Thursday, April 03, 2008

How Presbyterian AM I?

So, there's this PresbyMEME going around, my friend Rhett tagged me and I missed it the first time, but I'm ready to contribute.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?
2. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?
3. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?
4. If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be?
5. If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?

Now here are my answers:
1. What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?
Oddly enough, I'm going to go with the day I wrote my polity Ordination exam - roughly 19 months ago. The question dealt with re-baptizing. The answer I wrote did more to convince me that I was Presbyterian than virtually anything else I've read or experienced. When you pare it all down - our part is minor, God does something real no matter how good or horrible we are. We're not working our way to God.

2. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?
I'm tempted to talk about sexuality here, because the trendy answer has got to be sexuality, right? But if I say that, what I'm meaning to say is that we've got to stop talking about sexuality the way we've been talking about it. It seems to me that the church, PC(USA) included, has a poorly developed idea of what sexuality is. It's either a) for pro-creation and beyond that it's a dirty word or b) the greatest thing since sliced bread, the highest human endeavour and the surest way to experience the divine. Both are sad examples of unsophisticated and uncritical engagement with culture and the bible. But I'm also going to say ordination. We need to be talking less about who can be "ordained" - because last time I checked, ordination isn't really stressed in the bible... we're ALL called to serve.

3. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?
Well, I should follow up the previous answer with the same - sexuality. I think we need to start formulating a biblical understanding of sexuality that doesn't simply follow the puritan-monastic-abstinence tradition with unthinking loyalty because sex is dirty. And it needs to stand up in the face of our Western-hedonistic-arbitrary culture instead of being so concerned with "fitting in." Christ was out of touch with his culture just a bit, right? Counter-cultural if you will? But I've also got to offer two additional things. First, I'd say we need to be talking a whole lot more about STRUCTURAL CHANGE - institutional adjustments and being FAITHFUL to Christ in a changing culture where our Christendom mentality no longer fits. But most importantly, I really feel like we need to deal with 1 simple question, the first question of membership in the PC(USA) - "Who is your Lord and Saviour?" What does it mean? And the second question of membership follows closely - "Do you trust him?" Do we?

4. If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be?
I'm going to cheat - kinda. I'm going to put forth the Luke-Acts swing passage of Luke 24 and Acts 1:1-11. The resurrection, the road to Emmaus, the commissioning, the ascension. It's all there and we need that same encounter with the living Jesus.

5. If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?
Hmmm...I'm going with an African Wild Ass. It's an endangered species that most of the world has never heard of. Loss of habitat is a huge factor in its growing extinction. If we don't figure out where we belong - where we're being sent - and what to do in a new habitat, we might end up extinct. Also - we're a little stubborn too...

I'll tag a couple PC(USA) guys - Jeff Lee and Wes Barry

2 comments:

Rhett Smith said...

awesome...African Wild Ass...amazing.

Don said...

I call'm like I see'm. And I've got an "inside" view...