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I am responding to the invitation offered
in what has become known as the "Deathly Ill" letter
issued by The Fellowship PC(USA).
That the church is "deathly ill" is an issue not so black and white....
and this, in my opinion, is what seems to be the difficulty of our day...
the desire to make everything black and white.
Is this unique to our era?
Black and White.
Male and Female.
Gentile and Jew.
Free and Slave.
All of these debates
have challenged the church to her core.
"Numerical growth, financial stability, viability in our communities."
These are the first things you mention in your letter?
As a pastor I know the reality and angst of these losses
but I also know the cost involved when patiently waiting for...
and speaking with courage for...
The kind of justice Jesus taught and lived.
What does it mean to be Reformed?
Some of you who wrote this letter are old enough
to have taught me what it means to be Reformed.
I'm a child of the church.
I've continually listened through the years.
And unlike the majority of my generation I remained in the church.
I learned that being Reformed has everything to do with
and yes, some of you,
taught me to have the courage and the compassion
to live what we say we believe....
that Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Along the journey of faith
we did what other churches refused to do
and continue to refuse.
We changed our Biblical and theological claims concerning African Americans
and had courage to renounce our racist past.
We changed our Biblical and theological claims concerning Women
and had the courage to renounce our sexist past.
And here we are again.
You want us to believe that waiting and speaking for justice
for GLBT brothers and sisters
is not the same,
that this time the Bible won't budge,
won't allow light for any other perspective
than the one you all hold.
(And yes, this is really what this angst is all about.
You all have made that very, very clear.)
And yet, scholarship has been offered
just as it was in the past
shedding grace enough
and light enough
to once again
move us into the direction of justice.
You say you want the very things
people who have been long silenced want,
and yet you continue to bolster walls
designed to segregate and silence.
(Where are the women who have signed your letter?
Even after clarification they do not appear. )
I'll hold out for justice.
Others before me have.
It's in our Reformed blood to do so.
Here is my RSVP,
I'll not take you up on your invitation.
I'll wait and speak for justice
knowing all the while
it comes at a cost.