Shuck and Jive

Saturday, February 28, 2009

So Let's Talk About It

I decided just to do it.

Holston Presbytery votes March 7th on amendment B. It will likely be a miracle on the scale of Matthew's saints coming back to life for it to pass here. Hey, I know. It could happen. That's why we play the game. It is difficult getting folks interested in talking about it.

Those who are against it and are confident of a 3-1 majority have no reason to discuss it. End debate quickly and vote no.

Those who are for it are too afraid of what their friends or their congregations will think, I guess.

So what is a guy like me to do?

Host a party, that's what. I am inviting the whole darn presbytery.

I wrote the following email to folks whose addresses were in the presbytery directory:

Dear Friends and Colleagues of Holston Presbytery,


I am writing to folks in Holston Presbytery to extend an invitation. I and the session of First Presbyterian, Elizabethton, invite you to a discussion of Amendment B, Thursday, March 5th at 7 p.m. at FPC Elizabethton.

We will be debating and voting on this amendment at presbytery March 7th at First Presbyterian in Greeneville.

In my opinion we have not had an adequate discussion of this amendment in our presbytery. I appreciate the commissioners hosting a panel discussion in February. It was good. Nonetheless, I am hoping this discussion will give us a chance to talk more about this amendment in small groups and to share our views without the strictures of a panel or formal debate.

This discussion will be held at First Presbyterian of Elizabethton, Thursday, March 5th at 7 p.m. It will last until about 9 p.m. The discussion will open with prayer. Then I will offer a brief presentation about the text of the amendment and the text it seeks to replace, G-6.0106b. I will offer information regarding how the debate will be structured at presbytery (our presbytery guidelines). I will also offer some handouts of various arguments made by speakers at other presbytery meetings. Then we will break into small groups of four to six. I made a list of discussion questions, but they can be ignored.

I hope that folks will get right into it, talk about the Bible, theology, ethics, polity, their own experience, the Presbyterian way, whatever. No moderator. No Robert’s Rules. Just folks talking honestly and openly in small groups with cookies.

I will provide the cookies. You can bring some too!

Anyone is welcome to attend. Whether you are for this amendment, against it, or undecided you are welcome. Whether you are a voting commissioner or not, you are welcome.

Youth are encouraged to attend as well. The church is theirs, now, and in the future. I hope you will invite your church members as I am inviting mine.

Feel free to forward this email to whomever.

There is no need to RSVP, although you can if you like.

We will close the discussion with prayer. It won’t be one of those tricky prayers (you know the kind) but a prayer requesting wisdom and guidance and an offer of thanks for our presbytery.

I have no secret agenda. I am pretty much an open book. Anyone who has ever stumbled upon my blog knows how I feel about this.

I am for this amendment. I honestly believe it is the middle way and the way forward for our denomination. I believe it is more faithful than the current G-6.0106b to the witness of scripture, to our Reformed tradition, and to our Presbyterian form of governance. I hope our presbytery and the denomination will pass it.

I am encouraged that the presbyteries around us, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina as well as some other presbyteries in our synod, including Sheppards and Lapsley, have passed it.

Whether it passes or whether it does not at the local or national level, I hope at presbytery that we will have an enlightening, thorough, and civil debate, and I am confident we will.

In the end, you are my friends. I am honored to serve with you and am proud of the work we do together as a presbytery.

Through it all, we are drawn together in Christ.

John Shuck

I created an event on Facebook.

Near our mountain? If for nothing else enjoy some cookies.

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