Saturday, December 4, 2010

Half-time Reflections

Perhaps you've noticed this blog has taken on a little bit of a theme lately? I wouldn't blame our readers, new or old, from thinking that this was a single-topic blog, when in fact, we hope it will be much more than even a blog. We're in a process of building something we think is quite exciting, which is difficult to explain, but you're free to try and glean what it will be from reading our identity statement.

But for the time being this space is what it is, and it is largely dominated by this conversation about ordination standards in the Presbyterian Church (USA). That is because two of the proprietors here, Doug Hagler, and myself, are ministers in the PC(USA) and have been passionate about this issue for a long time, and now we find ourselves in the midst of a vote on Amendment 10-A and actually in a position to do our small part for greater justice. What you would probably never realize based on our recent activity is that this issue is far from the top of our list of things we are truly passionate about. Circumstances, an observed need, and our own pedantry are responsible for the current flurry of activity on this subject, but it isn't without a tinge of irony that we look at how much time we're dedicating to the subject and sigh.

That doesn't mean we regret having engaged on this course. Far from it. Speaking for myself personally, it has been a fantastic learning experience. The research required to acquit ourselves respectably on this subject has taught me a great deal, sharpened my thinking, and been an exercise in sustained attention to rival most other work I've attempted. More significantly, it has been interesting observing its spread through the very tiny pond of our denomination, and even rippling out into neighboring denominational ponds.

We are at the half-way point in terms of the structure of the original document. We've completed our expanded responses to the arguments against LGBTQ ordination, and are moving into our expansion of the arguments in favor. It is easier from here on out, though. The heavy lifting was mostly in the first half.

So far, I have been pleasantly surprised at the lack of personal attacks directed our way. I don't know if that is because most people just don't care about our tiny corner of the blogosphere, or if we have written the document in such a way as to discourage them, but I'll take it. I have no illusions of our incredible importance, or superior argumentative prowess. I believe we have done as good of a job as we're capable of doing, but whether that is good enough to have any impact is beyond my knowledge.

Due to requests from others we will be releasing a pdf of the entire expanded document with citations for those who are really bored. We will also be producing a non-denominational version of the document which we hope will be useful to fellow mainline denominations having similar conversations. Some churches have discussed using it as a curriculum for adult education, which we are surprised about, but happy to support. We may offer some help in that direction, eventually.

My hopes for this project are the same as they were at the start - that it be useful in any small measure for the accomplishment of inclusive ordination standards. I hope it will be read at presbytery meetings, in committees, in churches, and anywhere else that it may provoke fruitful conversation toward that end. And then I hope we can produce articles on the stuff that we are really passionate about that will generate half as much interest as our posts on this subject have.

1 comment:

Nick.Larson said...

I wanted to voice my support for this "direction" and being the third leg of this stool I know that this is an important topic and it is one that needs a lot of depth. I for one am proud of my fellow friars for their diligence and brilliance set within these posts and this document.

And just be glad that Aric and I aren't posting our exposition on Karl Barth :)