>An online pastor friend – one of those folks I’ve met via social media and hope one day to hug in person – wrote this in response to the letter that I mentioned in my previous post. It has bounced quite far around the Presbyuniverse, but that’s not why I’m linking to it. I find that it says some of those things that I couldn’t quite articulate myself. Possibly because I’m not yet a pastor. Maybe because I have always been in a place of privilege, which Katie cannot claim. Or maybe because I just didn’t let it sit long enough. Probably all of the above.
InsideOuted: Response to the “Deathly Ill Church” Letter: “A few days ago I heard some buzz on Twitter and Facebook about a letter from some pastors in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA)…”
A couple of the commenters on Katie’s blog took her to task for tone, pointing out that the writers of the letter expressed their own humility and that she ought to do likewise. I must stand with Katie against that criticism. I’m not sure that their confession of humility offsets the rest of the letter’s clear statement that they believe they know exactly what is best for the denomination. They imply that if the rest of the PC(USA) is not wise enough to see this, then they are being forced to create this fellowship or leave or something. Somehow they are victims of – I’m not sure what – not being as influential as they’d like?
I know that it’s easy for folks on both sides of an issue/argument/debate to see themselves as the righteous one, the holder of the knowledge that puts them on the “correct” side. I try not to be that way, and I want people to call me on it (even when it stings). This is particularly important in matters of faith- when we claim to know the mind of God better than others who are also faithfully seeking God’s direction. What I saw in this post was a woman leading a small (tiny) church provide in equally direct and passionate terms a response to letter written by men with a very different perspective of life and ministry.
As we have the sort of conversations together of which the letter bemoans a lack, we will sometimes do so artfully, sometime clumsily. Hopefully we will get better at it…