Shuck and Jive

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gradye Spanks the LayMAN

Gradye Parsons, who is from my mountain, Holston Presbytery, and now is stated clerk of the PC(USA), finally had enough the LayMAN's bluster and error and sent a letter to all the stated clerks refuting the fear-mongering of a letter the LayMAN had previously sent to all 10,000 plus congregations. Parsons writes:
The [LayMAN's] letter suggests that presbyteries have taken aggressive actions to deprive congregations of their pastors and property via ecclesiastical processes and the secular courts. The letter misrepresents the actions of presbyteries and misinterprets recent General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission cases.

Virtually all actions by presbyteries are reactions to aggressive schismatic behavior by individual congregations and sessions. Of the thirty-nine cases in civil courts, thirty-six have been filed for local sessions. The three filed by presbyteries have sought only that sessions and congregations be required to follow the processes provided by the Book of Order. When sessions/congregations have followed those processes, they have usually been dismissed to the reformed denomination of their choice.
Good for Gradye.

Meanwhile, John Knox Presbytery, voted to approve Scott Anderson, to candidacy for ordination.

DUBUQUE, IA — The John Knox Presbytery voted here Nov. 18 to enroll Scott Anderson, a partnered gay man, as a candidate for the ministry of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

This action of the presbytery advances Anderson to the last stage of the ordination process in preparation for a final decision on his entry into the ministry.
Read Scott's excellent Affirmation of Conscience. Thank you John Knox Presbytery and especially thank you Scott!

Finally, in yet another response to Barbara Wheeler's "no action" recommendation, elder Brian Wells responded:

Many of us felt kicked in the teeth by allies before, but luckily my people are known for our resilience...
No action. That very phrase is an indictment of the church.

Torture? No action.
Iraq War? No action.
Climate change? No action.
And now, basic dignity for human beings? No action.

Take action on all of these issues including the new amendment B.


  1. And that Declaration that Beaver Butler was supposed to pass ... remember that?

    It didn't pass.

    Boy, when something is too out there for Beaver-Butler Presbytery, you know it has to be out there!

    And Focus on the Family, and Bob Jones U, and the IRD are all laying people off. Of course, that's too bad for the people losing their jobs, but great for everyone else. I guess our God did beat up their God after the last election, just as they predicted.

    Anyway...been a lot of interesting news this week.

  2. I already forgot about the Beaver. The news has been interesting all right. It is a time of shake ups in all directions.

  3. Of course, you forgot to mention that the letter from the Stated Clerk was pure spin. For example, he very narrowly stated that the PC(USA) did not create a $2 million fund to sue congregations called to leave for a different part of the Vineyard. True, but it created a fund to which congregations can donate for that purpose, if they are so inclined (complete with account number and directions on how to send in those funds).

    He also said that no sessions or pastors had been sued individually. That must be news for the folks at Londonderry and Peter's Creek.

    Most importantly, he misstated the teaching of Scripture when he asked the presbyteries and synods "to heed the words of 1 Cor. 6:7 and avoid lawsuits." If one reads 1 Corinthians 6 in conjunction with Romans 13, it becomes clear that Paul was warning the Corinthians to avoid using frivilous lawsuits against brothers, that is, suits for improper purposes. He does not forbid all suits, because in Romans 13 he reminds us that God created and instituted the civil magistrate to carry out those proper functions within its domain. One of those functions, recognized since at least the Roman Empire, is to resolve property disputes.

    When Paul asks, "Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?", I doubt if he meant that one brother claiming the property could unilaterally decide the issue between himself and the other brother? And a whole lot of judges today are believers--witness the admonition of the Louisville Papers to seek a Roman Catholic or Episcopalian judge!

    Just my two cents worth.

  4. Just my two cents worth.

    That is about all it is worth. I didn't forget to mention anything. Parsons told the truth. The LayMAN distorts and lies.

    These little schismatic congregations are hurting the larger church with their lawsuits. There was a time in which I had some sympathy for them but not any more.