A Quiet Conversation over Lunch
While I served as a Commissioner to the Presbytery of Chicago I had began to voice opposition to their theology and actions. One of my first significant statements in this area, “Thoughts About the PCUSA: Investigating Boundaries of Division,” was publicly released in May of 2012. I have republished this paper under the title “Honoring Christ in our Relationships” on this blog site. The paper explores the theological foundations for the Presbytery’s behavior concerning continuing controversy over the PCUSA’s decision to ordain practicing homosexuals.
In it I propose the theory that it is postmodernism intersecting with Christian theology that accounts for their behavior. If you examine my early posts you will see that I describe those with whom I am contending as “Postmodern Christians.” However, due to this discussion I am now certain that it is something else with which I am contending. A description of the encounter that set me straight on this issue follows.
A senior leader in the Presbytery sat down next to me at a luncheon. I don’t recall most of the conversation, but near the end he paused and said something to the effect of “You realize that this is a Progressive Presbytery.” The entire conversation was pleasant and friendly. I think he was trying to point out that I was kidding myself if I thought that my views were going to make a difference in the Presbytery’s direction. And, he was certainly right about that.
But the real impact of this comment was to correct a misconception on my part in another area. Up to that point I had been thinking about the Presbytery’s behavior in strictly theological terms. I thus was considering the impact of postmodernism on Christian theology, resulting in the concept of postmodern Christians.
His comment made me realize that the true center of the Presbytery’s identity is political Progressivism. Yes, postmodernism played a significant role, but it was not at the center. This insight caused me to move to the concept of Progressive Christianity.
Of course, the realization that the Presbytery was driven by a secular and often godless human ideology increased my sense of alienation. I have explored this sad situation in many posts.