Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Being sick and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

I have been sick most of the past four weeks. Prior to vacation I had a bronchial infection that was horrible. I was preaching on a Saturday night and Sunday morning when I should have been home in bed (I was going to miss the next two weekends due to vacation.). It took half of my vacation for the infection to clear up. Upon returning from vacation, the very first morning I woke up at 5 a.m. finding it very difficult to breath. I thought that my allergies were back and took some allergy medication. Things got worse. The next day when I drove up to the church I was positive that I could feel “something” in the back of my throat. Using the car’s rearview mirror I thought that there was a white spot on my uvula (the thing that hangs down in the back of your throat). That night my wife confirmed that I had a sore on my uvula and that it was quite swollen. The doctor looked at it the next morning and confirmed that I had something like a cancer sore on the uvula and that it was swollen enough to hinder my breathing. The bad news is that the sore is viral and I just have to wait for it to go away. He gave me some cortisone to decrease the swelling. Night before last I woke up at around 1 a.m unable to catch my breath. I stayed away for several hours contemplating calling the ambulance. Yesterday the breathing was still difficult and by evening I was getting scared. I called the ambulance and they were at my house in minutes. After checking me over, and talking with the Dr. who looked at the EKG, they decided not to transport me to the emergency room. This morning my breathing is better but I am going to go see my doctor. By the way, the EMT that looked in my throat thought that the cancer sore on the uvula was are real bummer!!

Through all of the sickness I have not missed a single day of work—my bad. Sermons still have to be preached, mission trips planned, etc. Most people in my church have no idea that I have even been sick.

The PCUSA has been sick ever since I was ordained. On the floor of Presbytery in 1986 when I was being examined for ordination I was asked to identify the two major issues facing the PCUSA and its short term and long term future. The two issues I identified in 1986 were the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians and the 40,000+ loss in membership every year. I am sorry to say that I was “right” on both accounts. For 20+ years we have fought over ordination and ignored our membership losses. On paper our beliefs sound great—they just aren’t actively enforced around the denomination. We are sick, Sick, SICK.

I have been physically sick for a month and am absolutely tired of it. As per the PCUSA, I am absolutely tired of a sick denomination that refuses to do anything about its ailments.

True, there are those in our midst who do not view the ordination fight as a part of “sickness.” I do not want to minimize their feelings about the issue. I still say that it is the single most divisive issue that the PCUSA has had to continually deal with since 1978 and it is killing the denomination—not our local churches.

I want to be physically well. I have an appointment with my doctor for early tomorrow morning. I want my denomination to be healthy and well. The problem is that I don’t see how that can happen in my lifetime.


At 8:39 PM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

Get better. Let an elder preach. Do a "song service". Don't strain the vocal chords. Head back to the Caribbean as it may be the only place TRUE healing can take place this side of Heaven.

You're in my prayers and I agree with you on the denomination.


At 7:32 AM , Anonymous -Kyle said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Hope you kick the viral thing quickly.

At 9:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

May the Lord heal you and encourage you.

I just had a sinus infection - these usually go down to my chest and require an antibiotic.

Thank God for hydrogen peroxide... I used some as nose drops.

I think I'd try it as a mouthwash or in a mouthwash for this sore you have.


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