I've had a little time to refect on what transpired at GA, as well as what's going on in other renewal groups and at home at the Kirk. The dust is beginning to settle, but what I see is still a bit confusing.
There are two views on what the GA approved with the PUP report. Some presbytery officials, and our national ones, are saying that "nothing's changed." At best, such a statement is obfuscating by telling half the truth. We did not formally amend our constitution so, on the surface of things, it hasn't changed. But what PUP did was to change radically how we interpret our constitution. There is no question in my mind--or in the minds of others on both sides of this issue--that the approval of the PUP report will now allow the ordination of practicing gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and trans-sexuals.
People like me believe that the denomination has gone too far--way to far. My feelings are shared by pastors of centrists churches like Highland Park in Dallas (Ron Scates), and our largest congregation, Peachtree Presbyterian in Atlanta (Vic Pentz). Those on the gay-approving side see this as a step forward, but too small of a step. While it will allow the ordaining of some gays, it is not going to be in all presbyteries.
In response to this, conservatives have aligned with one of three groups (which are not mutually exclusive). There is the Global Mission group that will be meeting in Atlanta in August. This group seems to be encouraging people to stay in the denomination nominally, but begin to act separately in mission. Its advertised meeting looks like many of our past Coalition meetings. Another group is calling people to affirm constitutional behavior. What this will accomplish toward denominational change is not immediately apparent.
The third group is New Wineskins. Some are calling us (I'm on its board) schismatic and divisive because we've had the courage to publically raise the question everyone is thinking: "Should we stay in the denomination or leave?" Asking the question is not taking the action. New Wineskins will discuss all of our alternatives in July at our national meeting, held at the Kirk. We are asking people to join in prayer for all of the days preceding the meeting. I've asked those of you who attend the Kirk to pray every morning, noon, and night for our denomination, the Kirk, and the convocation.
Keep the faith,