Friday, January 28, 2011

PresbyMEME: Why I am voting yes on 10-A

Name, City, State
Aric Clark, Fort Morgan, CO

Twitter and Facebook profiles
Twitter: @aricclark
Facebook: Aric Clark, Two Friars and A Fool 
Presbytery and 10a voting date
Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, May 7th 2011

Reason ONE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
Close friends of mine who are already ordained, but closeted, some who are ordained and open about their homosexuality, and others who are seeking ordination, but currently prevented by our polity have proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Holy Spirit is working in and through LGBTQ persons as much as through any heterosexual and it is time the Church moved past our prejudices. This is merely the next step in our continual journey toward a fuller understanding of God's kingdom. One day we will have a Church that reflects the radical, profligate grace of Jesus Christ.

Reason TWO that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
This is core Presbyterian polity. Where people of good intent and rational thinking disagree it is vital that we permit freedom of conscience. It is vital that we not rob our presbyteries of their right to be the ordaining body by turning our constitutional document into a rulebook and inserting personal political agendas into what should be ongoing theological conversations. Amendment 10-A does not make explicit statement regarding the ability or inability of any individual to be ordained based on arbitrary criteria. Instead it puts the responsibility and the authority squarely on the shoulders of the ordaining body where it should be.

Reason THREE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
I can't limit this list to three reasons. Here are many more. There simply aren't any good reasons to vote against 10-A.

What are your greatest hopes for the 10a debate that will take place on the floor of your Presbytery?
I hope we conduct ourselves with humility, patience, and love, and I hope justice carries the day.

How would you respond to those that say that if we pass 10a individuals and congregations will leave the PC(USA)?

I would say that we can't be held hostage by those petty enough to threaten to take their toys and go home if we don't play the game their way. Those who cannot worship with their fellow presbyterians if we permit freedom of conscience on this issue have my blessings to depart.

What should the Presbyterian Church focus on after Amendment 10a passes?

The most urgent issue by far is our theological approach to violence. I would like to see the PC(USA) begin the process of becoming a Peace Church. I would like to see GA appoint a commission to study scripture and the confessions and present a paper to a future GA for adoption as an authoritative interpretation stating that being Christian and Reformed entails gospel nonviolence, and urging peaceful resistance to militarism in our society.

A close second to the issue of violence is our strategy for church planting in the PC(USA). I'd like to see us begin planting churches much more aggressively, using the wealth of young talent we have coming out of our seminaries. I would recommend setting up a grant program where recent seminary graduates can receive two years part-time salary and be ordained to an innovative ministry they design and initiate. Instead of trying a dozen expensive NCD's nationwide next year, lets plant 300 cheap ministries and see which ones take root.

How does your understanding of Scripture frame your position on 10a?
Scripture is constantly woven into my views on everything like themes in a symphony. By immersing myself in it, my imagination is shaped by it and scriptural ideas appear even unintentionally in my thought stream. On 10-A in particular the Biblical trajectory of God's inclusive love has been ever expanding. God's servants have always been challenged not by who God denies or rejects, but like Jonah by who God embraces. To understand God means to have your mind changed to understand the people you previously regarded as unclean, undesirable, "other" as the objects of God's affection. Putting on the mind of Christ means learning to love and accept  those who God loves and accepts.

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