I attended a Shenango Presbytery meeting last night on the denominational issues. It had a large turnout (175-ish) and I haven't seen that large of a cross-church gathering that fired up in a long time. It felt like a church softball game.
Everyone was about on the same side. There was a general wondering of "how did we get here?" and "is this what the denomination is focused on?" "What about Jesus?". I wonder the same thing but on more than the issue of ordaining those who will not submit to "faithfulness and marriage and chastity in singleness" (old language now removed). Also, and just as stomach churning for me, is how did we get so tied to "social justice"?
Social Justice is a vague term to cover many errors. On the surface who would be opposed to social justice. A just society is essential and a good thing. But when social justice is used to support social programs and political ideologies everyone loses. Social Justice becomes a joke and those truly suffering from injustice are ignored. It seems like giving them padding for the shackles instead of removing the shackles. We can feel better about ourselves, have a nice padded program, pad a pad company profits, and leave those suffering exactly where they are so we can find them and "help" them tomorrow. Social Justice is about the programs and not about stopping the injustice.
The meeting last night was refreshing in that people are getting involved, aware, and passionate about their churches. It may lead to the PC-USA having fewer congregations. It may lead to some changes in the PC-USA. I don't know if much will change for the denomination though. And truly it seems like it isn't much of a hop for churches to switch to another Presby denomination. All should be considered prayerfully. Hopefully it drives everyone to their knees.
'The Church is not a thing like the Athenaeum Club,' he cried. 'If the Athenaeum Club lost all its members, the Athenaeum Club would dissolve and cease to exist. But when we belong to the Church we belong to something which is outside all of us: which is outside everything you talk about, outside the Cardinals and the Pope. They belong to it, but it does not belong to them. If we all fell dead suddenly, the Church would still somehow exist in God.'
The Ball and the Cross - GK Chesterton