This Hurts (A Reader Responds)

A good friend and colleague replied to yesterday’s post about the many churches leaving the Presbyterian Church (USA). Not wanting to focus attention on himself, he replied in a private email message, but he’s given me permission to share his response here. I’m sharing it because it brought me comfort and encouragement, and I hope it will you as well.

As a brother in Christ I feel impelled to affirm you in your call to be a minister of the Gospel. Your search for truth is a proclamation of the Good News. Hear this: Who is in a position to condemn? Nelson Bell? Highland Park? ECO? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone; a new life has begun. Your search for truth, an earnest search, is not a capitulation to culture (whatever that means), but a testament to what the best Pastors have done for centuries: proclaim the Good News to the people God has given to you as your flock (emphasis mine).

Obviously the decisions that are going on in the PC (USA) right now are more complicated than that, and your own journey contains a lot more nuance, but I believe that people like you need to hear that others, outside your community, denomination, even country, are praying for you and view you as a witness to a God greater than schism. I have much more that I could say about the current controversy but I won’t because I want to affirm you basic insight – that the journey to life leads through death and is not just something we can blithely invoke without also recognizing that we experience the pain, despair, and hurt of death. While I feel your hurt, know that you are on the path to life.

Go in peace.

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