Jul 2, 2012

Day 2 at GA - Confirmation of the Vice Moderator

Sunday at the General Assembly was fairly a light day.

Commissioners and guests to the GA spent the morning in presbyterian congregations throughout the Pittsburgh area.

The afternoon was supposed to be pretty laid back as the GA rubber stamps the moderator's choice for vice moderator with a voice vote, but that didn't happen. And what happened next I think speaks volumes about where we are as a church.

There was a question from the floor of GA by a commissioner who asked whether it was possible to vote "no" for the confirmation of the moderator's choice for vice moderator and what the procedure for that would be.

The reason for the question is because the Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe recently conducted a wedding ceremony of a lesbian couple in Washington, DC where same gender marriage is legal.

However, by doing so, Tara Spuhler McCabe openly and knowingly violated the church's constitution.

Then there was a motion to suspend the standing rules so that there could be some discussion about McCabe's confirmation. That vote to suspend the standing rules would need two-thirds majority vote of the assembly. But by a vote of 344-273 (55% to 44%) that motion was defeated.

The assembly then quickly moved to confirm McCabe's appointment by a vote of 388-240 (60%).

What is interesting about this is that I've never seen such controversy in all my years of attending GA's.

If this were to be a congregational vote about a pastoral candidate, and the vote came down to a 60-40 vote, very few pastors would take a call with such a split.

One of the questions I am wrestling with is what does our connectionism mean when...
  • Redwoods Presbytery rejects and ignores the ruling of a PJC with impunity 
  • when the GA elects a vice moderator who openly and knowingly violated the church's own constitution
  • when in many of our presbyteries, we know that there are teaching elders who no longer can affirm the necessity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, or the exclusive nature of the salvation of Jesus Christ and thereby reject our confessions with impunity 
What does our connectionism mean again?

I know that there is much good still in the PC(USA). But decisions like this make me wonder about my place in this denomination where vows and words to our constitution and confessions no longer mean what it once meant. 

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