Welcome back Pastor Paul!!
What a storm has taken place since I went out of town. Wow. The protests of the last week over Abortion and our support of Israel were front and center in conversations, classes, and today’s News and Guide. I felt the letters to the editor illuminated a cross section of feelings within the community, the injuries that were done, the processes that were followed, and the support by some of the message but not the method. I have to affirm that I agree with people’s rights to free speech and am disappointed that the methods used were in any way associated with faith in Jesus Christ. As has happened so frequently within history, people have hijacked faith as a way of promoting their political agenda.
In light of these events there are some things I would like you to know. Here they are:
1. My sermon on June 5 will focus in on “Problems and How Presbyterian Christians Address and Work to Resolve Them.”
2. Abortion. The Presbyterian Church (USA) for almost 4 decades has taken a Pro-Choice stance as a denomination. In this stance they are very clear:
a. Abortion is not an appropriate means of birth control. However, there are times when abortion can be a morally acceptable decision for a women and man: when it is determined that there will be severe deformity to a fetus; when there is threat of death to the mother and/or child; rape; incest;
b. That having been said, women will and do make choices as to what takes place within their bodies;
c. It is important to have an environment where those choices can be made with healthy dialogue and information rather than in secrecy that often leads to injury and dysfunction;
I wrote a sermon on this topic in 1991. My personal and pastoral position has remained pretty constant since then. If anyone would like a copy of that sermon I would be glad to make one available or, if the demand is great, present it in a class or as a Sunday sermon.
d. Among the earliest Christians the type of protest we saw this weekend was not an option. In general, prior to Constantine establishing Christianity as the state religion in 312 CE, Christians were the focus of the protests and such protests often led to their imprisonment and execution. In regards to children, children were seen within that culture as property and if a family (let’s emphasize here the father in that family) did not want a child they would place it outside the city gate where it was illegal for anyone but the birth parents to reclaim it. Often the baby would be killed by exposure or by rabid animals. The early Christians were known for rescuing those children at risk of their lives for breaking the law and certainly risk of their livelihood to raise those children.
3. My 9 AM class on May 29 will focus on a Presbyterian’s understanding of the relationship between Christians and Israel.
Blessing to you all,