For those who think that nothing has changed for Presbyterian pastors and sessions since the Presbyterian Church (USA) began allowing for same sex weddings, think again. Scrolling through the lead on virtually every page of The Presbyterian Outlook website reveals a thorough transition.
The home page on 7/16 features “The Gift of a Wedding” by Stephen McKinney-Whitaker. The post begins, “I recently officiated a wedding of two women, Jessica and Kirsten.” Further down the home page you can read, “Practicing the scales of love: Rethinking Christian marriage,” wherein the writer reveals her rejection of divine inspiration of the Bible when she says, “The truth is, no biblical writer could have ever imagined marriage the way we understand it now — an egalitarian commitment between two people who love each other and depend on one another for romance, sexual fulfillment, mutual support and happiness.” Now almost off the page with its July 7 posting date is Leslie Scanlon’s research based piece of journalism, “A new normal for Presbyterian weddings.” The piece is illuminating about what marriage has become from the viewpoint and practice of those interviewed. Notably, no one who is doing weddings exclusively “the old fashioned way” (between a committed Christian man and woman) is interviewed.
Over on the Outpost blog page of the site you can read through a litany of personal reflections by PCUSA teaching elders sharing their theology and practice of performing weddings. The “institution” is minimalized, God is optionalized, there are references to unicorns, luck, and hope but nothing about how the Confessions are guiding these people in their interpretation of the scriptures of the Old and New Testament being brought to bear in the lives of couples entering into holy matrimony.
This is not a criticism of The Outlook nor their contributors. I’m seeking to make an observation about the state of things.
In February I raised concerns about the trajectory of the denomination’s official publication, Presbyterians Today. Recently, they launched a blog site called “Reimagining the Church.” (Yes, I wondered aloud when I learned of it whether they had a conscious memory of the pagan celebration “Reimagining” conference in 1993. If they did not know, why not, and if they did know then the new site is a conscious choice.) On the blog site you can read disparaging remarks about traditional marriage and those whose interpretation of the scriptures lead them to consciously object to same sex marriage. But you can read equally disparaging remarks about “white folks.” The site is an equal opportunity platform for those with “subversive” ideas.
My takeaway? Those within the PCUSA who continue to espouse and seek to honor sincerely held religious convictions about human sexuality and marriage the are informed by and aligned with the Reformed theology of our Confessions, are now “out.” (A recent article by Princeton Theological Seminary President Craig Barnes makes my point, in case I failed to.)
If your session shares the concerns raised here, you might find this resource helpful.