Fragmentation and an Idealized Opposition
I replied in the comments, but I thought it worthwhile to make my reply a separate posting. Here's what I wrote:
Thanks for your insights.
Yes, personal foibles always are at play in any organization. It's easy to have "ergocentricity" rear its ugly head, where my work is central and everyone else should drop what they are doing and do what I do (or what I lead).
Fragmentation is always a danger within the orthodox camp, especially when we start laying blame on others for a difficult setback. We need to be gentle on one another at a time of disappointment, and then firm in our stern opposition to whatever damage might have been attempted.
We also need to avoid the tendency to idealize the opposition. They are not monolithic or without their own internal squabbles. I have attended Covenant Network meetings in which significant infighting was evident. The "Let's get it on!" group always chafes against the "But we need to be strategic" group. The "I don't care if it destroys the PCUSA!" group wrestles with the "But we must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg" group.
The "others" are definitely not unified. Why should there be both a That All May Freely Serve and a More Light Presbyterians? And why a Covenant Network that is ideologically aligned but usually strategically at odds with the GLBT groups? You should hear the gay voices complain about the sympathetic liberal voices trying to counsel restraint.
In the case of Covenant Network versus MLP or TAMFS, all of them are fundamentally at odds with the Bible and Christian morality. But they are not in lock-step with one another on how to proceed. They, too, are human and have their leadership and tactical foibles.
What the gay-activist forces have done for the most part, however, is endure setbacks. They didn't have just one General Assembly as bad for them as our San Jose assembly has been for us. They have had one assembly after another after another that has been a horrible disappointment that was filled with setbacks, from their perspective.
And yet, yet--they were still there in San Jose, working their plan. This time, in an odd situation with a very skewed set of voting commissioners, they experienced a major victory.
Now, will this one setback cause evangelicals to: 1) blame each other, 2) get all discuraged, 3) fragment, and 4) just plain quit? Or will this setback make us fighting mad and awaken the fence-sitters and spur us into better, more determined action?
I hope it is the latter. I don't think we are made of lesser stuff than the gay activists, who have weathered far worse for decades and still show up for the dispute.