Friday, October 13, 2006

Getting a Handle on the Debate

Yesterday's blog was in response to a flood of posts from readers. Actually, a lot of them were from just one reader. I feel like some of the responses have become repetitive and unnecessarily contentious. There is also a side-thread of conversations within conversations that probably are confusing to all except those writing the posts.

I'm not going to stop posting responses, but I'm going to become a lot more selective. I think that we've mostly exhausted the comments over why the Kirk disaffiliated, and the past actions and reactions of the EOP regarding us. I'm going to help us (me) move on a bit.

I'll still post anything that really seems pertinent, or that casts a new view on an old post or idea. I will still post responses that are opposed to what I say or believe, but I will be more selective on the tone of posts I publish. I'm a part of the problem, in that I truly love to debate an issue (sometimes to death) and my adrenalin flow may have exacerbated the problem I'm trying to solve.

I really appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read this blog and respond. You have made it come alive, and some of you have made great contributions to working through our issues.

Please keep reading, thinking, and (if you're civil and thoughtful) posting. God bless you all.
Keep praying--keep the faith,


Deanna said...

Tom, I have not read the blog for sometime, but got on and read the last few days. I have said to you at the Kirk and will say it again, You are stating your position well. Your language is easy to understand and I appreciate your patience and plain-ness of speech. Hang in there, my family and I stand with you and the Kirk during this time.
Deanna Inclan

Former Member said...

Tom, I have noticed that most of the comments on this blog are from the professionals, Elders or lay leaders. People who have climbed the ladder tend to lose touch with the body of members who are seeking the Truth of Christ's message. Not everyone is ready for heavy duty theological politics. We are looking for compassion, care and forgiveness as we follow Christ with our personal understanding. This leads us into territory that may be dangerous, not a cocoon of safety. We have to trust our leaders and at this point that trust(at least for me) is stained.

mike a. said...

I agree with your last couple of blogs... this site to me was never meant to argue over and over again every little detail. The idea of the blog was to keep the church members abreast of any changes and to allow a forum for other PCUSA members to talk openly. All of these suspicions and arguements aren't helping anyone. I would say to the people that aren't members of the Kirk of the Hills... help us through these interesting times, or go throw your unconstructive daggers at someone else. (my humble opinion). thanks

Mr. E said...

I would like to offer a comment to "Former member". There are nmerous Elders and Lay leaders that are struggling with the very issues that are conflicting the PCUSA. I am an Elder in the PCUSA, more importantly I am a servant of our Lord. My obligation To God and my congregation is to care for the spiritual well being and confess the truth in The Word that our savior Jesus Christ proclaims. Some of the topics relate directly to protecting that truth in which we are all obligated to obey. Please know that we are right there in the pews with you.

In His love,

Cameron Mott said...

Former member,

I think members and elders are very much in step but there is a group within the PCUSA which exerts control in our higher government that is 5000% above its representation in our Church body; with opinions on ordination/fidelity, for instance, that are 100% out of whack with our members/elders opinions. I think this could be one source of why our members/elders feel misrepresented at GA or even Synod and Presbytery.

That group is.......[duhn duhn duuhhnn].......our clergy.

person in the pew said...

I've been reading and following your blog for some time now. I suspect there are many "lurkers" like me -- a member of a conservative PCUSA church which is at odds with PUP and the PCUSA leadership and is struggling with what to do. I'm following this blog to see how this situation plays out, and am praying that your church emerges unscathed.

Mark said...

Dear Cameron,

Presbyterian polity is built on a balance of elders and clergy in all governing bodies above the session (presbyteries, synods, general assembly). In fact, if an imbalance occurs, PCUSA polity requires that there are more elders than clergy.

On the session, the imbalance is extreme. There are always more elders than ministers on the session.

The clergy do not and cannot take over the governance of the church unless the laity choose to let them.

I always encourage sessions to elect continuing commissioners to presbytery for the sake of continuity of presence and participation in the decision-making of the church. I tell them explicitly that if they do not participate in presbytery meetings and committees, they are abdicating to the clergy.

And that's what this [duhn duhn duuhhnn] clergy person does.

How about instead of blaming clergy for the ills of the church, you volunteer the next time presbytery, synod, and GA ask for nominations to fill committees and leadership positions? How about you encourage other elders and deacons to do likewise? And how about you thank your pastors for being so willing to work on the local and presbytery levels (and sometimes synod and GA) in order to help keep your congregation in touch with what's going on?

Don't assume all clergy are grasping for power. Most of us find ourselves in leadership positions because no one else will do it. The same goes for elders and deacons I know who are faithfully active on different levels of church governance.

Yours in Christ,
Mark (not Smith)

Cameron Mott said...


It's my idea of provocative, in the thoughtful sense, although there is some truth in what I said I think, what I said is exaggeration, misinformation and divisive.

Those last 3 qualities are what concern me about my "side" in this time of trouble. It is mostly borrowed trouble based on exaggeration, misinformation and divisiveness it seems to me. I have a lot to say about it, or maybe questions about it, but it is probably mostly wrong and exaggeration and would result in divisiveness.

Mark Smith said...

former member,

Just a point of data - I have never been ordained as an elder or minister. I was ordained as a deacon about 20 years ago. I'm definately sitting in the pews with the rest.


I hope that you will endeavour to keep the comments balanced as to message while you are respecting tone. What I'm trying to say is that if you receive 25% of comments that disagree with you, that you try to keep the posted comments to be about 25% in opposition. Otherwise, you'd be practicing censorship.

It's your blog, and you can do what you want. It won't be a conversation, though, if your editing of comments ends up editing out points of view.

NetProphet said...

Former member,

Just curious, former member of the Kirk? PCUSA? Presbeytrian? Former blogger? Religion? Please clarify.