Friday, June 16, 2006

The New Moderator

I know there are plenty of non-Presbyterians who read this; my profoundest apologies.

I must confess to a desire to know it all, to be the informed and wise party on every issue and kick serious ass in the process. That being said, I must also confess that I know little about the candidates for moderator for the 217th General Assembly of the PC(USA), but I am going to have some things to say anyway.

The elected moderator is Joan Gray.

My new year's resolution was to love everybody, and Gray is not at all outside the sentiment of this resolution. But I wish to state my sadness that everyone keeps clamoring for centrism in this world. Sure, the polarization of beliefs in this country is frightening, but I hold mine strongly because I truly believe them! I am convinced that God's love is not exclusively given to straight individuals. I am convinced that a generous and just Church will only exist when we open our minds and our doors and our ordination standards.

Joan Gray said she felt homosexuality wasn't God's intention for our lives. I want to know what reason she has. But even if she had good reason, I would want to know if she thought it was God's intention for us to tell white lies. Perhaps anyone who has ever told (or continues to tell) white lies should be barred from ordination.

I will be loving and fair and in prayer for Joan Gray. And not the kind of prayer that is "please change her mind, God." I am excited and hopeful for new leadership in PC(USA). But this argument will continue to go around and around and I am hurt and I am worried.


Apostle John said...

As Joan said it last night, the moderator's job is to represent the church. The moderator doesn't really change the church's position on ordination rights, as evidenced by the election of Rick, Jack, and several others in recent years.

Stuart Hill said...

This is true, and I wrote this particular entry when I was rather tired (and so my frustrations ran higher than normal). But the fact that issues like the ordination controversy continue to pester our church and all we do is dance around the issue makes me frustrated. And we seem to bounce back and forth when it comes to who we elect.

But thank you, genuinely, for your wisdom. It's a reminder that I probably needed.

Jack Jenkins said...


90% of people who write blogs never get around to checking the responses to entries they posted over a week ago, but I'll go ahead and respond anyway, if for no other reason than for sake of something truly profound: the sake of argument.

First of all, i should preface this by saying that I feel comfortable saying that you and I probably share the same views when it comes homosexuality and the PCUSA's approach to it. That said, I am curious about your aligning the complex concept of homosexuality and the telling of white lies. How, praytell, are the two at all connected?

Fill me in if yuo ever get a chance. Until then. take care.

Much love - haere e hoki,
Jack Jenkins

P.S. - hm, I thought I was going to have more to say...but I'll wait for your response first. :)

Stuart Hill said...


I just re-read the white lies paragraph and I think the thought process was clear in my head and maybe just didn't quite make it to the blog.

What I mean is this: I don't think homosexuality is a sin (but I suppose you and I can never REALLY know). But in any case, I believe all of us are sinners. So when Joan Gray speculates about homosexuality not being "God's intention" for humanity, my response is that each of us is broken in ways that are disappointing to God (straight folk just as much as gay folk). I believe it just as fair to bar homosexuals from ordination because of their brokenness as it is to bar anyone who has ever born false witness, has ever said anything disrespectful to mother or father, has ever sinned in any way.

Does that make sense?

Jack Jenkins said...

(Preface: for the record, the reason i'm sort of laying into this subject - besides my own personal interest - is due to a conversation I recently had about it with a crazy/wonderful group of friends of mine. Thus, I am sort of playing devil's advocate with these questions as they are the same ones that they posed to me/ I have mulled over at various times. Plus, I am eager to hear what you have to say. :)


Indeed it does, and generally speaking, I agree with you. That said, there are a few nick-pickery notions/questions that arise (and that you’re under no obligation to answer) from that statement, such as:

1.) You believe homosexuality isn't a sin. Why? Is it s Biblically based belief, or is more of a moving of the Holy Spirit within you?

2.) If you firmly believe that homosexuality isn't a sin, then why have the second argument at all? Is it only to help convince those who do not share your views? This, of course, begs question of whether or not it is right to have faith-based arguments that exist solely for their logical merit and their ability to coerce others into believing something CLOSE to what you believe? The obvious response is to say (which I agree with, and which 2000 years of un-Christ-like behavior on the part of human beings seems to prove to me) that humans change beliefs slowly at best, and thus require more than someone with views opposite to their own shouting "You freaking wrong!" to be convinced. Still, one could easily come to the conclusion that middle-of-the-road/beat-them-with-their-own logic arguments are deceptive by nature, and serve only to mask the true beliefs of those who give them (i.e. - I don't think french fries are good, but you like them.'s say that they ARE good, there's no WAY they're as good as Moose Track Ice Cream, right? So they're not the BEST...[no offense intended towards french fries, which I actually love])

Thus, is it right to mask our beliefs with such arguments?

*phew* That's enough of that. It's hard for me to mention arguments that I don't really agree with in the first place, but I'm interested to see how YOU would react, Stuart. That said, please, again, don't feel at all obligated. I'm really just bored at work. :)

Take care brother.

Much love - haere e hoki,
Jack Jenkins