I always go to Krispy Kreme for a dozen glazed for the kids, an exotic coffee for the Mrs., and extra bold caffeine pour moi (the first two are guilt offerings) just before heading off to Tupelo Bay on the Grand Strand to hit a few buckets and then visit any number of crack houses (aka golf stores) while on vacation.
Of course, I'm on non-vacation.
So that ain't happening; but I am in my study after a first week of non-vacation filled with counseling and care and administrative directions and monitoring the thanatos libido of the PCUSA which is fast becoming the leader of the losers moving from the mainline to the sideline of American/global religious life.
With all apologies to my Biblically ecumenical subscribers, this KD is dedicated (RIP) to the increasingly irrelevant PCUSA.
Parenthetically, when have you ever heard anyone ask what the PCUSA thinks about anything of national/global consequence?
Anyway, my Biblically ecumenical subscribers should pay attention to this KD because they're gonna have a lot of PCUSA visitors looking for a new church home.
Have you ever asked any of those Welcome Wagoners how many believers moving into town are looking for a mainline church?
That's why so many of 'em are changing their names.
They are trying to avoid guilt by association.
It's hard for mainline-associated churches which still love Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by their constitutions so precariously to attract folks who love Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture because of the earned reputation of mainliners of no longer loving Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.
Before going (venting) on, I'm reminded of an exchange between AG and GWB during one of their exhilarating Presidential debates.
AG was upset with GWB because he was gettin' "snippy" about AG's concerns about GWB which have become all too apparent since GWB hit his Presidential peak in response to 9/11/01.
So this KD may be more snippy than, uh, usual.
I'll allow my subscribers to judge; which has never seemed to be a problem for them.
If you want to know the whole story of this year's bad news GA, you've got two choices: www.presbyweb.com which is the best source for finding out what's going on from all perspectives and www.layman.org which is the best source for finding out who's really barking without much bite over what went so awfully wrong.
I wouldn't bother with the franchise's official website; because, uh, it's one of the enablers of what went wrong.
You've got three main players in the franchise: (1) the apostate who have a "decided" majority across the boards; (2) the accommodating who have the most numbers but acquiesce to whoever's winning at any particular moment a la German Christians during the rise of Nazism; and (3) those who still love Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by the constitution so precariously.
Oh, yeah, some folks contend with that simplistic demographic.
They are the same ones who do nothing while criticizing those who do something; reminding me of Moody's retort to a mainliner who complained about how he "did" evangelism: "I prefer the way I do it to the way you don't do it."
I was asked how this could ever happen to the PCUSA with its faithful heritage.
1. Clergy who did not understand the questions
when ordained (ignorant);
2. Clergy who lied when asked the questions
at ordination (deceptive);
3. Clergy who have changed their minds about
the questions since ordination yet lack
the integrity to demit (pathetic); and
4. Unconverted clergy enabling unconvinced
laity (spiral of apostasy).
Cure: "Come, Lord Jesus!"
We're about to launch a big building program in our local family of faith at First; and I've been flooded with concerns about the effect of the franchise on our call to "pray and labor to be a beacon and a safe haven for a lost and dying world in the heart of Belvidere, surrounding communities in Boone and Winnebago Counties, and as far as our Lord calls, compels, and enables us to reach."
Fortunately, we're in a presbytery which, a little more than less these days, still loves Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by our constitution so precariously.
Fact is category 3 outnumbers categories 1 and 2 as noted in this KD's description of the players (section 6) in our presbytery.
So we're safe to be for Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture so far.
I was asked why I am so passionately persuaded when it comes to remaining to be faithful rather than separating to be faithful.
Certainly, I've written lots about that already; and those columns have been carried by several publications which have many more paying subscribers than anything from me.
But don't feel guilty about those 11Gs unless you are.
Borrowing a strategy from BHO and JM, there may be a few "nuances" to my thoughts.
First, the less than noble reasons for remaining: (1) cost of litigation; (2) detouring energies from pastoral care; (3) inherited ignorance of clergy and congregants who have trusted the franchise which has resulted in an almost insurmountable learning curve; (4) presbyters who are mesmerized by polity and process over principles which drags out common sense to nonsense and numbs any desire to get involved; and (5) I need more time to get my handicap down into single digits.
Second (Whoa!), the noble reasons: (1) Biblical imperatives to witness in and out of season; (2) His compelling call to be salt and light; (3) Jesus does grant permission to retreat into neo-monasticism but to engage in the exhortation to confession and repentance; (4) His call to "go into the world" with the gospel and the PCUSA is as worldly as it gets; (5) Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship; (6) the beast should not be fed on the tithes, offerings, properties, and assets of our faithful predecessors and their continuing kin; and (7) John 3:17, 1 Timothy 2, et.al.
Besides, the property clause will fall.
You can't be selective about constitutional compliance and get away with it, uh, forever.
Some smart lawyer is gonna convince some court somewhere that if you can "scruple" Biblical/confessional/constitutional faith and morality, you can...
And a special note for those who are waking up about now!
It's a little late to start bantering and moaning about the increasing apostasies of the PCUSA.
Ignore 'em and just share the good news of Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by our constitution so far.
Besides, we're such an increasingly irrelevant player in American/global religious life.
We claim over 2 million members but - Wink! Wink! - everybody knows there are less than a million really active ones.
Paris Hilton and Pacman Jones have bigger fan clubs.
But, uh, you may want to rethink, uh, reimagine as it were/is, feeding the beast with the $ of your faithful constituents who may start redirecting their $ from you if you don't.
There is no way anyone who loves Jesus can ask people who love Jesus to fund anyone who doesn't love Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by our constitution so far and so precariously.
Again, I apologize to my Biblically ecumenical subscribers for this parochial parenthesis; but, on the other hand, again, you need to be prepared for all of those folks who are gonna be knocking at your doors if their, uh, particular mainline church pastors and boards continue to pretend everything's-gonna-be-O.K. like some sick B film starring O.J. and Leslie Nielson: "Nothing to see here! All is well! Nothing to see here! All is well!"
As pour moi, I'm joining Toby and exercising creative neglect to the max from now on when it comes to the franchise.
The lampstand's been removed anyway.
I'll pray and labor in our family of faith and our presbytery concomitant to Matthew 10 and John 10; but I ain't wastin' any more time, emotion, or energy on something that never was or maybe was but ain't no more.
GA died in San Jose because they, uh, did not "know the way to..."
On a brighter note, I went to a really great worship service at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Illinois because I'm, uh, on non-vacation and wanted to encourage a remaining to be faithful franchiser like me and wanted my children and wife to hear someone who still loves Jesus and heralds Biblical faith and morality.
The pastor is gonna be 50 within the week.
He can't believe it!
Well, his sermon was riveted to 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.
Can you believe it?
It was superb; and as a homiletical professor at CEDS which is a good place to redirect your $, I'd give an A+ to him.
Assuming Jesus as Lord and Savior as attested in Holy Scripture, he said our unity is required by our common denominator of faith, revealed in our unique relationships through and for Him, and results in mutual affections and actions. He went on to talk about Biblical inclusions and refreshment whenever His people are hanging out together.
Considering all of the bad news in the PCUSA which I will not mention again after tapping the "send" function - Thanks, Toby, for reminding me to practice the creative neglect which I coined in Fifteen Secrets which no one including me, I guess, ever regards! - I was blessed by the good news through a member of the remnant remaining to be faithful.
Back to non-vacation.
Blessings and Love!