Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Payoff

After much exclaiming and fussing on all sides last week regarding the acceptance of the PUP report at GA, this week more folks, again on all sides, seem to be saying, "It looks like not much has changed."

Why is that, do you suppose? Counselors teach that no one repeats the same behavior over and over unless there is some sort of payoff involved. So if the PCUSA has remained deadlocked on this issue for two decades and repeatedly avoids taking dramatic or decisive action that would change that, there must be some payoff involved for all the major players.

My theory: We've all gotten really comforable in our chosen roles. As long as the deadlock holds, the conservatives get to keep playing the harrassed, persecuted champions of truth and orthodoxy. As long as the deadlock holds, the progressives get to continue playing the harrassed, persecuted champions of grace-filled diversity and loving acceptance. As long as the deadlock holds, the moderates get to keep playing the harried, long-suffering family peacemakers. We all know exactly who our friends and our enemies are and we know all our lines by heart. The payoff is too great to rock the boat.


Quotidian Grace said...

Superb insights, PCIT, on how everyone benefits from the current stalement. Huzzah!

reverendmother said...

True enough.

Teri said...

so true...

one of the things my counselor recently said about relationships was something along the lines of "it's easier to live in hell than get a taste of heaven only to be afraid of losing it."


peripateticpolarbear said...

you're absolutely right (then why do I feel so anxious for change--maybe I want to see the new fight?)

cheesehead said...


I hate it but it's true.

Rev Dave said...

I think this GA will be noted for producing nothing of substance. The PUP report is a vain attempt to avoid conflict by offering bones to everyone. But anyone who has dogs knows that doing such a thing simply leads to a bigger dogfight.
I'm reminded of the scene in Raising Arizona where John Goodman's character bursts into a banks and yells:

Gale: All right ya' hayseeds, it's a stick-up. Everybody freeze.
Everybody down on the ground.

Old Man in bank: Well, which is it young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Mean to say, if'n I freeze, I can't rightly drop. And if'n I drop, I'ma gonna be in motion. You see...

Gale: Shut up!

Old Man in bank: Okay then.

Gale: Everybody down on the ground!

Evelle: Y'all can just forget that part about freezin' now.

Gale: Better still to get down there.

Evelle: Yeah, y'all hear that, don't ya'?

[Everybody lays down. Gale looks at the now-empty teller windows]
Gale:Where'd all the tellers go?

Teller's voices: We're down here sir.

Evelle: They're on the floor as you commanded, Gale.

My question for the PUP committee is: 'so which is it, young feller?'

St. Casserole said...

Yep, sounds true to me.

Anonymous said...

There are also techniques to bring about behavioral change such as desensitization. Bring it up repeatedly in different forms until those who are opposed are used to it and no longer respond in a strong manner.

Another tactic is simply wearing people out with persistence. That's what one lady said on the floor of GA, she was tired (give the "kid" what he's yelling for so he will shut up and leave us alone, we're busy)

Homosexual pastors will now be ordained in states like California and New York without fanfare. It will work it's way in and become the norm so eventually the old standard will fall by the wayside.

The roles you spoke of will be watered down until they are barely recognizeable.

The ultimate payoff may be very different than it seems.

Actually, I hoping to see a little bit of spunk here instead of so much milktoast. I truly hope there are people who have strong enough beliefs to stand up for them and form another denomination. There's something depressing about "wimps for Jesus".