Saturday, February 19, 2011

Amendment 10-A and the Future of the PCUSA

Some context, before I proceed.  My session is young.  As of this last session meeting, when the last of the old stalwarts of my wee kirk graciously stepped aside, it is potentially the youngest session in all of Presbyteriandom. 

I am forty-two.  When I moderate our monthly session meetings, I am now more than ten years older than the next oldest person in the room.  My session is comprised of young professionals, engineers and IT professionals, teachers and social workers and small business managers and artists.  They are, and should be, empowered to be leaders in the church.  Particularly a young church.  But they are younger than the children of the average Presbyterian elder.

And no, I don't have the data to back that statement up.  But y'all know what I mean.

So this morning, I worked to train up two new twenty-something session members, we finished reviewing the ordination questions and I asked if they'd had any questions surface about their assigned reading in the Book of Order.   They'd read the sections pertaining to ordained leadership in the church and the role of the session.

Anything confusing?  Or troubling?

There was a brief pause, and then one of them...a businesswoman, direct, plain-spoken, practical, thoughtful, conservative, and with a big evangelical heart...said, why, yes, there was one section that gave her pause.

"I don't remember exactly where it was. It said 'adhering to the historical standards of the confessions,' or something like that."

I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I flipped to G-6.0106b.

Is this it?

"Yes," she said.  "It just seems like no-one could ever do this."

And so we talked, about the conflict-context of it, and about how this ill-conceived stumbling block has been the cause of so much division and conflict within our fellowship.  I explained the nature of our Constitutional process.  I told her that I personally oppose it.  And I told her that there was the possibility that this would, one day soon, not be part of our Constitution.

"Thank you," she said.  "That does answer my question."

"So you're cool for tomorrow?"


Tomorrow, I and others will lay hands on that young, thoughtful, spiritual sister and ordain her as a governing elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA.  She is part of the future of my church, if it has any hopes of surviving, reviving, and thriving.

And if you needed a better reason to support 10-A, well, there is none.