Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Two Cents

For what it's worth, here is what I think will happen next now that the PUP report has been approved.

1. The national press will screw it up. They are not known for their grasp of the nuances of reformed theology or Presbyterian polity. The stories that hit the papers will seem to those of us who have been in the thick of this for a long time like they were written by spastic possums on qualudes.

2. Some churches and pastors will leave, but most will stay.

3. We will spend the next several years testing exactly how this "national standards, local application" thing will work out in real life. Some good people will get bruised and bloodied in the process.

4. Some of the churches that leave will make a big stink about taking their property. This will spill over into the secular courts and bring the whole tax status of churches thing back into the cross-hairs of the nation's legal system--which could have huge implications for churches everywhere.

5.Nevertheless, daily life for your average Presbyterian will not change all that much.


Songbird said...

This is pretty much exactly what happened after the UCC General Synod last summer voted favorably for the resolution on supporting Marriage Equality, except that our local churches own their property and can leave without a fight, if they so choose. Certainly the press as a whole does not comprehend the workings of the churches. And day-to-day life does indeed remain much the same. We did lose one family we miss very much, and I am sorry for that, but the husband was unwilling to even have a conversation about the meaning of the Synod's action for the local church.

Becky Ardell Downs said...

I think you're right on here. This is exactly what will happen. How will it effect your average, middle of the road Presbyterian? Very little. Let's get on with things.
I tried to explain to an Episcopal friend why this report seemed so controversial to the GA, and she thought it was ridiculous. I happen to agree-- there's just not much here to worry about, contrary to what the "renewal organizations" are fussing about. Thanks for your summary

Anonymous said...

Number 5 is really the saddest. We live in a very wishy washy society among very wishy washy people. People have no idea what they believe. They just follow along like lemmings. As long as there are good business contacts in a church and they can socialize with their friends and have a feel good experience, nothing else matters to them.

It is better if those with strong feelings leave your churches and go where they are comfortable rather than fight everybody all the time and tear the local churches apart. These kind can make the clergy person's life miserable.

I'm getting a message from those who won that it is wrong to have opinions and strong theological beliefs unless they agree. (Put up and shut up for the sake of peace) I guess that's the way the religious leaders felt about Paul and the apostles too which is why the persecuted them and kept putting them in prison. The early church leaders didn't back down and "just get along" and people of conscience will not either if they are worth anything. It is better to let them go.

Concerning #4, it really is about money. Nobody really cares if people leave (as long as they get their way) but the people with the money tend to be conservative. Property equates to dollars. There are also some power issues here.

I'm not a PCUSA but I have thought about joining. This is a mess and I have strong theological beliefs. I think I'll stay away.

cheesehead said...

You're probably right.

Nevertheless, we move on.

Quotidian Grace said...

Right now the vote is affecting my local congregation which is pretty conservative. The lack of clarity on what it means is no help. Time will tell, won't it?

reverendmother said...

I think you're absolutely right.

Gruntled said...

I am with you, PCIT. Every time I go to General Assembly, I see that the church cadres -- the people who go to Assembly, or follow its work -- live in a different church than the average congregation member. The normal pewholder does read the erroneous version in the press -- the AP story on Wednesday said that local congregations can now ordain gay ministers if they wish (a double screw up) -- and is pained by that. And then come next Sunday, things go on as normal.

I think the cadres do need to make the best of PUP now that it is passed. It doesn't change much, but it does clearly devolve responsibility to the locals like thee and me.

St. Casserole said...

I think your assessment is correct. I feel sorry for myself because I'll have to explain the PUP report vote over and over again to congregants and people in the community.