Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We're sorry but the page you are looking for cannot be found.

Have you been to the PCUSA website since they unveiled the remodel ??

The site looks great, although the proclamation on the main page I'm proud to be a Presbyterian because we are God-centered is a bit a farcical at this point in time, and shows a bit of hubris. There are other denominations who are Presbyterian also, but that's neither here nor there.

My main problem with the new PCUSA website is that you cannot find a bloody thing on the site. They did away with the old area based menu. You know, the one where you had five general areas of information, which then led you to another page that broke down the area into specifics.

The new site has everything listed by church department or office!!??!! You have to know which part of the bureaucracy oversees what you are looking for!! This is hard for the average Presbyterian to remember, let alone someone who is not a menber of the denomination.

Try looking on the main page for anything concerning Stewardship, you have to guess where it may be. Maybe Per Capita listed under the office of the General Assembly (OGA)?? Nope, it comes to a page listing the rates for the next few years, along with a definition (and justification) why we need to pay it. Maybe under Resources on the submenu on that page?? Nope, again more bureaucratic paperwork: the 2010-2011 budget (in PDF form), a downloadable brochure about Per Capita, where to obtain envelopes to grab, er collect Per Capita, and some opinions on why Per Capita is required, and if a church does not collect it and forwards it, why the Presbytery is required to pay in lieu of that church.

OK ... I get it, the PCUSA is all about the money. However, where is the area concerning STEWARDSHIP??

Its alright to want to get the Per Capita funds, but where is the denominational resources to assist churches in the yearly Stewardship drive ??

There is no where, I repeat NO WHERE you can get any idea of where to find Stewardship information. They list areas of information that may concern the staff in Louisville, but as far as the concerns of the average congregation of 100, not much. I finally had to use the main page's search function to find stewardship information.

Turns out Stewardship is listed under the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC). Great ... but there is no direct link available on that page, nor is it available on any of the pages directly linked from that GAMC main page.

I hate to say it but you can see by the design where the staff in Louisville has their mindset, and again, its not the same as the church in middle America with under 100 members.

As you can see by this submenu that is on every page, the main mission of the PCUSA, at least according to the staff who assisted in creating the page, is Compassion, Peace and Justice. I'm glad to see that Evangelism & Church Growth is next, but then we get more Social Justice. We finally cover the areas where the church needs to concentrate: Theology, Worship & Education, Vocations, and World Mission.

However, once more, there is nothing for Stewardship, even under those broad topics. I went through every subheader and link on that GAMC main page to try to find something on stewardship. Zilch, Nada, Nothing.

I finally found Stewardship when I selected the Or By Title -> S-Z link. Lo and behold: STEWARDSHIP !! My quest was over, it only took 5 to 10 minutes of frustration. Did anyone talk to people outside of the headquarters on what was the area regularly visited by congregations? Was a website statistics package used to track page views ?? If this was a corporate page, and I were looking for a product, I'd be looking elsewhere.

Now, where did they put those online versions of the Book of Confessions and Book of Order ??

... and so it goes!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An interesting GAPJC decision.

The General Assembly PJC just released a decision on a case where a session approved ordination of a elder-elect in a committed same-sex relationship. In the course of the Session's examination of the candidate for elder, he stated that he was fully compliant with the requirements of the BOO paragraph G-6.0106b, commonly known as the Fidelity and Chastity requirement.

In this case the Session took at face value the statement of the person in question, that he and his "partner" lived together, but were chaste and did not engage in any "self-acknowledged" practice the Confessions call sin. The Session did not have any information that was contrary to the statement of the elder-candidate. The GAPJC ruled that the rulings of the lower courts were valid. See full decision here.

This may sound strange coming from this evangelical, but I agree with this ruling. If the candidate was telling the truth, that he and his partner are chaste, reside together as a couple with no sexual element, then he is abiding by G-6.0106b.

If not, and any such activity is well hidden, then the One who is judge over all will pass judgment when he meets his Maker. If such activity is later found to be occurring and such information is brought before that Session, I fully expect the Session to perform its duty under the Book of Order to administer Discipline to bring the elder into compliance, or remove him from office.

... and so it goes !!