Aug 27, 2010

The Injustice of Rev. Jane Spahr's Decision

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.


Dana Ridgway Slavin said...

They had to do both.

... and i am in full concurence with your frustation.

And yet... as a judicial (not legislative) body, they upheld the precedent set by a higher judicial body. That's what they are charged to do.

As courageous men and women of faith, they wrote clearly and boldly about the problems with BOO ambiguity, asked for forgiveness for what they were bound to rule, and charged the higher governing bodies and the greater church to move forward toward justice and reconciliation.

It's up to GA and the presbyteries to vote on the change. Not the judicial bodies. As ordained ministers and elders, it's now up to us to proclaim the narrative portion of this report so that future judicial commissioners can rule with both justice and according to the denomination's constitution.

grace and peace to you. said...

This is church politics.

It has nothing to do with God.

I don't envy those involved in this.

They inherently know that God loves this woman and by doing those marriages she was actually sharing Gods love and direction as she is being led.

At the same time, rules are rules. They church has collectively said it's wrong and immoral.

I am reminded of Ephesians 4... specifically
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

May I ask, why has the church sought so hard to cut off its arms and legs? What has happened as we lost track of love? We have become weak and impotent.

People are losing all faith. They see the hypocrisy.

We can judge our direction by the fruits of the spirit. Are they evident? Most certainly yes in some cases they are.

What about the broken families though because of a gay son or daughter? The parents that demand they become something else than what they are.

Now your church allows Jane a lesbian to be a pastor. She is fit to be this because you saw through the lie that she isn't a child of God.

Yet, when two children of God desire to come together in marriage of the same sex they are supposed to be denied.

How can Jane do that? She being a ligament in Gods body knows what only a that ligament must do. It's her truth, it's her job.

Rejecting her, telling couples they can not marry, etc only cuts off the arms and feet of the church by driving an artificial wedge between God and his children.

How can someone who wants to go before God to do the right denied the right to do it?

For how long can the church claim to be defending marriage when marrying two people strengthens marriage and upholds the institution as sacred?

What's risky is when someone partner swaps constantly, feels used and unloved at the end of every day, and goes to bed thinking God must really hate them for making them that way.

We give hope. God extends branches from an olive tree after a flood...when all hope seems lost.

God is faithful.

The church must be Gods arms and legs or we will be cut off. God must reach the lost and missing and we can't do that if our message is "Sorry, the door is open to all except you" or even "Marriage is Gods way, except for your type."

Homosexuals MUST have a path to God. None are beyond his reach and God will create that path through brave people who serve as ligaments in the body.