Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Living Together WIthout G-6.0106b - Response

Regarding Mr. Talylor’s Letter: A response to letters by Bagnuolo and Cullen October 1, 2007
I want to thank Mr. Taylor for his comments of 10/1 regarding my letter of late September, suggesting that we could expand the ways in which we worship and live together into a time when G-6.0106b is removed from our Constitution.

I accept Mr. Taylor’s position but do reject the suggestion that the faithful men and women I know who are working for a welcoming and inclusive PC(USA) are trying to “have our way.” We are doing our best to find ways together beyond this continuing circular saga that has plagued our church for decades. Further, I would say that were those who oppose the removal of G-6.0106b being excluded as a result of their opposition – that most of us who were gay would step up, doing our best to open the doors to welcome those sisters and brothers of ours being excluded. It has to be that way or all of this is as hollow as many suggest.

And, I do understand the suspicion Mr. Taylor referred to. Many in this struggle have long-existed in a place of mistrust, and, it is easy, very easy to lift up fears and objections that have become institutionalized in the PC(USA).

I don’t know how we can resolve those lingering sentiments, let alone identify them all. I do believe that we do not have to split and that neither of us needs to “get our way.” We need to come together and acknowledge what has long been true: the PC(USA) will continue to be a place where we have shared and will continue to share differences – and remain faithful.

Each of us can make our own historical arguments to support what once was and has since changed. It is time for us to put this next unnecessary and divisive argument about the inclusion of LGBT folk in the full work and worship of the church behind us. It is time to move on, while witnessing to the world a Christianity that embraces hospitality, if not always one another.

For me, if we are unable to do such things, then our role in this world as called Christians is greatly reduced. We cannot be satisfied, in my mind, with leaving this world the same as we found it or in more fragmented condition than when we first arrived. We are stuck here in this rut, too dangerously close to a grave. We have too much work to do together to let this continue to take our time, energy, and good will away from those in such need.

Lastly, just let me say that my “intentions” are as stated: to find ways to move beyond G-6.0106b without G-6.0106b. The suggestion that we are promoting a “promiscuous agenda” is the sort of rhetoric that has propelled us into our struggle, fueled by fear and inaccuracy. We need more language of the heart and less intentional darts to derail conversation.

The only agenda I have any support for is one that helps us come together in a loving, Christian way that leads us all closer to the God that has called us together in the PC(USA). All of us…together.

Thanks to Mr. Taylor and Mr. Collins and others who have commented.

Ray BagnuoloMinister of the Word and Sacrament, Palisades Presbyterian Church, Palisades, NY’