DALLAS -- A task force charged with leading the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in spiritual discernment was encouraged at its first meeting, Dec. 6-8, to think in terms of managing conflict rather than resolving it -- recognizing that the Christian church has had conflict almost from its beginning -- and to stop equating conflict with combat, in which some other person or idea has to be destroyed.
Among those efforts that can be undertaken by the denomination to address our current malaise and drift toward fragmentation, none is as important -- or as elusive -- as the need for a major overhaul of the Book of Order.
By Lewis S. Mudge WCC Publications and University Press of America, Inc. 2000.312 pp. Pb. $27.50 ISBN 2-8254-1332-1
— reviewed by Louis Weeks, president, Union-PSCE, Richmond.
This collection of articles and essays by Lewis Mudge -- which have previously appeared in a variety of publications during the past 30 years -- offers a good summary of his thought. He believes that the whole church needs to think fresh thoughts about its identity as the body of Christ. More, it must develop its identity in the world. Ecclesial life for Mudge is a reality, and social theory can illumine its existence.
LOUISVILLE -- Barbara G. Wheeler, the president of Auburn Seminary in New York, calls herself a liberal and strongly believes that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should not deny ordination to sexually-active gays and lesbians, and shouldn't cite the Bible as its reason for doing so. But here's some of what she has to say about evangelical conservatives, the people she says she disagrees with "strenuously" in the painful and continuing battle over homosexual ordination.
In their proper place, I have long, and roundly, maintained a lowdown admiration for nice, big Presbyterian buts.To close and appreciative observers like me the fundaments of Reformed dogmatics are both ample and shapely with lots of wiggle room.Being generously endowed (and with intelligence, too), Presbyterians are aware that many theological affirmations are so complex the only proper response to them is, "yes, but...."
ATLANTA -- How far must a session go in inquiring into the sexual practice of candidates for elder? If a person has acknowledged that they live in a committed, same-sex relationship, but refuses to answer the direct question if they are sexually active in that relationship, can the session proceed to install them? Or is the examination incomplete?
During the 10 days of my senior-year spring break, I participated in Davidson College's "reverse mission experience" journey to Nicaragua led by college chaplain Rob Spach and Kathy Beach-Verhey, associate pastor of the Davidson College church.
A recent mission study trip to the northeastern part of Hungary and Ukraine -- with 10 persons from Missouri Union and Peaks presbyteries -- left me with three distinct images, all relating in some way to our old friend, Daniel Szabo, head curator of the Cistibiscan Church District.