After reading this post from Viola Larson, and an interesting conversation at lunch with my evangelical brothers in the PC(USA), I am left with the same question I've been asking for almost 4 years now. How do we (pastors in the denomination) go forward?
I have stuck my neck out, and tried to reach across the aisle to promote a "no action" vote on 08-B, which my evangelical brothers have graciously received by handing me my head. It seems that reaching across the aisle propels one out of one's seat on this side. I asked them the same question, and I got back a variant of this Long Island pastor's answer: "...Personally, I will stay in the PCUSA and pastor my flock as I fulfill my call - not to be faithful but because I have not found a way out yet. But should God ever open the door to a call away from the PCUSA, I will be gone in a heartbeat; shaking the dust from my shoes as a testimony...even if I have to wait until honorable retirement to do so..."
Being a minority is hard on the soul. I see it all around me in the community I live in, one of the few places in the USA where African-Americans have majority status. The privations of the southern part of Dallas are perceived to be entirely the work of "them," the rich white majority north of the Trinity; but the desire to separate is on both sides of the river. Separation is the last defense of any minority; it is a way to survive the crushing forces of conformity to the majority. Minority cultures can survive no other way.
This is why OCPC is such a strange and wonderful community. We are all refugees from our cultures of origin: to come here and be part of this family, everyone has to leave home. And yet, the relationships that bind us, first to Christ and then to one another, make this place in no man's land home, too. It was home when white flight emptied the neighborhood of good "Presbyterian" families; it was home when busing scarred the lives of young people who went to school knowing that they were not wanted. It was home as it changed from an Anglo congregation where African-Americans were welcome to a more integrated congregation with a lot of people for whom the word "church" did not engender warm memories of being welcome.
I live as a minority now; our family is one of 3 Anglo families in our neighborhood. So how do we live as a minority, my evangelical brothers and sisters who are reading this? I made a suggestion of what to do with 08-B that might open some lines of communication. You didn't like it. What's your idea?
We cannot stay and leave at the same time.