who has committed sexual misconduct or abuse?

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  34. Well, it isn't just us Presbyterians.

    http://tinyurl.com/yg5xp2q

    Click on the gallery on the right.

    That's Kevin Garns, Republican Majority Leader for the Utah House of Reps. He just confessed to being naked in a hot tub with a 15 year old girl, an employee of his. He was married. He paid her $150,000 to shut up.

    And in the first picture of the gallery, you see his wife and several other folks from the House giving him a standing ovation. Yup, he gets a standing ovation for that. Much like the standing ovation Republicans in the Senate gave Republican David Vitter after his name surfaced in the Washington Madam's little black book.

    Perhaps someone should send that picture to Parker Williamson.

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  35. Alan

    Ah inflation. You just can't buy someone off for a mere $150,000.00 anymore. What is the going price I wonder? I would guess it is upwards of a million.

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