Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Up With Shuck!

Thanks to Carmen Fowler of the LayMAN for announcing my move to Oregon!  She made a reference to me in a recent article:
Brady is referencing the failure the PCUSA, at all levels, to uphold its own polity even when a clear breach of the constitution is acknowledged. There continues to be a growing chasm between the denomination’s espoused theology – in the case the theology that all discipline is designed to be restorative and not punitive – and its theology in practice which pulverizes those who question the institution and continues to promote those whose theology is often not recognizable as “Christian.” One case in point: As it defrocks Rightmyer, the PCUSA has seen John Shuck move to a larger congregation and a new presbytery in Oregon. Shuck, who openly denies the divinity of Jesus, the veracity of the Bible and the existence of heaven. But for the PCUSA it’s all “up” for those like Shuck and “down” with those like Rightmyer.
A day without the LayMAN is like a day without sunshine. In Portland there are many days without sunshine. It is really quite nice actually.

The LayMAN is as usual, "outraged" by my existence.   They have been outraged for quite some time. I was espousing my heresies with impunity for over nine years in one of the most conservative presbyteries in the denomination and Carmen and her pals failed to discipline me.  They failed to do their duties as Presbyterians and bring me up on charges.  They failed to locate the fill-in-the-blank form in the back of the Book of Order and start the process to remove this cancer, this blight, this purveyor of false doctrine.

Why is that do you suppose?  Why is the LayMAN such a failure? Why do those people who read the LayMAN follow them so blindly in their failure?  Why are they so inept and filled with sin that they are unable or unwilling to protect the sheep from the wolves?  I really don't have an answer to those questions.  They will have to examine their own hearts to determine why they cannot do the Lord's will.

As for me, I am doing the same thing I have always done.  I am honest with my own journey.  I speak for myself.  I encourage critical thinking.  I present scholarship, insights, and wisdom from a variety of places.  I don't pretend to possess absolute truth even as I preach and teach what I think is true.   I reserve the right to change my mind and I make it clear that others have the freedom to think differently.

My best guess as to why I am still a teaching elder in good standing in the PCUSA (in spite of the LayMAN's outrage) is that most people think that my approach is more Presbyterian.   Most people in the denomination including the leadership are more likely to agree with me than with the LayMAN in matters of our approaches to biblical studies, theology, ethics, and ministry.

We don't live in the 16th century any longer, Carmen.  Most people get that.  While it may challenge our intellects to reframe notions of God, the Bible, Jesus, sin, salvation, sexuality, divinity, heaven, ethics and whatever else for the 21st century, I think it is worth doing.  I don't care if you refuse to do that and instead espouse antiquated views.  But it is a bit tedious to bring me into it all of the time in a feeble attempt to score rhetorical points with your audience and to foment schism in the denomination.

Peace be on your house.  We have moved on.

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