Where are the moderates?
Okay, along the same vein, where are the moderate liberals, the moderate progressives? Where are the reasonable voices from within the progressive camp to speak out when some of their own become crazies who definitely cross the line and give a bad name to fellow progressives?
Take John Shuck, for example. Shuck pastors First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee, a church he describes as progressive. On his own (with far too much time on his hands), he writes a profane, juvenile blog, appropriately named “Shuck and Jive.” He considers it “part of my outreach and teaching ministry.” Whatever.
On February 20, Shuck’s humor consisted of posting condescending photos of rednecks, with mocking captions about renewal leaders, myself included. What a card that Shuck is! Hoo-eee! Deep teaching in this ministry.
But once one gets into the comment section, Shuck turns from immature and tasteless to just plain mean and profane. Speaking of the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission, he writes (and please excuse the language):
You right-wing bastards won't even allow a freaking scruple. Now it is war again. I tell you, if there was a proposal now that would remove G-6.0106b and the 1993 AI and allow congregations to leave with the denomination's property free of charge, I would be for it just to get rid of you SOBs. I feel no affection for you and your Taliban theology. You are destroying our denomination. I despise you today.
Later, in a comment to Viola Larson, one of the most decent and gracious persons I have ever met, he wrote: “As for the lovely Viola, no, I don't hate you phony, hypocritical, pious, ignorant bastards. You just tick me off, some days more than others.”
Okay, all the thoughtful, caring, sensitive progressives out there who crave dialogue and value diversity, and who are so concerned about alleged angry conservatives, who is going to stand up and say that John Shuck is a disgrace and embarrassment to fellow progressive Christians? Or do you think it is perfectly okay for him to treat church leadership and fellow Christians this way?
And I’m sure Shuck's presbytery has a Committee on Ministry. Is this behavior well within the standards of clergy conduct and demeanor expected by the presbytery of its spiritual leaders? Does anyone care enough about him and about the church to step in and provide some necessary correction? Does the presbytery have any behavior boundaries? Does it have some guts?
I understand that our denomination espouses a big-tent philosophy. But the big tent is not meant to contain a profane circus.