Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go?:
Presbyterian Outlook (free registration required)
by Fairlight Collins-Jones

"It had been one week since the gavel was laid down at the General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala. My energy level had rebounded—it can be tough work as an “observer.” But, I was finding it more difficult to bounce back emotionally and vocationally from GA. After hours of debates in committee, debates on the floor, asking whether or not the minority should become the majority report, trying to figure out LES (the electronic report system) and hearing countless people refer to the decline of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and threats of leaving, I was left wondering isn’t there more to life than this? Is there a place to start over fresh? Is staying in this denomination worth it? ..."
Collins-Jones has written a thoughful piece on why she is planning to stay with the PC(USA). As a self-identified "catholic, evangelical, Reformed, feminist, missional, genX, liturgical, charismatic, female person", she often feels out of place, but she is willing and eager to be a part of a church that has its problems, but also has a clear mission in the world.

There has much talk of schism, with the attendant finger-pointing. Frankly, I do not understand why so many people who identifiy themselves with renewal are so ready to act in a way that is counter to renewal.

Beau Weston feels that the movement will fizzle out, based on history. I sincerely hope he is correct.

From my perspective, I see a debate going on, egged on by people within and without the PC(USA), that potentally has the same damaging effects as the perennial debates on sexuality. There is so much more that unites us than divides us, and our failure to work with our inherent unity is a blight on not only the PC(USA), but the Church as a whole. Surely we can do better.

The Reverend Collins-Jones closes with this:
"...I am staying because the Spirit of the Lord still rests on the PC(USA). I am not taking my ball and going to another game. Frankly, I am not leaving until I get kicked out! Perhaps there will come a day when I will have to refuse to bow down to any idol that the PC(USA) has begun to worship and in turn, I get the boot. But I have hope that the church will create a new presence in the world, that a revival and renewal is headed our way. Lord, don’t let us miss it! But, thanks be to God that ultimately our hope is not in a denomination, but in the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ."

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