Prayer? Yes! But Hold the Propaganda
Moderator Joan Gray asks us to "pray that we will be open to the fullness of God’s will in our General Assembly." May it be so!
On the other hand, Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick delivers a rather mixed message about Christian unity:
- While Kirkpatrick has failed to champion and uphold historic Christian moral teaching, he yet brings attention to "the strong faith we share with Christians throughout the ages." Yes, that historic faith is outstanding, but why hasn't Kirkpatrick honored it with his own example? Why hasn't he vigorously sustained the sexual morality that has been part of that strong faith throughout the ages?
- While Kirkpatrick writes, correctly, that "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has long understood that it is only one part of the body of Christ, and that we seek to make visible the unity we share with other Christians," he has concurrently issued harsh and retributive legal briefs (here and here), seeking to label any group of Presbyterians not sufficiently attached to the PCUSA alone as not "the true church." Which is it? Is the PCUSA only one part of the body of Christ, or is it the only part that is "true"?
- While Kirkpatrick invites us to find out more about an "effort to create closer connections between NCC member churches," he seems to limit the graciousness of ecumenicity only to the dance of the few dying dinosaurs within the National Council of Churches. At the same time, he has seemed to stoke the fires of distrust against our closest denominational siblings, such as the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Why limit the call "to engage in fellowship, prayer, and study with other Christians" to a small, increasingly irrelevant and secularized sliver of the body of Christ? Why leave out vital fellowship with Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, Pentecostal, independent, and evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ?
For Pentecost and leading up to General Assembly, Moderator Joan Gray calls us to prayer and to seeking God's will. Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick, on the other hand, touts the National Council of Churches, which just happens to have its funding slightly imperiled at the coming General Assembly. I'll take the prayer, but for me, hold the not-so-subtle NCC propaganda.
It seems high time for a new Stated Clerk more attuned to the faith and life of the congregations within our denomination--someone to match within the Office of the General Assembly the fresh breezes of ministry blowing within the General Assembly Council. And someone less attuned to promoting and maintaining personally favored failing ecumenical institutions of a previous era.