Tuesday, June 17, 2008

General Assembly Top 10 Issues--cont.

Did you know that the Stated Clerk of the PCUSA copies David Letterman? Each night Letterman goes through his top ten list--at times the list is funny, other times it is dumb. other times it is just plain stupid. Before each meeting of the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly meeting the Stated Clerk offers his/her top ten list—the top ten issues coming before the Assembly. The PCUSA web site offers the list—in no particular order. Look at it here.

Perhaps the most controversial proposal to come before the Assembly will be the new Form of Government (nFOG). The Form of Government could be called the “rules” section of the Book of Order.

There is a desire to make the denomination more “missional” and to be more able to react quickly to changing ministry situations. Others have written extensively on the nFOG and I will not try to duplicate their work—I could never do as good of a job as they have done.

I am frustrated with the use of the catch-word of “missional.” One could ask, “What does it mean for a church or denomination to be missional?” I do not find that the nFOG makes the PCUSA more missional.

The nFOG is based on trust. We will be asked to “trust” that other churches are faithful to scripture. We will be asked to “trust” that denominational staff and leaders are doing what they should be doing. Trust. Trust? Does the denomination trust our churches? There are synods that are “going after” presbyteries because the presbyteries released congregations to the EPC. No trust there! Congregations are seeking to leave the denomination and presbyteries are fighting them. No trust there! Ministers openly violate the Book of Order where it comes to ordaining practicing GLBT persons. They have violated their ordination oaths and destroyed any possibility of trust! A GA committee puts out a position statement on Israel and then a week later puts in changes that basically go directly contrary to the first paper. Bate and switch. No trust there!

A few weeks ago a person from my church was schedule to have a pacemaker implanted into their body to help the heart beat as it should. In getting ready for that surgery, test found a “growth” on the adrenal gland on the left kidney. They took out the adrenal gland but postponed the pacemaker surgery until she was stronger. She has now had that surgery.

The PCUSA was substantially weakened at the last Assembly and the two years that have followed. I do not believe that the PCUSA is healthy enough to survive the drastic surgery of the nFOG. Don't get me wrong, I PCUSA is not going to die if the nFOG passes. More churches will leave. What will I do if the nFOG passes? I'm not sure. I guest that my response will be based on what happens as the nFOG is implemented.