With all of the excitement surrounding the Episcopal convention, the action at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 217th General Assembly has been overshadowed. (And the coverage the Presbyterians have received in recent months has not been terribly positive, involving their budget and membership woes.) But Richard Ostling filed a story with the Associated Press that’s pretty juicy:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The divine Trinity — “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” — could also be known as “Mother, Child and Womb” or “Rock, Redeemer, Friend” at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church’s national assembly.
Um, womb? I would love an explanation of what the heck that even means, but okay. Ostling explains how the new formulations might be used in liturgies and the political process by which the change happened. He also gives both sides a chance to share their views:
A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek “fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God” to “expand the church’s vocabulary of praise and wonder.”
One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son “has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women,” the panel said.
Those who disagree with the change note that Jesus referred to God as “our Father.” Ostling also notes other permissible configurations, including “Lover, Beloved, Love.” He also writes that a vote on ordaining clergy will take place later today. Ostling does not mention something that is fairly important — the Presbyterians passed an amendment requiring the Trinitarian formula of “Father, Son, Holy Spirit” for baptisms.
Ostling is a wire reporter so it’s not really his place to delve deep into the issues raised by this Presbyterian move. But I certainly hope that other reporters remember things like this when they’re trying to illuminate some of what the PCUSA is going through.
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