Presbyterian 2.Oh!

Congrats to Bruce Reyes-Chow, who was elected moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) on Saturday, June 21st!

Here is a great quote from Bruce at the GA:

…nothing is too hard or too wondrous for God. If the church steps out in faith rather than clinging to survival, to be more intent on being faithful than on being right, to be together based on our common covenant in Jesus Christ rather than by property or pensions, then we will be able to live into a future in which we are a vital and vibrant presence in the world.

Bruce is pastor of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco and is a prolific, insightful blogger. It looks like the banner of his blog can now read “pastor/geek/dad/follower of Christ/moderator.”

As a Presbyterian myself, it is a breath of fresh air to see the denomination move away from what can often be an insular old boys’ network and towards a different picture of what the future might be. This is more than just saying, “Let’s start using this internets I’ve been hearing about to keep those young whippersnappers inside the church” — Bruce is fully engaged in culture 2.0 and it will be interesting to see how he can help turn the ship around.

To many Presbyterians, the fact that a young, urban, Asian American church planter could become the new face of the denomination is nothing short of miraculous.

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Comments

  1. Dennis says:

    While I congratulate Bruce for his appointment, I cannot support someone who believes we should allow gay ordained pastors & gay marriages. While we must always love our wayward brothers and sisters we should never water down the true meanings of the bible. Homosexuality is a sin. Gayness is abhorrent, period. There are no exceptions in the bible. God bless.

  2. David Park says:

    just for the sake of argument dennis. you say homosexuality is a sin and imply that therefore, gay clergy and marriages should not exist. you’re assuming that this sin is worse than other non-disclosed or socially acceptable sins.

  3. Dennis says:

    Please don’t try to place words in my mouth or make assumptions that fit your argument.

    All sin is the same in God’s eyes. Sin is sin. God nor I hold that one sin is good & one is ok.
    Based on your own inference above it appears you do not believe homosexuality is a sin. You must read a different bible than the rest of us?

    But in fact your acceptance of homosexuality is in fact just that. You are trying to be, what we call, politically expedient & accepting of the sin and the person. We always want to “Love the sinner but hate the sin.” I believe you are trying to do both and God does not condone or allow that. God bless.

  4. Dennis says:

    Just a footnote to our recent conversation. As reported by the Presbyterians, over 57,000
    members have left the denomination. That alone speaks to the errant ways of the Presbyterian Church and particularly the San Francisco Presbytery which I am a member. God bless.

  5. Dennis says:

    An additional footnote: The engine driving the exodus are two issues 1) acceptance of homosexual marriage and 2) ordination of gays. God bless.

  6. David Park says:

    hey dennis, i was not trying to place words in your mouth. honestly, i was just trying to point out how problematic it is when we say a particular sin is “abhorrent,” but then reduce all sins as merely sin. the reductionism creates the problem. while you conclude that i don’t believe homosexuality is not a sin, i honestly have not taken a position. i’m trying to be fair to the tension between someone being a homosexual and judging a homosexual, particularly when so many become sexually deviant because of abuse.

    as for the decrease in membership in the PCUSA, that goes for all the mainline denominations, so you’re right, this issue of homosexuality in marriage and clergy is a divisive one, but whether or not you believe it’s wrong or right, i think we have to evaluate our posture towards people. it’s not that i don’t believe certain behaviors aren’t unhealthy, but i’m not sure that our separation from people we disagree with is conducive to the mandate for ministry and outreach. in other words, if we are called to love unconditionally (as we were reconciled to Christ without condition), then how do we establish conditions for community?

    don’t get me wrong, dennis. i’m not picking a fight. i’m just asking a question. i’m not trying to make anyone into a villain, but i just can’t throw stones anymore. even if i know someone else is living in sin. i really do trust God to breathe life into his church and his people, but i’d have to say, it’s tough to let go.

  7. daniel so says:

    David — Well said. I really thought about including this issue in the original post, but didn’t want to get bogged down in the endless debate. Much like any other political setting, complex and difficult issues get distilled into sound bytes and partisan squabbling.

    I actually disagree with Bruce’s position on this issue as well, but I am very interested to see how he approaches it. Bruce has demonstrated a great love for Christ and the Church, and it doesn’t seem like the homosexuality debate will be his central focus (although, from the looks of it, I’m sure others from both sides will try to make this *the* issue).

    The PC(USA), like most other mainline denominations, has been in a period of sustained decline — in both membership and vitality. In my opinion, Bruce has a great vision for redirecting the future of the PC(USA). And, although I might disagree with his position on some important topics, I am willing to hear him out. Scratch that — I am looking forward to seeing how he leads as moderator.

  8. david says:

    I happen to stumble upon this website, and I am pleased to note the brothers and sisters are struggling to make sense of being the Asian American Church.

    However, being conservative or Evangelical Christians, regardless of race, does not necessarily mean being faithful or loving or saved. Being liberal does not mean being correct either.

    The Bible says this, the Bible says that. It is the authority of the Bible that gives substance to the arguments against homosexuality. But why should the homosexuality the favorite subject that is faithfully enforced, when there are other sins we overlook, or even bless? Yes, co-habitation and divorce, among other things. When was the last time that divorced couple was refused marriage? When was the last time divorced couples were accused of committing sin, when they married in a church? Do I commit sin, if I attend the wedding of divorced couple? Wouldn’t you rather bless the couple and their children to have a happy, loving life together?

    Somehow, when it comes to the heterosexual practices, there is a lot of lattitude and forgiveness and acceptance and blessings, but only the homosexual issues get the special treatment. Why is it acceptable for sane people to enforce the authority of the Bible selectively?

    Shouldn’t the practice be called a prejudice? Here is what Paul says about observing the law: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things wrritten in the book of the law, and do them (Gal. 3:10).” If one chooses to stick to what the Bible says, one has to keep all the law, and one is also obligated to stone the “abomonation.”

    I have not seen any one actually doing that. Maybe they do not want to go to jail? If then, they respect the threat of the secular law more than the law in the Bible? It sounds like to me that the selective enforcement of what the Bible says is not the sign of faith, but rather that of prejudice. Ask Paul why he thought the Gentiles did not have to observe alll things that are detailed in the Old Testament. Wouldn’t that indicate the authority of the Bible was exempt for the Gentiles?

    I think it is the task of the modern Christians to interpret the Bible in the way that it is inclusive and upbuilding. As long as we brazenly practice selective enforcement of the law in the Bible, we are practicing hypocrisy. There are many things in the Bible we ignore, although they are prohibited from doing, based on many reasonings and excuses. A Christian may believe that he or she is saved, because he does not commit the homosexual sin, but at the same time, may commit other things prohibited in the Bible. I am not going to list them all here.

    But I ask this: why would God condemn homosexuals, when they are born that way? God made male and female, but God also made heterosexuals and homosexuals, as I see. Do we condemn them, because we believe that they intentionally “chose” to be homosexual? Why would some one choose to be in the group that is condemned and hated by the rest? Is the “choice” of the homosexuality that rewarding?

    I wonder.

  9. I agree with both Davids– we need to be consistent when approaching such a difficult issue. I feel that much division is caused because evangelicals hold to a double standard when it comes to homosexuality.

    It seems like we’ve (and I include myself in this) been so quick to condemn homosexuality but we do not come down nearly as hard on fornication or divorce, for example.

    Often we condemn those in the GLBT community, accusing them of living lives of promiscuity, or not holding biblical ideals of family values. But are we holding that standard to our heterosexual friends and family?

    Yes, we need to set the bar high. But as Ken Fong recently said, “we need to realize that not many meet it.”

  10. Reyes-Chow says:

    Whoda thunk a congratulatory post could turn into this 😉 I actually think one of the reasons that the PC(USA) and other churches are not growing – if we think this is the only measure of health – is our failure to recognize that we do need to shift and adapt to culture while remaining within the law. What that law is, is ultimately the debate and possibly our undoing.

  11. djchuang says:

    I just found out Bruce’s mother is both a blogger and a pastor ! http://www.reyesgibbs.com/

    Can you guess which I’m more excited about? 🙂

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