Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rambling Thoughts After General Assembly

I am filled with an equal measure of excitement and apprehension following the actions of the General Assembly of the PC(USA.) Things are moving and shaking much, much sooner than I had anticipated it would in regard to justice and equality in ordination standards and I believe that the one doing the moving and the shaking is none other than the Holy Spirit. Still, I am anxious as to what is ahead of us as a denomination and do not feel like it is time to celebrate.

Part of the blame for my hesitancy I place squarely on the Peace, Unity and Purity (PUP) Task Force, those scoundrels who taught me too well by their Godly example of how to be in community with both those who agree and those who disagree with me. Through their example and through their Spirit-filled report, my heart was changed toward those who disagree with me, particularly on questions of ordination. I was especially convicted in their discussion on allowing that those who disagree with me have come to their places of understanding in as earnest and faithful way as I have.

This is difficult for me, being one whose mind and heart has changed dramatically in the last twelve or so years. I catch myself at times being incredulous that everyone can't see what is so clear to me now. This is, of course, an arrogant and sinful attitude and exactly what the PUP report was asking the Church to work on together in order to move beyond our "positions" and see one another as sisters and brothers in Christ.

So, I am feeling torn between cautious optimism that we may soon rectify what I believe to be a grave injustice to our LGBT brothers and sisters and really and truly feeling the pain of those who believe that the church (small "c") is moving away from them.

Is it anathema to say that I wonder if this is the right time? Are we doing more harm than good right now? I know, it is easy for me to ask such questions because my ordination has never been called into question. I also know that I have a tendency to want to avoid pain and, man, I think we're in for a painful year in the PC(USA.)

I know what my vote is going to be when it is time for my Presbytery to vote on this issue: "Yes, yes, a million times, yes! Take that language out of our Book of Order!" But I don't know that my heart will be rejoicing when I do so.

May the Spirit lead us.


revhipchick said...

peace and blessings.

change is very difficult--especially when it means some folks will be giving up their power.

praise God, that she is in our midsts leading and directing these changes.

may you be blessed with peace during the following months!

John Shuck said...

Hey Iris,

A very thoughtful and compassionate post. IMO, more good than harm because change is painful but, grace eventually!

Another topic altogether. I see on your library list a book on a topic I rarely see, Modern Chess Openings. Are you a chess player?

I ask because my father taught me at a young age and I grew up playing in tournaments with him.

I even played him a couple of weeks ago on his 90th birthday!

more cows than people said...

scoundrels? really???

i hear you. we should talk.

but still... i'm happy. i'm concerned for hurting brothers and sisters, BUT if they breathe, and think, they will realize that NOTHING about the changes that were made crowds them out. the changes made level the playing field for all... there IS room for conservatives in our church. now glbtq persons don't live with a cloud of "my church says i'm a sinner" or rather "that my love somehow makes me a worse sinner than everyone else" hanging over them. i was at dinner friday night with a gay friend and a lesbian friend and the relief in their eyes, they dumbfounded joy... it reminded me about oppression, and liberty... and i wish our conservative brothers and sisters who are hurting and afraid could just see the liberty in their eyes... isn't that what Jesus came for?

sorry to ramble on and on.

but i do hear you, for lots of reasons.

Reyes-Chow said...

Thanks for the reflection. I think you have captured the heart of being in some kind of "middle" tension for the church and many people. We press on and through such times as I think these are the greatest times to model Christ for the world. - Take care!

Iris said...

MC, you know I was kidding with calling the PUP Task Force "scoundrels," right?

Thanks for visiting my little blog, John and Mr. Moderator!

more cows than people said...

yes, OF COURSE, i know you're kidding.

and your blog is not little.

you deserve all the visitors you get.

Crimson Rambler said...

Dear Iris, thank you so much for this, you have helped me "gell" my own thinking, such as it is, into WORDS. Most helpful.
We also are in for tremendous hoo-raws and hurting in the next couple of years as well, I am afraid.