Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

PFR's Ghetto

Those crazy kids in Santa Barbara have introduced a new scheme to create a fundamentalist ghetto. Presbyterians For Repression dreamed up this doozy. According to the LayMAN:
The rationale for the new synod states that its goal is to be identified by a particular theological and missional commitment rather than a geographic region. The “New Synod,” as it is currently named, will have specific standards on marriage, ordination and dismissal of congregations to other presbyteries. Those standards supersede any other provisions in the PCUSA Book of Order to the contrary, the overture states.
In other words they want to make their own rules yet still retain all the rights, privileges (and property) of the PCUSA. It is kind of like running away from home but going no farther than your parents' basement.

So...why make such a proposal?

Oh....can you say....Gay?

The proposed synod also would:
  • forbid ministers and congregations from celebrating marriages or marriage-like unions between members of the same sex;
  • teach Biblical sexual ethics while welcoming all of God’s children with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ;
  • provide opportunities for deacons, elders and ministers to renew their ordination vows and reaffirm the additional standards.
Commissioners will see through this charade and I predict they will approve deleting or revising G-6.0106b and send it to the presbyteries who will pass it this time and thus remove the final barrier to full equality regarding ordination.

Commissioners will also revise the Directory of Worship to approve equality in marriage and send it to the presbyteries. The presbyteries will approve the change as well.

The busybodies can either leave or stay.

But in no way are we spending time, money, and energy to create a fundamentalist ghetto of prejudice.


  1. Part of me says "Don't let the door hit your assets on the way out". But the other part says they can get the hell out of Ma's basement and do what they want, if they can survive.

  2. Proposal is a no starter. Don't know why they bother. Although there were theologically separate presbyteries in Philly and NYC in the 1830s (Old School and New School).

    Besides in a separate synod how would folks keep an eye on John? ;)

  3. They'd delegate that to Viola. Why reinvent the wheel? ;-D

  4. Moment of ethical self disclosure: Actually Viola and I agree most of the time.

  5. Besides in a separate synod how would folks keep an eye on John? ;)

    Yes! Because I am the center of the Presbyterian Universe!

    All you busybodies must blog about me, report me, leave the denomination because of me, and then burn for me sweet smelling sacrifices.

    I am your reason for existence!

  6. Which of course answers the question about whether there is a god John. You have just proclaimed yourself god! Or at least said some should.

    Me? Nah. Let's stay friends.

  7. No way this goes through.

    Why bother when it just shows the rest of us how desperate & scared they are. As a political maneuver this is silly and just tips their hand.

    First they proclaim loudly and to anyone who will listen that their consciences demand that they can't stay in the denomination because of the dirty queers (but it's not about property) then they propose to stay in their own ghetto (to keep their property). Are we really supposed to believe that they actually believe anything they say?

    Don't worry, though John. If the busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds leave they'll find someone else to obsess about as they begin to eat their own. You know the fable of the scorpion and the frog, right?

    "Moment of ethical self disclosure: Actually Viola and I agree most of the time."

    Not something I'd say out loud, though I'm certainly not surprised. Unfortunately there are many who have been deceived by the false teaching of the BFTS set that heterosexuality is an idol to be worshipped.

  8. BTW, this overture is at least 50-60% less crazy than the one that has been offered to make it unconstitutional to debate the same issue at two succeeding GA's without a supermajority vote at GA.

    It's one thing for them to be afraid that they're going to lose ... because they are going to lose. But they're usually much more clever at marketing their agenda and telegraphing this fear and desperation is new for them. They should go back to trying to play the victim ... that'll be better for fundraising.

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  10. "Use your vote, but stop being such an arrogant, mean-spirited bastard."


    Ah, now I get it. Thanks for clarifying. Thinking this ghetto synod is unPresbyterian is "arrogant." because the BFTS have a right to their opinions, but if we have opinions, we're "arrogant" (aka: uppity.) They have a right to kick people out, investigate them, bar the doors and discriminate, but saying so out loud is "mean-spirited." But calling people bastards isn't, apparently, mean-spirited, and is perhaps the sort of Christian behavior to which we should all aspire?

    Gotcha. Glad we got that cleared up. ;)

  11. I think pretty much everyone here has pegged it. Bob has it right, this overture is a non-starter. If you look at the votes this overture got in Santa Barbara (~55%) and compare that to the votes against 108-B Santa Barbara cast (~80%) then it looks like this overture will probably get less than 35% of the vote at GA. I don't know why they even bother trying. Lots of conservatives don't like it.

  12. Woops, got a little mixed up there. I meant 08-B.

  13. Kattie

    What seems to have been forgotten is that there may be more presbyteries in the non evangelical synod. And with evangelical churches and MWS leaving presbyteries those in the non evangelical synod are more like to vote in amendments like 08-B. Of course both synods could make as many presbyteries as they want. Let's see what is it: 3 or 5 churches and 5 MWS to start a presbytery? But of course the GA has to approve.

    Besides, I like my more progressive friends in Philly Presby. Why would I want to leave?

  14. And as one of my friends (who I am know voted for 08-B) from another presbytery pointed out years ago if the denomination splits she will be a conservative in the new denomination. And she didn't know how to be a conservative! And I would be a liberal in an evangelical synod. I don't know how to be a liberal!

  15. Bob,

    Well, I like my more conservative friends in the North Alabama Presbytery. Why break up the party?

  16. "the calling to live not for themselves and institutional interests, but for others by engaging in loving service locally and beyond,"

    "intentional efforts to learn from others within the global church, build relationships, and partner in various ministry endeavors."

    Those are my favorite two ironic aims of the New Synod.

    First, to live not for institutional interests? This whole overture is entirely about insitutional interests. It is self-defeating in that respect as far as I can tell.

    Second, to learn from others internationally? If they can't learn to get along with their immediate neighbors, how can they hope to learn from anyone farther away? If you have to cross to another continent to find people you're willing to call "neighbor" and "brothers and sisters", the Body of Christ has entirely lost it's meaning for you.

    My only hope is that this overture fails utterly.

  17. This is the argument of PFR as far as I can tell:

    "Unless everyone agrees with us about everything, we cannot possibly live out our mission. We are hindered in proclaiming the Good News if anyone in the PC(USA) does not buy into our theology wholesale. Therefore, we must create a theological ghetto composed only of those who agree with us so that we can begin to move forward with our mission. Otherwise, we are totally impotent to act."

    I've never heard of a mission that is so feeble. I wouldn't even require this of parishioners at my own church who I am working with, much less a whole denomination. It is historically unprecedented as far as I know in the Presbyterian Church that one part of the Body would be completely paralyzed unless every other part of the Body agree with it entirely.

    What kind of Gospel is this that is so easily derailed? Except for occasional discussions in Presbytery or above, disagreements about the status of homosexuals have no necessary impact whatsoever on our shared ministry - unless one group throws a tantrum and refuses to move forward with anything until there is agreement in everything.

    This overture sets a totally untenable precedent - that in order to do our work as believers, we have to create theological ghettos around dogmatic particulars cherry-picked from our tradition...which is not a dogmatic tradition at all! It is a confessional tradition!

    This is a perfect example of how orthodoxy can paralyze orthopraxis. For some, we must all assent to the same set of truth-claims before we can start doing what is right. That is totally absurd! We have to agree about homosexuality before we can feed the hungry? Clothe the naked? Release the prisoners? Love our enemies? Bind up the brokenhearted? Mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice?

    It is like a Gospel made of paper-thin crystal that will shatter into a million pieces if it isn't handled with kid gloves. It is not a Gospel that I recognize.

  18. ...unless one group throws a tantrum and refuses to move forward with anything until there is agreement in everything.

    and that is a fine definition of the BFTS.

  19. If you haven't seen the LayMAN recently, the Letters to the Editor are priceless. Of particular note is the LayMAN editors' clear declaration of a scruple concerning the Confession of 1967. If we didn't already take everything they say they believe with a grain of salt, we can certainly begin now.

    But of course, scruples are wrong for the dirty queers and the BFTS will report you to your superiors if they think you're violating the Confessions or doing anything "the confessions call sin" (G-6.0106b) but only regarding the confessions they like, apparently.

    I wonder just how much cognitive dissonance the brain can take without exploding. Carmen "The Millstone" Fowler and her followers seem to be trying to find out.

    So... They admit their fear and desperation by working for this separate but unequal synod idea, and the gag-rule overture, and now they're declaring only some of the Confessions are actually "authoritative and reliable expositions on Scripture."

    But remember, they're the "orthodox" ones. ;)

    (BTW, it seems to me that they just shot themselves in the foot for any PJC case they try to bring based on G-6.0106b. Way to go!)

  20. sorry, but you cannot use the words "unconditional love of Jesus" and also propose excommunication as a means to purify the church. guess while jesus' love is unconditional, ours love can erotically pick and choose whomever we want to love. utter bunk and idiocy. why TULIP is a sinful set of doctrines right there.

  21. @Alan I saw that about the Confession of 1967. You don't want to get bogged down in consistency when your fitting folks for millstones on behalf of the "unconditional love of Jesus."

  22. Now, John, it isn't inconsistent of them. They believe they're just taking baptism to its logical conclusion. ;)

  23. We don't subscribe to or scruple confessions anymore, or if we do can you imagine the work it would take to do so? The confessions disagree with each other.

    I don't agree with everything in all the confessions. But I do like the addition of confessions in 1967 and after. Sometimes I think it would be good to have just one confession and subscription and then I read the various confessions and remember that I like things in each of that that either aren't said or aren't said as well in the others.

    There is nothing that could replace for me the first question and answer in the Heidelberg Catechism! Or the first question and answer in the Westminster Shorter. Or the criticism of the Church for idolatry in the Brief Statement of Faith. Or the statements on war, racism and poverty in C-67.

  24. Actually we do scruple confessions...

    Well, some of us are forced to if we want to serve the church. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the heterosexual get-out-of jail-free card that covers for everything else the "confessions call sin."

  25. I see that Beaver-Butler (not sure if the presbytery approved it or if it is still a proposal to the presbytery) to have "flexible presbyteries." Apparently, each congregation has to vote regarding which presbytery it wants to be in. What a hassle. The busybodies are most certainly desperate.

  26. This overture reminds me of....

    "Now the Star-Belly Sneetches
    Had bellies with stars.
    The Plain-Belly Sneetches
    Had none upon thars."

    Looks like Beaver-Butler has found its Sylvester McMonkey McBean.

    But you know what they say, you can't teach a Sneetch.

  27. Again in the past when the church split in the 1830s congregations were allowed to switch back and forth between the Old and New School denominations. Oneida 1st was formed after Wampsville Pres switched 3 or 4 times. A bunch (mostly Scots) wanted to be Old School and formed Oneida 1st.

    A couple of curious things from that split: while there was no suing over who got the property there was a case in court about which denomination got to call itself the PCUSA. The court was not amused. There were complaints from the New School presbyteries and synods in upstate NY that the Old School was poaching on their territory.

  28. Presbyteries ≠ denominations.

    On the upside, it occurs to me that if this were to pass I would predict a significant uptick in the size of the So. Cal/Hawaii Presbytery (I hereby call dibs on being Elder Commissioner from Northside for the next 10 years!)

    Unfortunately this might result in a significant downsizing of Presbyteries in places like ... oh, say, western PA, for example. ;)

  29. Alan

    Check the dialogue about recipes for groundhog in Appalachia. I'm not sure a lot of folks from Western PA would move to CA unless groundhog became the new gourmet food in CA. ;)