I don't get it.
The Rev. Jane Spahr is found guilty on 3 of 4 charges by the Permanent Judicial Commission of Redwoods Presbytery - I get that.
The Rev. Jane Spahr is rebuked by the PJC of Redwoods Presbytery for having been found guilty as charged on 3 of 4 accounts - I get that.
In the narrative section of the PJC of Redwoods Presbytery, they speak of the Rev. Jane Spahr and her actions with glowing terms and esteem - I even get that.
Then what is it that I don't get?
I don't get how these things come together. I don't get how you can find someone guilty, censure, and rebuke them and then at the same time praise them for their actions. Try doing that when disciplining your children.
- Johnny, it is unacceptable for you to talk back to your daddy.
- You will be disciplined by losing your privilege of eating sweets for talking back.
- But you were awesome for standing up for what you believe to be right. I love your independence and your resolve.
That would never work in the real world. And this decision and the explanation of the PJC doesn't work in the PC(USA) world.
This ruling and explanation is a slap in the face to everyone involved.
Church, either have the guts to stand with Rev. Spahr and find her not guilty and praise her for her actions.
Or, have the guts to stand with your judgment of guilty and rebuke her for her actions.
BUT YOU CANNOT DO BOTH. That is both cowardly and unfair to everyone involved. It's not fair to Rev. Spahr and her cause. It is not fair to those who find her actions worthy of rebuke. This decision and the justification for the decision of the PJC is an insult to everyone involved.
I do not blame the PJC for this ruling and its explanation. The fault lies with a denomination that can't make up its mind. The current Book of Order allows for both the judgment and ruling of guilty AND the the praise for Rev. Spahr and her cause. We made the Book of Order what it is today. It is our ambiguity, our cowardice, our ethos that is expressed in this decision.