Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is not for boosting our armed forces, or thanking a vet. That's what Armed Forces Day and Veteran's Day are for. Memorial Day is for remembering those who have gone before, volunteering and giving their lives to keep freedom alive in whatever part of the world it may have been threatened.

To absent friends, long remembered !!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Advisory Delegates

Again, as the time for GA comes near, we're going to see a lot of advocacy for and against some overtures and proposals coming up. Commissioners will be getting hit from all sides, and hopefully they will do more than just accept the advocacy at face value.

However, while one can avoid the advocacy by avoiding some breakfasts, lunches and dinners, voting commissioners cannot avoid the advocacy of the Advisory Delegates. Why? Because they get to give an advisory vote, which is announced just before the commissioners actually vote on an overture.

Someone may have thought this was a good idea, but in practice all it does is give some commissioners the idea that they're just following what the future leaders of the church want. The problem is the advice they're getting is often based less on biblical and historical data, and more on feelings.

The worst example of this was at the last GA, which I followed online via streaming media. During the debate on changing the Fidelity and Chastity amendment, one young adult delegate got up to speak in favor using the words I feel the Jesus I know ....

You really do not know Jesus or the Triune God without knowing what the Bible says. And you do not know what the Bible says unless you take the entire Bible and understand that what was in the Old Testament, unless specifically superseded in the New Testament is still in force today.

By ignoring the Old Testament, as many do in advocacy for a specific position, they are no better than Marcion (sp??) whose teaching that the God of the OT was not the God of the NT was denounced by the church as heresy.

Which brings me back to the YADs, of whom I would say 80% have not been fully versed in the teachings of the OT and the NT, the historical background behind many Presbyterian norms, and do not have the maturity to understand the consequences of many of their beliefs. Am I being harsh, perhaps, but I also remember what I was like at 18, and do not think that 18 year olds of today, are any different than I was back then.

I fully believe that the comments of the YADs are valuable, but they should be kept in the commissions that they have been appointed to. YADs should not be able to address the floor during specific votes, nor should there be an advisory vote taken and announced prior to those of the Elder Commissioners, who should be influenced by the movement of the Holy Spirit, not the vote of those who have not yet gained enough experience to differentiate between their feelings and true inspiration.

And so it goes ....

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Sniping Season has begun.

Normally in May, we think of new growth, trees turning green, flowers blooming, and the fullness of Spring appearing on the Earth.

However, to Presbyterians (at least since 1998 when I joined a PCUSA congregation) I've found that May in the years of a General Assembly (annually at the beginning, biannual now) we see the birth of Sniping Season.

The left snipes at the right, and the right snipes at the left. There are those who will agree to disagree amicably, but then there are those who will take pot shots at the beliefs of those they disagree with, then throw in an ad hominem attack.

This year it has started over the discussion of the Belhar Confession by Viola Larson at her blog. Instead of just disagreeing with Viola on her blog, this person had to send an email to Church & World (Presbyweb) to have it published to the world.

Now Viola doesn't need me to defend her, there are others who did it much better than I could here and here, but if you're going to disagree with someone, disagree with the content, not the person. As one person put it, it was a vitriolic response to her. Hardly something that we were taught to do as Christians.

Of course, the Belhar Confession won't be the only area of disagreement between those on the left and right, but already its being pushed as something that will be used by those on the left to push against the standards that are in place in our Constitution.

I'm taking my old 1950's training to heart, that is, I'm going to duck and cover because I hate being sniped at.

And so it goes ....