Aug 14, 2007

Why Does Pastor James Spend So Much Time Travelling?

I get asked that question a lot, and I am sure that this question is asked far more than the actual people who ask me. One of the vows I took when I was ordained to be a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) is to be a faithful colleague in the entire church and not just the local church.

But there's another real practical reason why I've been intentionally engaged in the leadership of the PC(USA). Here is a quote from an ordained minister of the Word and Sacrament in our denomination:
And the bottom line for me is I really don't care what the Bible or Reformed Theology says about this or that or if its opinion on this or that is presumptuous enough to tell me how to live my life. I can make my own decisions. I am impetuously autonomous and an incorrigible smart-ass.

This means that...
  • if even 500 verses of the Bible and
  • if Jesus himself proclaimed on the Mount of Transfiguration and
  • if Jesus appeared to me on my back deck in the glory of his resuscitated corpse and
stated to me as clearly as the four p.m. sun is hot, that homoerotic love is a sin and that if I support gays and lesbians in their relationships I would join them in the fires of hell, I would look him in his piercing eyes and say (if I had the courage of my convictions):

"Fine then. Send me to your hell. You are wrong, Jesus."

Why? Because I know Tony and Mike. Because I know dozens of other couples and individuals and I know who they are and that what they do is as good and sacred as what anyone else does.

I wish that I could tell you that such a position is an aberration. I wish that I could tell you that writing like this is being censored and ministers like this are being disciplined by the church. I wish I could tell you that. It's just that I can't, because that's not the case. There are others who have such opinions.

And the question for evangelical conservative Christians like us to ask is: should we bail? leave this denomination to folks like this because there is so much ministry that needs to get done?

Many evangelicals do. And the reason why our denomination continues to come out with crazy policies and the reason why we as a denomination cannot hold one another accountable is because the evangelicals disengage. If we want our denomination and the church to look different, we must be engaged. We must get involved and be a part of the solution.

That's the reason why I serve on the Form of Government Task Force that is re-writing the Book of Order. That's the reason why I serve on the Coalition's Board. That's the reason why I am on the Church Development Committee and the Evangelism Committee in Grace Presbytery. Because I want to be a part of the solution, and I believe you do too. In order to impact the culture of our denomination, we must be engaged. God is not done with the Presbyterian form of church. God is still looking for people who will faithfully engage the church and change the trajectory of its future. It's time for us to engage.

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