The litany of Presbyterian woes gets tiresome. In the New Year we should covenant to cultivate a more positive spirit, not because of what we can do, but because the church belongs to God, not us, and God's strength is always made perfect in our weakness.
These remarks are inspired by A. J. McKelway's thoughtful reconsideration of "Definitive Guidance," the grandmother of our present impasse. Our church now has before it Amendment O on homosexuality and marriage. I hope it will be defeated. Concerning the ordination of gays and lesbians, we have not yet convened a real theological debate on the issues/dilemmas raised by that issue.
As one involved in writing what came to be known as the "Thompson Overture" a number of years ago, I was taken by Professor McKelway's intent in "Reconsidering 'Definitive Guidance.'" Through an overture which was sent -- with many others like it -- to the 1992 General Assembly, the session of Nassau church, Princeton, N.J., was seeking "a way through" the difficulty.
In his well-intended article, "Reconsidering 'Definitive Guidance,'" A. J. McKelway essentially argues for the ordination of homosexual persons because they are really the victims of an "involuntary condition." But, he adds, as long as they do not impose their "life style publicly" on the church. That is, if they don't flaunt it, ask for the church's approval or cause injury or public scandal.
A. J. McKelway's article offers to make distinctions that, it is agreed, are often so helpful when considering issues before the church, but one distinction, essential to the conversation, remained unspoken -- a distinction the church has rightly made.
A. J. McKelway has done all of us a great service. He has gone back to the l978 documents regarding the ordination of gay and lesbian people. He believes the original issue was missed and he leads us to a new possibility for our present debate.
The sophisticated elegance of Plato's reflections on the dualism of body and soul and the resulting view of the immortality of soul continue to make a powerful impact on Christian theology.However, Plato thinks on a much higher level than I do.I just try to keep body and soul together.
MONTREAT, N.C. -- Some General Assembly Council members raised questions Saturday about the theology behind ranking the work of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) according to its impact on evangelism and discipleship -- with former General Assembly moderator Douglas Oldenburg saying, "I don't ever want us to become just a consumer church," where only programs with the strongest constituencies prevail.