Tuesday, August 09, 2005

PUP Comm. Warm-Up Discussion Facilitation

The Presbytery is having a speaker to talk with us about the Peace, Unity and Purity Commission Report next week upstate. The PUP Commission report will be released on Septemper 15 and next week's meeting is to "facilitate discussion on the matter."

I will go. I dread it. I can't tell you how weary I am of discussions about how dreadful the national leadership is. We are the national leadership. We are presbytery. We are Synod. We are General Assembly. It's all us. And what do we do about a fuss with us?

Is it just a chronic Southern thing to be suspicious of guv'mint....national leadership? Maybe.
Do we only connect with those whose faces and names we know and those who know us?
Is our view of the church so small that church for us is only the folks we worship with on Sundays?

If some bad news is coming about the denomination, I'm not sure I want to hear it.

I don't expect you or the denomination to be perfect. I don't expect you to agree with me. I don't expect that we will be best friends. I do expect, if you are Christian, that we respect one another's commitment to Jesus Christ.

I'm not saying this well. Probably won't say it any better after next week's meeting.

Life is tough. Let's love each other as best we can then make sure we extend to one another the Grace Jesus gives to each of us.

I need a nap.
St. C


cheesehead said...

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."


Friday Mom said...

It's all so wearisome.... I'm tired of analyzing and strategizing my next steps in the ordination process, trying to effect a certain outcome knowing that honesty will certainly result in being denied ordination. This is not discernment. It's manipulation. And yet so many people I respect tell me it's the right thing to do. I'm tired of it.

Sorry to babble here....

reverendmother said...

A wonderfully gifted young woman in the church is considering seminary--specifically my alma mater. I am thrilled. We had lunch today and a wonderful conversation. I think she would thrive at seminary in general, and "my" seminary in particular.

Unfortunately, her father, who's our only rabid inerrantist in the congregation, is absolutely furious that she's considering this specific seminary. When daughter said, "It could be worse--my brother's a unitarian!" he said, "That would be better. That seminary will deceive you and teach you nothing but lies."

I'm just bereft. And furious, truth be known. Those "heretic" professors (of whom I'm sure he has met NOT ONE, nor probably even read their books) are giants. Scholarly giants, of course, but spiritual giants as well.

Regarding the southern suspicion of gummint, my sense from my time in the south and talking to friends who still work there is that there is still quite a bit of resentment over the reunion in 1983. That is quite beyond me--I find it embarrassing that a Civil-War-era split persisted as long as it did.

St. Casserole said...

Reverend Mother, I've worried about seminarians who will decide against our seminaries and the denomination because they are unsure of the future.
I haven't heard anyone fuss about reunion in years. The split seems to be between whoever the liberals and conservatives are.

Friday Mom, take heart! You are dealing with an institution and we don't discuss our inner most integrity with institutions (least I don't, boundary issue thing for me). We've all felt what you are talking about in one way or another.

Anonymous said...

With hat tip to revmom, I think of a Calvin and Hobbes strip, where they are laying around as usual and Calvin ponders the situation of life, stating:

"We no longer trust our schools.
We no longer trust our churches.
We no longer trust our government.
We no longer trust each other."

Then, smiles and happily opines:

"Chaos. It's a five year old's dream world."


reverendmother said...

Yeah St. Cass, although for some people, northern and liberal are shorthand for one another -- obviously that's painting with a wide brush.

I'm very glad to hear that the grumbling over regional issues and reunion is not widespread. But indeed I have heard it. Pockets of that region seem still to carry this woundedness over the "War of Northern Aggression". Bleah.

Purechristianithink said...

Out here it takes the form of bitching about the bureaucrats "back east"--a sort of frontier, "We don't need no stinkin' GA" mentality.

Mary Beth said...


I'm an Episcopalian, from the cradle, and (with some youthful spaces) probably to the grave.

Y'all probably heard what we've got going on(!) - another notable "fuss with us." The 2003 General Convention of ECUSA ordained an openly gay Bishop (Gene Robinson) and a bunch of the rest of the Anglican Communion is threatening to consider us out of communion (seriously, to not celebrate Eucharist with us).

Sigh. No matter how I feel about the justice of the action, or how it was taken (I feel differently about those two things) this is still my church. I don't know any right answers or best ways to proceed. I'm just horrified and I know we grieve the Lord with our politics. We could be spending the money, energy, time on sharing the gospel or feeding hungry people.

PPB said...

a) I think calling it the PUP report makes it sound cute and cuddly. I kind of like it.
b) I'm originally from midwest. northern midwest. There are still people there that are pissed about reunion. Because they predicted it would slow the progress of gays and lesbians. And now that it's happened, they blame the southerners. Of course there was never any guarantee that it would have happened without the southerners, but it makes them feel better, I guess.
I hope the PUP meeting lives up to what it sounds like and not what you fear..

Quotidian Grace said...

I'm bone weary of the PUP discussions already and all we have so far is the draft. Our senior pastor wants me to set up some kind of "educational" opportunity after the final report comes out. From what I've seen so far, I think there will be a rare unanimity--EVERYONE is going to be frustrated with it. There's your unity in diversity. Bah.

As for the southern attitude toward reunion, I think it is the reaction of the little fish (PCUS) that was swallowed by the big fish (UPCUSA).

Mary Beth said...

One more thing: as an Episcopalian in the wilderness, never having heard of PUP and trying to get a sense of what's going on over in your necks o'the woods, I googled "PUP Report." Golly, what showed up! Nothing Presbyterian. Dogs and seals, mostly. :)

Quotidian Grace said...

Mary Beth (and anyone else interested),

"PUP" stands for The Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church was created by the 213th General Assembly (2003) “to lead the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in spiritual discernment of our Christian identity in and for the 21st century."

PUP is scheduled to release a final report September 15. Meanwhile it has posted working drafts of their report at this website:


Translation from the ecclesiastical jargon--one of the major tasks of this group to consider whether or not to recommend change in our ordination standards, which currently bar the ordination of homosexual persons who are not celibate. Any recommendation would then be voted on by the General Assembly and the presbyteries (regional governing bodies). The report goes to our General Assembly meeting in June 2006.

Lisa said...

What I find most tiresome about these things is that most of the people I speak with in my own church seem totally unaware of any discussions.

I cannot say that any decisions reached would cause me to leave my church. I absolutely adore everything about the particular church I attend.

I do, however, wish that the GA would make up it's mind about the Lordship of Jesus Christ! If a church isn't sure that Jesus is THE Lord..what on earth is the church's purpose?

Sorry, sorry. Didn't come to rant. I look forward to your "take" on the meeting. It's so hard to know the "truth" from the various opposed publications.

I enjoy you "gals" so much.

Anonymous said...

Must comment on Lisa's reference and apology for a "rant". First, that was no rant...just a comment.

However, I do think St. C should offer a RANT DAY, where her readers can just spill their guts about what minor or major thing is just sticking in their craw.

This is my rant.


reverendmother said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for joining the party! Good to meet another Presbyterian.

I do have to say though, that the GA has made a clear statement about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Just 3 years ago the GA made the following statement (I was there as a student delegate and member of the Confessions and Christology committee, so I was intimately familiar with the process):

"Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Lord, and all people everywhere are called to place their faith, hope and love in him. No one is saved by virtue of inherent goodness or admirable living, 'for by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God' (Eph. 2: 8). No one is saved apart from God's gracious redemption in Jesus Christ. Yet we do not presume to limit the sovereign freedom of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2: 3-4). Thus, we neither restrict the grace of God to those who profess explicit faith in Christ nor assume that all people are saved regardless of faith."

This statement was approved by an overwhelming majority. It reflects the Lordship of Christ while respecting our Reformed tradition which lifts up the sovereign freedom of God as a central tenet of the faith, and acknowledging that when it comes to Christ's saving power, "we see through a glass, dimly."

You are right though that the people in the pews are not always completely informed about the issues facing the denomination. Most people remember the Lordship debate, but forget (or never were informed of) the clear action that was taken.

Lisa said...

Thank you! That's very good to know. I guess I am an example of my own pet peeve. grrr

zorra said...

Just a comment about the southern attitude toward reunion: About six years ago I returned to my deep-South hometown church to bury my dad. There are about 150 people now rattling around in a sanctuary built for 500. After the service I was talking with one of my former Sunday school teachers, who said, "When you were a child [35-40 yrs ago] we had 200 in Sunday school every week." When I asked what he thought had happened, he frowned, took a step back, and began, "Well, in 1983..."

This is the same church where, during another fairly recent visit, I heard a comforting admonition from the pulpit: "Now, don't be afraid of General Assembly."

Songbird said...

On a completely unrelated note, I am so thrilled to see you got the HTML all set! I added you to the ring just now.

Quotidian Grace said...

I need to update my last comment. Presbyterian Outlook is reporting today that the PUP will not make any recommendation regarding changing the ordination standards.

Here's the link to the story: http://www.pres-outlook.com/HTML/scanlontf320050719.html

This doesn't mean there won't be overtures (motions to you non-presbies) at General Assemby to change the current standards. There are already overtures being passed in local presbyteries on both sides.

Lorna said...

ordination process :(
I used to think that if it was God's will it would happen ... was I stupidly naive, or am I losing faith.

Do we really need to anlayse and strategixe (as Friday mom said) or avoid /choose to discuss our inner most integrity (St Cass) in order to be suitable for ordination.

I'm dispairing of the whole process right now. The lack of helpful insight and support and I don't know what.

I look at the mottly crew of disciples that Jesus worked with - and whose legacy we enjoy today, and wonder .. what went wrong

Yes my /our callings all need to discerned. We shouldn't just be accepted because we are willing, but sometimes like today it all gets to me.

rant over. thanks for giving a space to say this

Mary Beth said...

thanks, Grace, for the clarification.

so, basically, both denoms are fussing over the same thing?