Another one of my comments that rambled too long and became a regular post…
I honestly find some of the extreme conservative responses to GA unbelieveable.
Because of a 55/45 split on amendment b and homosexual ordination that we’ve known was there for 30 years at least, suddenly the loyal opposition seems to be lamenting in sack-cloth and ashes.
It hasn’t been a picnic on this side either, frankly, but for a long time we’ve been waiting and doing what we can to overturn what we think is an unjust barrier to ordination (I only say “we” because of my position – I’ve personally done precious little to help). It might look like ‘we’ “won” this year because for decades before this we’ve “lost” time and again. So, if you’re a disappointed conservative anti-homosexual person, this is what it’s probably felt for every GA for the past few decades for your pro-homosexual brothers and sisters.
I’m surprised at what’s happened – granted, surprised and happy about some of it, unhappy about other bits, but what’s really surprised me is people acting as if the earth was going to split open and the sky rain blood. As if it was a surprise that we’re a (semi) democratic denomination and that votes might not go the way you want this time around. It just leaves me shaking my head.
I understand *exactly* how it feels to lament that your denomination is doing things you feel are unjust. This isn’t anything new to any of us, frankly, and I don’t know why its being treated in Chicken Little fashion. Its like the lamenting of Bush’s re-election in 2004, except that vote has had 10,000X more impact on people’s lives than anything GA will ever do.
I just don’t see it as a collapse of all hope, or as “Christless”, as one person put it (which is quite offensive, but I’m used to being called Christless because of this one issue, or lacking morality, or any number of exaggerated garbage). We disagree, and these things go back and forth. The issue is still live, God help us, and will suck up more resources and time I don’t doubt.
I just…don’t get it.
I guess I’m just really used to being disappointed by the Powers That Be, whether its the denomination, or the government, or whatever. Maybe its a difference of expectations, I don’t know.
Now we have a lot of talk of “schism”, of the ship being hit, of disaster looming on the horizon. Well, we’ve schismed before over what was considered an issue of “Biblical morality” at the time, and we survived and reconciled. There was probably a lot of apocalyptic lamentation then as well, but God is bigger than our petty squabbles and competing misinterpretations.
How easily some people lose their much-vaunted faith in God when things don’t go their way. If God is against what was done at this GA in terms of homosexual ordination, how can it possibly prevail in the long term? And if I am correct, and God is in fact calling homosexual persons of faith to serve as deacons, elders and ministers, then what can possibly stop the march of God’s justice and mercy for all people?
The answer to both is nothing. So why the cries of anguish over this one issue? Why the hyperbole about abandoning Christ and Biblical morality? That isn’t the issue. The issue is that some of us disagree with conservatives about what it means to follow Christ and to be moral according to how the Holy Spirit and the Bible lead us. This is NOT, has NEVER BEEN a conflict of Bible vs. non-Bible, or morality vs. non-morality. It is a conflict of interpretation vs. interpretation, of morality vs. morality. You’re following God to the best of your ability and so are we. I’m sick and tired of the options being “conservative” on the one hand and “Christ-less” on the other hand. Its disrespectful and also profoundly wrong.
So yeah, this time a couple votes went the way we wanted them to. I don’t really think this means the sky is falling – just like, in years past, when ordination-related votes went the way conservatives wanted them to go, the sky didn’t fall then either. Life goes on. Our blundering will hopefully do minimal harm to the Gospel. And so it goes.