Many years ago during a meeting of rabbis, pastors, and priests in Cranford, New Jersey, I learned it's possible to be conciliatory even if you cannot be reconciled.
Etymologists will claim those words have the same roots and, ergo, same essential definitions.
While I may be wrong, I disagree.
It doesn't matter though; so I'm not gonna get into a tinkling contest over it.
As I'm increasingly prone to say, if you're looking for an argument, get a mirror.
I just learned people can get along even if they have some very, very, very sharp emotional, intellectual, and spiritual differences.
And, heaven, if we don't start learning how to...
Getting back to the Garden State, the clergy of different persuasions got together to discuss manger scenes on public property.
Being a lot younger and bolder, I started right in rather stridently, "Let's admit it! We have an irreconcilable theological difference here! We believe Jesus is Lord and Savior and you don't!"
An old rabbi with a long gray beard in typical attire stood up and spoke softly, "My young Christian friend is right; and I'll be damned if he's right. But I'm betting my soul that he's wrong just as much as he's betting his soul that he's right."
We could not reconcile the theological difference.
We did decide to place a manger scene and menorah in front of the library.
We were conciliatory even if not reconciled.
While I'm Christological, Pauline, and even Freudian when it comes to sexual couplings/nuptials, I'm aware of the increasing diversity in our world, country, and even churches when it comes to that kinda stuff.
My friends on the right are very mad at me because I just can't make this into a kingdom-rises-or-falls-on-it thing and my friends on the left are very mad at me because I just can't make this into a kingdom-rises-or-falls-on-it thing.
While I'm convinced rather egotistically and condescendingly and narcissistically and arrogantly that our world, country, and even churches would be sooooooo much better off if everybody were philosophically, ideologically, and theologically spoon-fed by me - Even if you don't ever think like that (Yeah, right!), the hard left and hard right always think like that! - I know there ain't no chance of that ever happening.
I've learned a very hard lesson over the years.
I've often been wrong and had to confess it and repent from it.
While I'm still betting my soul on Jesus as Lord and Savior with enthusiasm and without equivocation, I'm not going to bet my soul on many other things.
I'm just not as egotistical, condescending, narcissistic, and arrogant as the hard left and hard right.
With the aforementioned in mind, how can we remain faithfully in a denomination like all the others that's increasingly apostate under current management?
While I may be wrong, how we approach the same-sex nuptials thing could provide a model for being conciliatory even if not reconciled.
Soooooooo I asked folks from differing philosophical, ideological, and theological perspectives for suggestions on how we can be conciliatory about something like same-sex nuptials when we know sooooooo many differences about 'em can never be reconciled apart from an Acts 1:11b apocalypse.
Then I went to my ecclesiastical superiors - Executive/General Presbyter who is kinda like a bishop or DS and Chairwoman of our Committee on Ministry who is kinda like a referee - for counsel on how to draft something for a vote by Blackhawk Presbytery - which is kinda like a diocese or conference - on dealing with the issue in a conciliatory if not reconciled kinda way.
While I learned something from everyone, no one should be blamed for what I will be suggesting to Blackhawk Presbytery at its next stated meeting on November 11.
Moreover, because everybody from every philosophical, ideological, and theological direction has already made up her or his noodle on it - and if they haven't, they must have been watching too many re-runs of Breaking Bad or starring in The Walking Dead - I'll just move it, hope for a second, suggest a quick vote without debate, sit down, and never talk about it again.
Here's what I'm gonna move: "Acknowledging same-sex nuptials are legal in Illinois and the PCUSA affords discretion to its teaching elders by the authoritative interpretation of the 221st General Assembly to preside or not preside at such rituals+ceremonies=rites and particular churches may host or not host such ordinances upon session approval subject to the review of higher judicatories, Blackhawk Presbytery will honor the consciences of teaching elders and particular churches within its bounds; noting its members are divided among those who embrace the authoritative interpretation as witness to progressive theology and those who reject it according to traditional Christianity. Presiding/participating teaching elders and hosting churches may exercise their consciences as permitted by the authoritative interpretation. No efforts to force teaching elders and sessions who decline to preside/participate/host will be encouraged, enabled, or condoned. Those who embrace and those who decline do not need to fear ministerial infringements or vocational reprisals in Blackhawk Presbytery."
Anyone from left, right, up, or down who doesn't get why such a motion is necessary in today's secular and ecclesiastical cultures that are often hard to distinguish from each other is naive or stoned.
My guess is this will ___ off my friends on the right, confuse 'em on the left, and maybe, just maybe, prayerfully maybe, convince a remnant that it's possible to be conciliatory even if not reconciled.
Of course, if ya think this is one of those kingdom-rises-or-falls-on-it litmus tests of fidelity...
I may be wrong.
For me, it's simple.
I'm praying and trying to follow Jesus by the book.
Sooooooo what happens if the government, courts, PCUSA, or any other denomination require its pastors/sessions/churches to preside/participate/host or lose their ordinations/credentials/etc.?
Let me be clear, crisp, concise, and conclusive.
I'll never, never, never preside/participate at/in the aforementioned because I'm convinced it's categorically antithetical to two thousand years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common sense Christianity.
I don't care what the government, courts, or any church rules.
God first, only, and always as best revealed in Jesus by the book.
"We must obey God first, foremost, always, and only!"
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
Read 9.03 of C67.
That's where I'm praying and trying to be because that's where He and His are!
I like the way Luther put it...
Blessings and Love!
Believing in The Bible And Loving Jesus. That`s what it`s all about.
Trust in the Lord.
God Bless all
As anticipated, I'm hearing from the right because they think I've watered down the Biblical witness to accommodate the left and I'm hearing the left because they want me to convert to their apostasies while threatening to drive me out if I don't. Of course, if either read "An Open Letter to Muslims" that can be clicked on in the right column, they'd know homie ain't afraid of the big bad wolf that comes wearing a turban or vestimentum. Anyway, the right needs to realize it's not always, uh, right about everything and that Jesus came cause we're never gonna be pure and perfect in every way. So get over it! Stick to Jesus by the book; but don't think everybody else is gonna do it. That's really Biblical, mes amis! The left needs to realize, especially those who insist on per capita and dues and goose-stepping to their every indigestion/inspiration, that ya can't insist on some standards while abandoning others as dictated by gonads. BTW, Jesus loves ya'll. Read John 3 again! :)
Creative tension – we live with it every day.
Superb exegesis, mon ami!
Loved the motion. You go, Bob.
Rather than working on the horizontal, I'm trying to work out the vertical -- I shall gladly be neither left nor right of you but beneath you (and I mean that only metaphorically, despite it no longer a danger to my ordination)
Sorry, Bob...I don't agree. It plants your/my/our feet firmly on the solid rock of Presbyterian polity, which you know is now about as firm as a fresh cowpie.
While I may vote for it, I don't think it's nearly enough. To me, anyway, it reminds me of a scene toward the end of "Fiddler on the Roof", where the soldiers come to town to tell the Jews that they have to give up their property. The Orthodox Christians (for whom they will be coming next) who are their neighbors are only as helpful as offering to buy some of the Jews' hard-earned property and possessions. It's something, but it ain't enough. In the end, they will all lose because no one stood for truth. The "law" (polity), yes. But truth (The Word), no.
Out to make visits. The beat goes on.
Brother, You are right. This is a Matthew 10:16 thing pour moi. Specifically, as we discussed in the parlor of Westminster, Aurora a few years back, evangelicals have lost in the PCUSA and most American churches. As Craig and Bill emphasized, now is the time to be good undershepherds and protect as best as we can. By not getting in the way of those who are determined to defy revelation in Jesus and Holy Scripture who have the US government/courts and GA on their side, we may be able to keep the Kenyonesque folks from doing their dance on us. Annnnnnnd you are especially right in intimating that polity cannot save us. That's the exclusive place of Jesus! For us, it remains a Joshua 24:15 thing!
Brother, you faith encourages mine. BTW, coming back from the hospital earlier today, I was listening to NPR and somebody said the problem with ISIS and its Islamist sympathizers is very complicated. I thought that's exactly why this world, country, and most churches/clergy are so messed up these days. BTW, keep in mind that satanos is the source of all confusion. People who love Jesus by the book and read the red letters aren't confused because Jesus is not as double-minded as the posers pretending to follow Him while really just following the twitches of their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical gonads. Or something like that. Anyway, I praise God for your witness, brother!
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