Shekinah Glory

My Thoughts on the PJC Decision On Rev. Janie Spahr
February 29, 2012, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

With stunning hypocrisy the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) censured Rev. Janie Spahr for marrying same sex couples in a state where those marriages are legal. This has a chilling effect on people of conscience and will encourage the most radical conservative elements to again use our church courts to persecute ministers for using spiritual wisdom over legalism or fundamentalism.

The Presbyterian Church finds itself in the bipolar theological stance of accepting gay and lesbian elders and ministers in our community of faiths, but denying them access to one of our essential liturgical acts. Many states and the District of Columbia affirm the basic civil right for people of same gender to covenant with each other in an act of fidelity. Yet, the church for years has been more than willing to cede its moral authority on this issue to the state, when in truth no state should usurp our rights as religious bodies to define our own liturgical acts. The actions by the PJC has a chilling effect, not only on ministers who prayerfully follow their conscience, but throws into question the legal marriages in which those clergy preform. Why would a church want to throw into chaos loving families when most of them have waited so long for their basic civil rights as citizens?

This is the strange nature of our church today: finding ourselves tone deaf to the movement of the Spirit in new generations. Polity can become idolatry. Polity was made for humans and not humans for polity. It is a sad state when a reformed church sidles itself with bureaucracy and a rote non-questioning status quo over a new generation of leadership in the church. The sociology is not on the side of liberals, conservatives or moderates who only want to watch with their walkers in hand as incrementalism turns the church into a new wing of the Smithsonian.

For those who truly care about the future of a “Reforming” church come along with those of us holding the Bible in one hand and listening to the Spirit’s movement. For those with ears let them hear, hear that though you fight these Baby Boomer “cultural” issues you are losing the larger prize. These may continue to be the issues as our Churches, Presbyteries and General Assemblies age out. We will continue to bemusedly ask the everlasting question, “Where are the next generation of leaders?” Hopefully, not too late we will realize that they are worried about the poor, student loan debts, fraudulent foreclosures, predatory lending, the environment, unemployment and have already made peace with these issues of sex that we find so intriguing.

Long live the Presbyterian Church that I love. Long live the church that might convict me for celebrating love.


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