Saturday, November 25, 2006
I have been lurking and posting the occasional "Yes!" "No!" to a discussion on evangelicalism on MadPriest's blog. (Note the "al", evangelicalism.) And it has got me thinking about labels.
I submit the following labels to you:
Pro-GLBT rights (including ordination to all offices of the church)
I would submit to you that if I were to disclose one tenth of the ways in which I frankly label myself in private (not to mention some of the ways I decline to label myself even here) I would not stand a shot in hell of getting a call to a church in my denomination (Mother and Presbyterian are the safest; it all goes downhill from there).
All that said, I have forged good working relations with many of the folks in my judicatory who find themselves at the other end of the spectrum theologically. Recently I was speaking with a woman pastor whom I was urging to join a particular committee, possibly as chair. She is strongly evangelical, and she indicated to me that "certain folks" might not want her in that position because of it. I was torn. I told her the truth, which is that I trust her, even though I know we're not in sync in many of our positions. She smiled and said, "I trust you, too."
At the risk of sounding holier than thou, I am troubled by the labels and how limiting they are. "I am with Apollos." "I am with Paul." (In my case, I am with John Buchanan and Barbara Wheeler.) And I am, unapologetically, with these folks. One Presbyterian leader with whom I got to rub elbows at GA 213 said, "It's coming. It's just a matter of time. It can't be stopped." "It" being full inclusion of GLBT folks. If the gospel is a call to greater and greater freedom, I affirm this wholeheartedly: it's coming. Nothing can stop what God has set in motion. But how do we work together in the mean time?