Presbyterian Church USA Votes for Justice & Equality

In a vote yesterday evening the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) took a decisive step toward adopting an amendment to its governing Book of Order, effectively dropping the church's ban on the ordination of non-celibate gay clergy. This makes it the fourth mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the US to do so, the others being The Episcopal Church (TEC), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and The United Church of Christ (UCC).

From their official statement:
This year, the conversation has focused on Amendment 10-A that was passed by the 219th General Assembly (2010) and sent to presbyteries for approval. While we wait for official tallies, it appears that 87 presbyteries will approve 10-A during the week of May 9, which is the majority required for approval.

If this becomes official, the new language outlining the gifts and requirements for ordained service will say the following:

Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

This decision begins with an unequivocal affirmation that ordained office will continue to be rooted in each deacon, elder, and minister’s “joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”

This action also has important effects on our life together as a church, namely:

  • in keeping with our historic principles of church order, each session and presbytery will continue to determine the suitability of individuals seeking ordination within its bounds.
  • persons in a same-gender relationship may be considered for ordination and/or installation as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament within the PC(USA); and
  • all other churchwide standards for ordination remain unchanged.
The entire statement is available online.

Reaction from More Light Presbyterians, a group within the church which has advocated for full inclusion of LGBT members in the life of the church and in ordination:
Dear friends,

Grace and peace. We give thanks to God that the 219th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 10-A was ratified tonight as Twin Cities was the 87th presbytery to approve it by 205 to 56 with 3 abstentions.

Tonight Presbyterians join the United Church of Christ, the Episcopalian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as denominations who have eliminated official barriers to full membership, leadership and service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This is indeed a historic moment in the life of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but also in the worldwide Christian communion.

More Light Presbyterians have been working for justice and equality since 1974 when the Rev. David Sindt became the first openly gay minister in our Church. "I am so grateful for the sacrificial effort of so many people over these years to bring this deeply Reformed correction to an error made by the Church. Both during these months as the presbyteries have voted and for the last 37 years, you have courageously and steadfastly given of yourselves in a host of ways to bring our Church to this moment. Every bit of your energy, intelligence, imagination and love was needed to come to this new day. I am grateful to God for the privilege of being part of this witnessing community," said the Rev. Janet Edwards, Co-Moderator.

"My heart is full as I think of all of those children of God who were hurt, who persevered, who left, who stayed and who worked so hard to make the Presbyterian Church (USA) truly reflect the wildly inclusive love of Jesus Christ—too many to name. Now, candidates for office within the PC(USA) will be evaluated based upon their love of Jesus Christ, the wholeness of their lives, their call to ministry and the gifts they bring," said Trice Gibbons, Co-Moderator.


Hat-haters Gonna Hate (a letter to HRH Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York)

Your Royal Highness -

In recent days i have been appalled by the license with which hatless haters are ridiculing the awesome chapeau you were proudly sporting for the marriage of HRH the Duke of Cambridge to his lovely bride.

It is my fond hope that you persist in joyfully sailing above the critics and that you continue to inspire & astound your admirers with your millinery magnificence.

i look forward to many years of viewing your terrific toppers.

Sincerely (and i MEAN sincerely),

An admiring American of British descent.

And an aside to the haters - in a world that is so often drab and lacking in harmless audacity, may you find yourselves at least a little more open to the surprising and imaginative. Especially when exhibited by someone who is subject to public criticism every time they show their face in public.

It's not like the Princess is wearing her jeans halfway off her royal fundament or something equally ridiculous.

And since i am a crass American - suck it, haters!!!


Ayn Rand Movie Fails in Free Market

i just love seeing a headline like that. Here's the link if you're interested.

After only reaching 14th in box office receipts for its first weekend, it dropped 47% in its second. That, despite showing in 166 more theaters nationwide. Production budget was $20 million, and so far it's grossed just slightly over $3 million.

Despite the poor showing, at least the figures aren't as ugly as Ayn Rand's mug.


Endangered Species: Republicans with Morals

From ThinkProgress:
On MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews today, former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), co-chair of President Obama’s debt commission, railed against the social conservatives in the Republican party. He admonished male legislators for voting on abortion issues and “homophobes” like Rick Santorum who say “cruel, cruel things” about gays and lesbians:
SIMPSON: Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign that says, “Have an abortion! They’re wonderful!” They’re hideous, but they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.

Then you’ve got homosexuality, you’ve got Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We have homophobes on our party. That’s disgusting to me. We’re all human beings. We’re all God’s children. Now if they’re going to get off on that stuff—Santorum has said some cruel things—cruel, cruel things—about homosexuals. Ask him about it; see if he attributes the cruelness of his remarks years ago. Foul.

Now if that’s the kind of guys that are going to be on my ticket, you know, it makes you sort out hard what Reagan said, you know, “Stick with your folks.” But, I’m not sticking with people who are homophobic, anti-women, moral values—while you’re diddling your secretary while you’re giving a speech on moral values? Come on, get off of it.
Watch the video.


A Primer of Pittburghese

Every locale has its colloquialisms, odd turns of phrase, accents and dialects. Where i grew up, about a 45 minute drive from Pittsburgh (Pixburgh), is no exception. Here are some of the ones i still recall:

Yinz, used for plural of "you". I always have assumed it's a version of "you-uns".

Using an "S" in place of the word "East". For example, Pittsburghers (Burghers) will refer to the area named "East Liberty" as "S'liberty." (If Anton's Deli is still in S'liberty, be sure to get a fish sandwich, some mac'n'cheese, and greens. Mmmmm, mmm!)

The "ow" sound is also replaced with an "ah" sound. So instead of saying "town" it sounds like "tahn". So, downtown would be dahntahn...

"Jaggin'" is used for "joking" or "irritating". Example, Stop jaggin' me! or Stop jaggin' around!

Also the word "Jag" can be used to replace "Jack" or "Jerk". Such as... You're a jag off! or He's a jag ass!

Burghers have never met an infinitive that they couldn't drop. "My car needs to be washed" is usually "My car needs washed."

"Anat" is used to replace the words "and that".

The "r" sound is added in words where there is no "r". Example... I need to "warsh" clothes today. We should "warsh" our cars today. The White House is in "Warsh"ington D.C.

"Da" is almost always used to replace "the".

"Did" and "you" are combined when speaking into "didya" or the plural form "didyinz". "Didyinz" go dahntahn?"

"J'eet yet?" means "Did you eat yet?"

Rubber bands are called "gumbands".

When my mother wanted me to clean my room, she'd tell me to "Redd up" my room.

Kennywood Park is the largest amusement park in Western Pennsylvania. However, the phrase "Kennywood's open!" means that your zipper is down.

Bologna is called "Jumbo".

Underwear is called "Gutchies". (i still call underwear gutchies, LOL)

A creek is called a "crick".

Spaghetti is called "Sketti".

Older folks might call a brown paper bag a "poke".