I am convinced that the personal and private instruction of Christ has impact on public ministry, not the other way around. We can't play by the Lord's rules in the closet of prayer, and go out and play by the world's rules and expect either individually or collectively to grow.
But playing by Christ's rules in the public sphere is not a recipe for respect or for success; to love one's enemies is considered treason. To turn the other cheek looks like playing the patsy. To hang from the cross and forgive your crucifiers is lunacy. But isn't each of these a commandment, in word and in deed, from Jesus?
I have sitting in front of me an invitation to sign my name to Harry Hassall's ad in the Presbyterian Outlook supporting the fidelity and chastity amendment (G-6:106b to those poised beside the Book of Order). Sign me up; it's in the mail, Harry.
And Tuesday, I'm meeting with the Presbytery Life Committee in Grace Presbytery (think meeting planners) to join a pastor from the more liberal side of things in suggesting that Grace simply take no action on the amendment 08B (if I have to explain this to you, it takes too long). A "no action" vote will still count as a "no," but it will possibly enable us to not spend a whole meeting throwing the same rocks at each other.
Some will say that these two positions are contradictory; but I would say that they are both faithful uses of the power of the office to which I am called. The first is declarative; it is important to publicly stand for Biblical truth. The second is ministerial; I am not here to help the PC(USA) destroy itself. I can stand for truth without having to hate or fear those who oppose that truth, and this presbytery must find a way to cohere at this point in its life. As a servant of the church, I need to be part of that glue. If anybody is reading, fire away.