Back in August of 2006 I created the blog “Eyes Right” as a Christian team blog where I (and others) could share posts related to Christianity and our walks of faith. Since that time, I’ve generally shared posts focused on religious, spiritual, and specifically Christian topics there rather than here on my main blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity.” This decision followed a post here in which I shared my personal testimony of faith, which remains linked in the right sidebar of this blog. The reason for this separation of blog posts by topic is definitely NOT a lack of desire on my part to publicly profess and share my faith, but rather my sense that most readers of my main blog “are coming” not to read and learn about issues of faith but rather topics more closely related to learning, educational technology, leadership in 21st century schools, etc. With that ongoing understanding in mind, I’ll make this post brief.

As you may know as a reader of my blog, I am a Christian and a Presbyterian. The recent passage of “Amendment 10-A” by Presbyteries of the PCUCA denomination represents a significant change in the historic doctrine of the Presbyterian Church. The 11 May 2011 CNN article, “Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to allow gay and lesbian clergy,” highlights some of the events and actions which led to Amendment 10-A. This chapter in our denominational history represents and reflects a continuation of a broad cultural war which continues to be promulgated on many fronts. In this post I want to principally commend to and amplify for you two posts written by Dr. Mateen Elass, author of “Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide to the Muslim Holy Book” and pastor of our Presbyterian church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Mateen’s two most recent blog posts, “Historic moments, Part 1” from May 14th and “Historic Moments, Part 2” from May 15th express multiple perspectives in response to the Amendment 10-A passage which deserve careful consideration. In the second post, Mateen attempts to put the ‘historic significance’ of this action in statistical perspective considering the numbers of professing Christians worldwide. He writes:

The PCUSA has joined 3 other American denominations (the UCC, Episcopal Church, and ELCA) in embracing homosexuality as a lifestyle blessed by God. Rounding upwards generously, this group represents a maximum of 10 million people. Estimates place the worldwide Christian population at roughly 2.1 billion people. There are no other major denominations or Christian movements worldwide which support the ordination of practicing homosexuals, but let’s add another 5 million to cover liberal, post-Christian Protestant Europe. That means that with our recent vote, the PCUSA has moved from siding in this matter with 99.8% of the institutional church on earth to that representing 0.2%. I’d say that qualifies as a momentous change and historic moment for the PCUSA, but it hardly registers on the scale statistically for the worldwide church. Even if you lump all 2 million Presbyterians in the pro-homosexual ordination category (which is obviously not the case), we account for less than a one tenth of one percent shift of view in the worldwide Church on this matter. Hardly historic.

While this decision of Presbyterian denominational leaders may not be statistically significant on a global scale, it certainly is (as Mateen points out) for our denomination. Jesus’ commandments to love the sinner but to hate sin are clear. We live in a world which, however, increasingly places the values of tolerance and moral relativism on a transcendent altar of worship. The definition and even existence of “sin” is contested and rejected by many. I share Mateen’s perspectives and passion in his May 14th post, in which he wrote:

My prayer is not for unity with a culturally syncretistic leadership, but that God will gather all orthodox, evangelical Presbyterians together to pool our resources and use them to forward the great ends of the church, rather than support a bureaucracy and system which has been manipulated regularly to blindly underwrite a post-Christian cultural agenda. I’m not sure exactly what such a gathering would look like, but I hope to find out. I’m not interested in leaving the PC(USA); I’m interested in our taking back the city, and instituting sweeping changes.

The culture wars of the 21st century continue, and the battle lines have been drawn across my front yard. Don’t worry, I’m not going to use “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” as my principal media channel for writing about this and other topics relevant to the Christian faith. The separate “Eyes Right” blog will continue for that purpose. I do want to share with and recommend to you Mateen’s posts, however, and observe that the passage of Amendment 10-A does not represent my beliefs or views as a Presbyterian.

Just in case you were wondering.

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  • http://twitter.com/MrKleinTeaches Alex Klein

     I’m sorry you don’t agree with this move by the PCUSA.  That is your choice.  The choice I am making today is to unsubscribe from your blog.

    The choice none of us have is to decide what sexuality we are born.

  • Tspringer

    Thank you, Wes.  Stay strong in your belief.  Proud to see this post. 

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    I recognize your right to such a view, but I am disappointed that you would support a stance that opposes allowing the same rights and freedoms to homosexuals as to other people.

    As you know, from my perspective in Canada, I am writing from a society in which homosexuality is completely legal, in which homosexuals are granted protections in the Charter of Rights, have the right to marry, and are recognized by many churches, including the United Church and the Anglican church of Canada.

    The suggestion that discrimination against homosexuals is essentially ‘Christian’ is one that ought to be examined, and in my view, ultimately rejected. The a form of Christianity that seems to me to accord more with Biblical writings and the teachings of Jesus is the form of Christianity that focuses on loving your neighbour, refraining from judgement, and equality before the eyes of the Lord.

    Just my view. I wish your denomination the best in its deliberations.

  • Mark Powell

    You’re right in your first paragraph.  I don’t care what your narrow-minded views on diversity are — they have nothing to do with technology and don’t belong in this blog.  Please keep them to yourself and get back to your excellent posts on technology and education.

  • http://wfryer.wpengine.com Wesley Fryer

    Stephen: The issue here isn’t the right or legality for someone to be openly homosexual, it is the ordination of pastors within the Presbyterian denomination and whether the denomination should have vows pertaining to fidelity and monogamy. That language has been removed by Amendment 10-A.

    I thoroughly agree homosexuals should not be discriminated against, and should be granted both legally and in fact the same protections as all other citizens. Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors should be legally opposed. So please don’t understand my position as one against providing and protecting the rights of homosexuals as citizens.

    The issue here is ordination standards for pastors who lead congregations. I think those should be maintained.

    Your observations about the importance of Christians loving our neighbors and not judging others are correct and spot on. Too often we see Christians (and perhaps are Christians) who adopt attitudes of arrogance and even hate in the name of values. I believe God does not call us to hate anyone, but he does call us to hate sin. While we are called to love everyone, we are not called to love all behavior. The ability to discern sin is vital for Christians. So this is likely the big stumbling block here: What is sin, and does a person’s choice to live outside the boundaries of chastity in singleness or monogamy in marriage constitute sin?

    Perhaps I am stirring the pot more than is needed here, but I remain ever open to carefully listening to the perspectives and ideas of others and learning. I certainly do not have all the answers and will not pretend to. I appreciate your comment and hope these responses provide some additional clarification on my own perspectives.

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    >  whether the denomination should have vows pertaining to fidelity and monogamy.

    I’m sure I can’t be the only one to notice that homosexuals can take vows pertaining to fidelity and monogamy.That’s what they do when they get married.

  • regular reader

    Love the bigot, hate the bigotry.
    Isn’t that equal to love the sinner, hate the sin?

  • GC

    You’ve lost a long-term reader….I’ve enjoyed & learnt a lot from your blog on technology. It was a shock to see your anti-gay stance in a technology blog. You’ve tried to clarify your views further in comments below – but why not amend your original post – put it up front – show that you are not anti-gay in a visible way.

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