I am proud to be a Presbyterian.
Last night, the 87th Presbytery voted to pass amendment 10a that will change the language concerning the gifts and requirements for those called to ordained ministry, including celibacy and fidelity — language that has excluded gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals from becoming ordained as elders, deacons, and ministers within the Presbyterian church. This 87th vote was the final vote needed for the majority necessary to pass the amendment.
[ I know that some of my readers will not understand or agree with the decisions made in this vote, and what it has come to stand for. To these dear readers — I urge you to open your heart to God’s spirit for this post. ]
I understand there will be and are concerns from those within the Presbyterian church, as well as concerns from both Christians and non-Christians outside of our denomination. I imagine some of these concerns arise from passages of the bible that seem to condemn homosexuality. I imagine some of these concerns might arise from passages of the bible that seem to promote chastity in singleness. I imagine some of these concerns might arise from worries that heterosexual individuals might see this as a loophole for premarital sex and infidelity within marriage. I imagine there are so many other concerns that I can’t possibly list in this limited space.
With change there are always concerns … and there should be. Change and concern is how we grow, develop, and learn as people of God.
I hope and pray that we are able to look past these concerns and celebrate the step that the Presbyterian church has taken. We are acknowledging that God is bigger than theology. There are gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who are called to ordained ministry — and we are now
allowing permitting forcing ourselves to take a step back to realize who calls the shots on this ordination process.
We don’t call the shots.
God calls the shots.
God calls his people regardless of their background or sexual orientation — God calls people to ministry and I’m proud that my church has made a step in the direction of truly allowing God to call people without our self-created restrictions. [Think of little David chosen for king, Moses and his murderous self, and many other heros of the bible who by our own earthy standards we probably would have passed up as leaders … God seeks the heart and sees things that we cannot.]
For those who might also be rejoicing in this decision: let us be mindful that this is not the end of the process — but only the beginning. This is not full inclusion, but, at the very least, an important step in the direction that God is moving us.In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises. Galatians 3:28-29
Let us continue to strive for unity and freedom among all of God’s children. Amen.