Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Options for Moving Forward – The Wise Words of Mark Roberts and Signing Off for Now.

It is strange and bizarre to think that the pastor of a church can have an impact on the larger church by using the internet. What a ministry tool! Early in my blogging “career” I ran across a blog by Mark Roberts. (Mark’s blog can be found here.) At the time, Mark was the senior pastor at Irvine Presbyterian Church, Irvine, California. I was drawn to Mark’s blog because he wrote about a wide range of topics that face the church. Mark was (and is) faithful to the biblical text. Mark’s blog is fantastic.

Following the 2008 General Assembly, Mark wrote a series on the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) titled, “Can We, Can We All Get Along?” Please read his four posts:

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

These posts are an accurate reflection of the ordination battles that PCUSA has been experiencing for 30+ years. I firmly believe that those who want to ordain sexually active LGBT persons believe that the issue is a “justice issue” and that they are doing what God is calling them to do. I firmly believe that those who do not want to ordain sexually active LGBT persons (or persons who are sexually active outside of the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman) believe that it is a matter of holiness and biblical faithfulness. These folks firmly believe that they are doing the will of God. These are the two main groups driving the ordination debate.

Proponents of the ordination of practicing LGBT persons do not define the parameters for the ordination of such persons. Do they believe:

  • That only LGBT persons who are living in fidelity in a civil union should be ordained?
  • That LGBT persons who practice consensual sexual intercourse should be ordained? If so, what about the heterosexual married person who has consensual sexual intercourse with a person they are not married to?
  • That the church should affirm marriage for LGBT persons and then only those LGBT persons who are married should be ordained?
  • That bisexual persons who are seeking to fulfill their desire for sexual gratification from males and females can be ordained?

The actions of the past General Assembly have caused me to take a serious look at my life, calling and ministry.

Where to from here?

This will be my last “official” post on FullCourtPresby for several months (I cannot envision this process taking less than three or four months). I will be spending my “normal” blogging time (research and writing time) in prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting and personal reflection—allowing the Holy Spirit to move and speak.

For those from Evergreen that read my blog, fear not! I am not planning on leaving Evergreen or the PCUSA. The Session and I will continue our efforts to move into the church into the preferred future that God has for our church. The Deacons and I will continue to minister and care for our church family (the needs will be great due to the large number of folks who are in the twilight years of their time on earth.).

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems in the PCUSA is that we have pastors who are in the pastoral ministry who have no business being there. Every few years I ask the Lord if it is time for me to leave the ministry and seek a different vocation. God’s call on our life can change! Unfortunately, it is too easy to keep on doing the same old, same old thing.

So… my break from blogging begins tomorrow. I have already begun this discernment journey—and it has been refreshing, and challenging. I look forward to discovering where God is leading me. I am keeping a journal (and I HATE journaling!) of this process. When the time is right I may share a summary of my journal through this blog.

Until then, I will be posting photos of my dahlias beginning the week of August 4th.

God’s blessings on you all!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Options for Moving Forward – The Other Side.

I have spent quite a bit of time looking at how the groups advocating for the ordination of sexually active LGBT persons are planning on moving forward. The only thing that I find is the desire to get the votes to remove G-6.0106b removed from the Book of Order.