“So here I am, still on a journey, still in the church. There were (and are) times when the institution deeply frustrated and alarmed me. However, I chose not to leave, because the church was part of my culture. I think one rejects this at one’s peril—you risk losing your identity. I observe this loss of identity in many… and it deeply concerns me.”—Ian O’Reilly
Read about the Parliament of the World’s Religions – Salt Lake City 2015 http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/
See the latest from the Charter for Compassion on Compassionate Communities http://progressivespirituality.co.nz/interfaith-compassion-community/
Sign the Charter: https://charterforcompassion.org/the-charter
From Kotukutuku in Spring blog:
The current situation is one where there is space for only one point of view.
…I’m glad that there is a desire to do things differently… But I wish a dramatic stand had been taken before Assembly. Or I wish that a symbolic action, a disruption, could have happened without walking out. I think only a different sort of conversation will help us move forward, but it needs to happen alongside Assembly processes, because that is where decisions are made. For a diversity of views to be respected, General Assembly will need to vote to change the rules.
Rob reminds us (after Edward Hayes) to associate with the hopeful.
From Doug Burtenshaw, Convenor, UCA Lay Preachers Association, WA:
Below is a YouTube link which is from a well regarded voice in the sexuality debate.
Now available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHN7v54bGzQ
“The recent rise of religious images in political conflict around the globe has led to a surprising religiophobia, as if religion itself were inherently violent. To this simplistic point of view, Karen Armstrong has written an elegant and powerful response. “Fields of Blood” is not just a defense of religion, but also an exploration of the relation between religion and the history of violence over the centuries. It is a book both erudite and accurate, dazzling in its breadth of knowledge and historical detail. Though it does not give all of the answers to the curious relationship between religion and violence, it sets us on the right path.
“Armstrong begins with the obvious truth that religion doesn’t do anything by itself. It’s not a thing but simply a dimension of human experience.”
“…we have not, will not, and cannot turn sexual minorities away. We will continue to welcome all people into our community, including all who are called into leadership, all who wish to be baptised, and all who wish to be married.”
From An Open Letter to the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, on behalf of the Parish Council of the Community of St Luke, Remuera:
“The decisions taken by General Assembly 2014 are deeply offensive to sexual minorities, deeply offensive to all those who are the parents, grandparents, partners, children, grandchildren, and Christian brothers and sisters of sexual minorities, and deeply offensive to all who believe on the basis of sound scholarship and experience that sexual diversity is a given to be accepted, welcomed and celebrated.
“The decision of General Assembly concerning marriage is also contrary to the clear tradition of Presbyterianism regarding Liberty of Conscience, the clear guidance of our Doctrine Core Group, and the clear wishes of our elected national leaders, namely the Moderator and Moderator-Designate.”
Here’s our Moderator, Andrew Norton’s, take on what went on regarding the ‘debate’ on sexuality, leadership and marriage:
“Concerning our ongoing debate on sexuality related issues, General Assembly decided that ministers may conduct marriage only between a man and woman. A new rule, effective immediately, has been added to the Book of Order to further clarify the decision: “a minister may solemnise marriage only between a man and woman”.
Yet at the same time we witnessed another significant divide in the church. During the debate a significant proportion of the commissioners chose, as an act of silent protest, to surrender their votes and leave the debating chamber.
30% of commissioners chose not to vote. These people – from a range of theological positions – view the ongoing debate on sexuality as an act of division and one in which they no longer want to participate.
In spite of this, the Assembly chose to continue with the debate which resulted in adopting the regulation. While the Church has been very clear over the past years on its view on matters of leadership and sexuality and the nature of marriage, our Church is now further divided on our need to become legislative which will inevitability move this debate from conversation into the disciplinary courts of the Church.
The current piece of regulation goes to the Church for further discussion over the next two years to become ratified at our next General Assembly. While I urge the church to abide by and respect the decision of Assembly, I encourage you to also seek further opportunities to engage in conversation about what kind of church we want to become in the future. How will we choose to live together in the love of Christ? How will we choose to use power through our voting system that continues to marginalise many with our own family and wider community?”