What an interesting sense of humor God has. As Amendment 08-B moves to defeat, I was sure that the Puerto-Rican presbyteries would deliver the coup-de-grace. But instead-- it's SAN FRANCISCO?! I think that it's time to examine all the ideas and attitudes that have been slain by this vote.
1) Conservative/Evangelical confidence in inevitability. Walking in, I think most of us assumed that rejection would be a slam dunk-- that the total would go up from 2001, and that we could assume that the PC(USA) had found a form of stasis: General Assemblies go wildly liberal, and the presbyteries stay solidly conservative. We could just wait until the liberals died off, and then it would all be over. WRONG.
2) Liberal/Progressive confidence in inevitability. This is still thrashing around, but it's throat is cut. Hegelian dialectic philosophy notwithstanding, it is impossible to look at this vote without seeing that the PC(USA) is hopelessly divided. Liberal/Progressives read the increased vote as a sign that they have almost achieved their goal of having the PC(USA) to themselves. WRONG. Next time it will not be over, even if the votes change some more. Conservative/Evangelicals will still be here-- and will still be half of this denomination.
3) The Book of Order is the means to a solution. One would think that this would already have been obvious to everyone after at least vote #3, but no. Why this dumb idea won't die is beyond me. Who thinks that we have managed to solve anything by this waste of time, other than to squander dwindling resources of public esteem, and our time, attention and treasure to prove to ourselves that those who disagree with us really do disagree? Does ANYONE actually think that anything has been accomplished, for all the blood spilled?
Let's spend some time outside of our own echo chambers, not acting like this is a football game and we are just "fans" of our side. Instead of figuring out a strategy of beating "them," why don't we find out who "they" are, and what they want? Why don't we act like we are not competing for some prize, but that we are trying to be faithful to Christ? The voting is over-- let the learning begin.