That's the question I have been asking all my pals since I read the wonderful article in Sunday's paper by Henry Allen. He is a professor at the University of Maryland. In his honors seminar on meaning and culture he asks students with whom they identify in those classic cartoons: Wile E. Coyote or the Roadrunner?
Soon, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will begin as new round of conversations with the Episcopal Church, focusing on the recognition of their office of bishop and our office of elder. We should make this an opportunity to clarify and strengthen our understanding of the eldership, for the sake of life within the Presbyterian Church.
While a gay legislator addressed a recent political convention, a delegate held up a sign which read, "There is a way out." The intended reference was that gays and lesbians can simply change by becoming heterosexuals. Regardless of how one feels about that advice, the phrase itself provides wise counsel for Presbyterians. Although caught in a seeming interminable struggle over the ordination of gays and lesbians, there is a way out for the Presbyterian Church (USA).
"The spectacle presented by the indecent squabbles of priests of most denominations, and the unfairness and rancor with which they conduct their differences utterly repel me . . . . The Church's hand is at its own throat . . . . The Master of the New Testament is put out of sight."
In 1993 the General Assembly adopted an insightful, prophetic document presented by Worldwide Ministries, "Mission in the 1990s." It offered five crucial challenges, all of which have as much urgency and relevance now for the PC(USA) as at the beginning of the decade.
Over my ministry I've been called a conservative, a Communist, a secularist, an evangelical, a liberal, a Congregationalist and now lately a centrist. I'm getting calls from people saying, "You represent the center. Do something." A person cozies up to me at a meeting and asks, "What are those of us in the center going to do when the denomination splits?" I am hearing a plea that the ill-defined, nebulous center will miraculously rise up to hold our denomination together.