I know I'm not the only person who, when we get wrapped up in a novel loaded with suspense, skips ahead to make sure that we know how it turns out. Somehow knowing the end of the story gives us the confidence--the control?-- to be willing to negotiate the 4-G turns that get us there.
The problem with this approach in real life is that life is not a novel; the narrative is not ours; we each just have a bit part in it. But we have become so arrogant in our belief in "spin" that we really believe that we write what is by the way we "package" it.
The other day, when we were out picking up trash, I had my first face-to-face encounter with TV journalism. The reporter showed up in the TV van, and somehow I got appointed to be team spokesperson. I came up to the reporter and told him what we had found: a small homeless encampment in the woods. I asked him if he wanted to see it. Horrified, he exclaimed, "No!"
He had his piece in his head, all he was looking for was pictures and a couple of sound bytes to go with it. I tried to tell him why we were out, what we were trying to accomplish, but he kept shaking his head. He asked some question about the President, I responded, he said, "well, we have our sound byte for the day," and left. He got to talk about President Obama for 1 minute 20 seconds, and we provided the pictures. But the two actually had nothing to do with each other.
So much of the conflict over human sexuality in the church plays out on this same line. Both sides declare victory, work on their narrative story lines, spin results, push for the next step. Perhaps we have made such a hash of the PC(USA) because God keeps refusing to follow our story lines. It does not yet appear what we shall be-- God is working on us.
Maybe it's time to shut up, to start listening to each other and to God, and to see what step God would have us take next. The results can't be worse than our work so far, and they could be a lot better. "Be still, and know that I am God."