Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Leftist Brand of Humanism

I don't make a post about every letter written about me in the LayMAN, but every now and then one deserves honorable mention, like this one written April 26th by Rick Bender:
I couldn’t agree more with Jayne Devlin’s opinion [posted April 8, 2010] of kicking ministers out of the PCUSA who don’t abide by the confessions, creeds and Reformed theology that this denomination is based on. While many in our denomination strive to bring others to a point of spiritual salvation through Jesus Christ, there are others (John Shuck) who are pulling these same people in the other direction. It should be up to individual presbyteries to deal with these heresies that are broiling in their own backyards. For some reason they do not since they rely on individuals to file an accusation. Certainly if the congregation of First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton wants to fire their pastor, they can do so. I have to assume that the congregation is totally on board with John Shuck since he has been there for nearly five years, expounding and teaching his angry, leftist brand of humanism, while leaving the teachings of Jesus Christ on the doormat of his church for all to trample on.

Don’t assume that all churches in Holston Presbytery are like this. Compare the Web sites of First Presbyterian in Elizabethton with First Presbyterian in Bristol. The language and content on these Web sites are vastly different from one another. Praise God for churches like First in Bristol. However, this epitomizes the overall problem in our denomination. We definitely are not of one accord and barring a miracle from our Lord, this will continue.
Even my "angry, leftist brand of humanism" is not enough motivation for Rick to complete a fill-in-the-blank form in the Book of Order, Form 26 on page 329.

He did get one thing right.

First Presbyterian Church of Bristol is a congregation worthy of praise.

A few years ago this congregation invested in geothermal energy. According to this article in
Bristol Tennessee Essential Services News:
The church will have one geothermal heat pump system, which includes 14 miles of underground pipe in the front yard,to heat its two buildings.The pipes have a 50-year lifespan.

Although the initial expenses associated with the project are significant, they are outweighed by the long-term advantages. The church will reduce its electricity bill by nearly 50 percent, and the project is expected to generate a payback within six to
eight years. Church officials plan to have heat available using geothermal energy by mid-November 2008. In addition to opting for geothermal energy, the church replaced 168 windows and added insulation to its ceilings. The stained-glass windows in the sanctuary are in the process of being checked and re-caulked, if necessary.

“The more money we can save now, the more resources we have available to serve the community,” explains Dr. Gordon Turnbull,Pastor. “That is what we are here for, to serve our Lord and to serve our community.”
First Presbyterian Church of Bristol will be a great resource for the Green Interfaith Network that is now forming in the Tri-Cities. This is a network of congregations pooling resources and ideas to save energy, preserve our environment, and be good economic stewards like FPC Bristol.

In addition to serving as pastor of FPC Bristol, Gordon is our presbytery's moderator. How about that! Another person to whom the BFTSs can send complaints about me! I am always concerned that Gordon doesn't have near enough to do. When you complain to Gordon, you might ask him about his congregation's geothermal energy source.

I am tickled that the LayMAN and its readers are interested in the work of Holston Presbytery. Visit our website. Send youth to our camp. Check out our campus and youth ministry. Take a peek at our fine congregations. And if you are a clergy person looking for a call, here are some opportunities!

And if you can't stop, at least throw us a kiss!


  1. I notice that, if one follows the link provided, the LayMAN has indeed linked to your blog in the past.

    Given that they state clearly, "Editor's note: Links to external blogs imply The Layman Online's endorsement of the blog's content. Therefore, we will not link to John Shuck's blog." they obviously endorse your blog.

    Congratulations! Your blog has been endorsed by the LayMAN! You should definitely have some sort of badge or graphic on the sidebar to celebrate!

    I do love how, after several letters suggesting that if people have a problem with you, they get off their fat butts and do something about it, the most they can manage is handwringing, no doubt after spending much time on their fainting couches.

    Frankly, I think I'd rather be a heretic than a coward.

  2. oooh! "Leftist angry brand of humanism".

    Guys like him have obviously never met a leftist. Or even a humanist.

    (What's happened in the US and in the church over that last 20 years that made it move so far to the right that even card carrying Reagan Republicans are now considered leaders of the liberal left?)

    I am still disappointed that the LameMan censored your "big boy" at the end of your letter. It completely changed the tone and meaning of your original letter.

    (that's why I don't write letters to them. They reserve the dishonesty to edit your letters and change their meaning for their own nefarious purposes).

  3. This part always gets me: "I have to assume that the congregation is totally on board with John Shuck since he has been there for nearly five years, expounding and teaching his angry, leftist brand of humanism, while leaving the teachings of Jesus Christ on the doormat of his church for all to trample on

    There's that flock being all led astray again. Bad flock! Stupid, silly, flock!

    Do we even HAVE a doormat? I've never noticed.

  4. Angry???? /snicker

    I love how people judge and then claim that they are on the right side of God.

    God don't like ugly and (S)He certainly doesn't take sides!

  5. "Do we even HAVE a doormat? I've never noticed."

    Well, that's because you're "on board" with Shuck.

    Ships, I believe, do not have doormats.

    I'm not sure what's more offensive, the letter writer's position, or his really bad writing. All those mixed metaphors and histrionics make the Baby Jesus cry.

  6. They don't do much to keep my English Major eyes dry, either, Alan!

  7. @Jodie what is the name for the process of editing that deletes a portion of the author's writing resulting in a change in tone, and consequently, meaning? That name is LayMAN.

  8. You all might check out the letter published today by Michael Garrett of Johnson City.

  9. Wow! Nice letter! Who is that guy, anyway!? ;^D

  10. John,

    I thought you might try LameMan. Sounds the same. More accurate.

    But it is curious that the word made up of the two words lay and man is a pretty good translation of the Greek word arsenokoitai.

    (the "lay" can come before or after the "man". No hard fast rules here)

    It's one of those curious ironies that sits in plain sight but nobody seems to pick it up.

  11. Ha! I hope you don't think I was correcting your name for LameMan/LayMAN.

    My point was that this organization is the Presbyterian incarnation for yellow journalism.

    I think LameMAN is most fitting. : )

  12. Those Garretts think for themselves, don't they? Hmmm. They must be reported to someone.

  13. Bender wrote: "many in our denomination strive to bring others to a point of spiritual salvation through Jesus..."
    The hubris is staggering. There seems no end to the self-aggrandizement of fundamentalists.

  14. John, what do they have more concern about? "leftist" "angry" or "HUMANISM" ??? If the LayMAN has issues with you, let it be your guide - you're doing wonderful work - keep it up!
    p.s. Does anyone else think that the LayMAN sounds like a porn rag?

  15. I think y'all should get a bunch of tee shirts with the church logo on the front, and on the back put "Angry Leftist Humanist"

    I'll buy one. I bet you could make your budget for next year selling them.

  16. "many in our denomination strive to bring others to a point of spiritual salvation through Jesus..."

    Yeah, I saw that too. Remarkable. I've always been pretty sure that Jesus brings people to salvation, not that people bring people to salvation.

    And of course, the other problem with that ranting letter is that God, who came to Earth in human form is the ultimate humanist.

    I always find it amusing to watch the "classical" and "orthodox" presbyterians so completely miss the whole point of the theology to which they pretend to ascribe.

  17. My favorite image of the angry leftist humanist is Jesus overturning the moneychangers' tables in the temple.