Friday, October 21, 2005

Why the PCUSA is in trouble 2

The PCUSA is in trouble. Part of the problem is we elevate pastors. The PCUSA talks about the priesthood of all believers, then limits ministers to those who have survived ceminary, a place to kill your faith. The temptation is to fall into the Catholic trap of: "If you are religious, you should become a religious." Instead, we should realize God has sent each of us to be part of a body, where we should listen to each other, to hear what God would have us do.

Being a smart, well educated elder (who is humble too), who Knows God, who hears Him, I see what is missing in so many 's faith. They may have heard about Jesus, and as pastors know a great deal about Him, but they don't know Him (going to presbytery meetings will either kill your faith, or make it stronger).

I am going through a very hard time. My father is in the hospital, after breaking three vertebrae in his spinal cord. I have a son threatening suicide. I face impossible financial problems. Without God, it would be impossible. I know He is with me. I am not alone. It makes a world of difference. Being part of a body, where I can go to my pastor; be anointed with oil and prayed for, to share the pain, to know others pray with me, is essential. But my faith is not just knowing God provides for me, but learning what He teaches in this pain. To marvel at how the refiners fire burns away the dross of life, that keeps me from being totally present in Him. As He empties me, I can be filled.

Knowing the Word is crucial. One of my favorite stories is Elijah going to Zarephath, (1st Kings 17:7-24) where the widow awaits with her last flour and oil. Compared to Elijah, I am so well off, I have nothing to complain about. If I didn't know the Word, I would miss this story's blessing. How many lay people truly know the Word? How many have it in their hearts, where God can speak to them through His Word? No matter how big or small the church, are all being discipled for service?

I found a copy of the PCUSA Bible test for ordination online on Steve Whitney's blog
Without studying, took the 2004 & 2005 tests, scored 82%, I'm weak on the Psalms and wisdom writings. Now I know what I need to read. How many elders would pass? How many know what they don't know? The greatest blessing for all of us. To know what we don't know. The blessing Jesus gave the rich young ruler, who didn't appreciate it at the time, but may have later.

Should we test elders on Biblical knowledge, to make sure they at least know if Job is in the old or new testament?

Yet it isn't just book knowledge, how do we know if elders know God? We can ask them, but how do we know? How do they know? God asks: "Do you know?"

Do You Know?

Do you know
I love you?
Do you know
I care?
Do you know
I seek
your greatest

Do you see Me?
Do you hear Me?
Do you feel My
tender touch?
Don’t think
to find Me
in rules
or commandments.

You don’t find Me
with your intellect.
You don’t find Me
in your feelings.
You find Me
when you know
My great love
for you.

You find Me
when you open
to Me.
You find Me
when you come
as prodigal
to share My joyful feast
©Presbypoet, October 20, 2002


Blogger Classical Presbyterian said...

Thanks for your poetry in these contentious times. Your're taking something right out of David's playbook---the Psalms as faithful lament.

I'll keep reading.


Blogger Bookworm said...

It seems as if life is heaping many burdens on you right now, and yet you respond with a resiliant and unimpaired faith. That's quite admirable. I send you my best wishes. Also, I wanted to let you know that I added you to my blogroll. I actually thought a bit about it, since mine is not a religious blog, although I occasionally touch upon moral issues. However, the insights you add to my blog are always so interesting and thoughtful, that I thought it was very appropriate to direct others to your blog.

Take care and I hope things improve. I know your father, at 89, is inevitably at the end of his journey, but I hope your son is able to recognize that he's at the beginning, and not to give in to despair.

Blogger PresbyPoet said...

Thank you for the compliment. I try to speak truth. Sometimes with too much passion, yet aspiring to be a warrior poet, welding the sword of truth.

You are welcome here. I know God honors the honest seeker after wisdom. He likes to hide in plain sight. He also honors honest prodigals, coming knowing they have nothing. They are the ones most blest.

In this time of pain, I just spent two hours with my brother trying to wrestle with just how to help our father. He may well outlive us. He has already buried one son, the one closest to God, who could make any musical instrument a voice of joy. He was our baby brother, dead too soon before he saw 50 years.

Pain either drives you close to God, or sends you fleeing far. The first poem came direct from pain and guilt. Now they just pour out. God has given me this wonderful gift of poetry. I have a book of poems he has given me. This blog just contains a few, there are hundreds more. Just now your words, sent me to poems on hope. I will post one next.


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