As you have probably already read elsewhere, the PUP report passed, as amended by the Ecclesiology Committee, with all its recommendations intact -- including controversial recommendation #5. The vote was 298 for, 221 against. Not exactly a show of unity, but in the PCUSA the majority rules.
PUP Reactions from Presbybloggers so far today:
Michael Kruse believes that what once were constitutional mandates are now optional if a presbytery or session believes they are not an "essential tenet" of the Reformed Faith--and notes that the PCUSA has never defined essential tenets. Tracey Johnson agrees with him, saying it throws us into a "chaos of disunity" and adds that the report should be called the "Pieces, Unitarian and Plurality" report.
Andy Moye gives a detailed account of the debate, which he attended, and concludes that there are just too many "if's" to worry about. He sounds really tired and I would be, too. Will Spotts thinks the action is a fluke.
Denis Hancock doesn't think it will be "the tectonic shift that some think", and believes the amendment in committee helped clarify that. But he also says it remains to be seen how recommendation #5 will be applied in practice. This morning Beau Weston had a post predicting the passage of PUP and analyzing what he saw as the missteps of those opposing it. He gets the Prophetic Voice award for today.
As for me, I really regret the acceptance of recommendation #5. Even though the committee amended it in an attempt to assure opponents that it was not an invitation to "local option" on the ordination of gays in violation of 6.106b, I think that those who saw the original recommendation as local option will not be dissuaded by the new language. Then we will see whether the constitution will be enforced. Don't bet on it. In recent years, churches, presbyteries and synods have found ways to interpret the plain language of the BOO to suit their own purposes. For example, in the past year the Presbytery of Redwoods ruled that a minister who presided over same-sex weddings did not violate the Reformed understanding of marriage. So what's to stop them from ordaining non-celibate homosexual candidates saying that they have a "scruple" against the fidelity and chastity standards of the BOO?
In short, I think this compromise will not work because the denomination does not have the will to define its essential tenents and enforce them. Mission Presbytery is having trouble insisting on the fundamental premise that membership requires a profession of faith in God. That's even more foundational to faith than ordination standards, for heaven's sake!
Well, it's almost time to go back to the evening's plenary session. On a lighter note, you can join me and my blogging buddy Reverendmother for a little drinking game during tonight's Presbyfest. Take a swig every time you hear one of the following:
A new way to be the church
We need to trust each other
XYZ will leave the church if...
A folksy anecdote from a commissioner
A commissioner asks for clarification of what they're voting on
commissioners, you have been advised
How diverse the Task Force was
A YAD with a Valley Girl accent
Reverendmother and I recommend margaritas. But if you're like my husband, El Jefe (whose dire prediction was that if PUP rec.#5 passed, the commissioners should just pass around the hemlock)--I recommend taking your hemlock frozen, with lime and salt. And have a piece of Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake for the Apocalypse to go with it. Pass your plate!