Presbyterians: Two More Years of "Talking" about Same Sex Marriage

The StarTribune reports:

Hours after giving their blessing to ordaining noncelibate gays and lesbians, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) declined late Thursday to change the church’s definition of marriage, in effect refusing to allow same-sex marriages within their denomination.

If the proposal had been approved, the church’s definition of marriage would have changed from a commitment between “a woman and a man” to “two people” and allowed church weddings in states that have legalized gay marriage.

The late-night decision to table the proposal and subject it to two more years of study caught many delegates at the denomination’s gathering at the Minneapolis Convention Center by surprise, and there was a stunned silence as delegates absorbed the action.

What I don’t understand is how that body can approve gays and lesbians to serve as ordained clergy, but not allow them to get married.  Yes, I understand that they will require celibacy — that’s their answer.  But it’s not an answer that makes much sense.

UPDATE: This makes even less sense.  Also from the article:

Hours before the surprise shelving of the marriage measure, the assembly approved changing the denomination’s ordination policy to make noncelibate gays and lesbians eligible to become clergy. The vote was 373 to 323.

Get that?  I don’t.

A Paean to Bruce Reyes-Chow

Bruce Reyes-Chow, outgoing moderator of the PC(USA)

I’m currently in Sewanee, Tennessee, speaking at the School of Theology here at the “University of the South” (confident, aren’t they?).  But back at home, several of my friends are gathered with their fellow Presbyterians at the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  For the two years preceding this meeting, Bruce Reyes-Chow has been the moderator of that denomination, and his tenure ended earlier this week in Minneapolis.

Now, I’m no proponent of denominationalism.  As I’ve written, I think they served their purpose, and now they should go away — or at least be dramatically reformed (and by this I mean on the order of what Wesley did to Anglicanism or what the Mennonites did to the Reformers).  In fact, I think that denominations, as they now stand, are bad for the gospel, and that’s because I think that bureaucracy is bad for the gospel.

However, if someone is going to take a denomination like the PC(USA) into the future, its going to be Bruce (and others like him).  I watched his tenure begin two years ago (while I was on the Church Basement Roadshow!), and I’ve gotten to share the dais with him a couple times over these two years.  And I’ve been nothing but impressed with the honesty and candor with which his has spoken to his Presbyterian compatriots.

So, from this outsider, I say: Huzzah, Bruce, on a job well done!  May all denominational leaders follow your example in the years to come…


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