PresbyMEME: Why I am voting yes on Amendment 10A

Update 5/19/2011 at 9 p.m.: The vote tonight was 51 votes in favor of Amendment 10A and 131 against 10A; so it lost in Los Ranchos. It was approved by the 87 presbyteries necessary just 2 days after my post; so Los Ranchos didn't affect the fact that it will be the new wording after this year. I was not surprised that it lost in Los Ranchos. I was grateful to see 15 more people vote for 10A than voted for the equivalent measure 2 years ago. God is at work among us!

Original post:

In November, a meme was started by Bruce Reyes-Chow for those of us in support of 10A to post on “Why I am voting yes on Amendment 10a”. He added that those of us with no vote in our presbyteries should feel free to post too, with an explanation of our situation. That wasn’t comfortable for me, but in a few weeks Los Ranchos will vote; so here is my post! (I do not have a vote, but I am rooted here and grateful for the ministry of Los Ranchos churches -- especially of St. Andrew's Newport Beach -- in my life these past 15 years!)

If you are not familiar with PCUSA politics, a good page on this particular issue can be found at the Layman Online's vote chart page, and a very good summary of the arguments against the common fears and objections concerning 10A can be found at the resource link shared at the start of Bruce's meme post. In addition, the posts Bruce lists in response to this meme are rich in resources, and John Shuck has a particularly good selection of informative links in his "Countdown to 87" column down the right-hand side of his blog. (87 is the number of Presbyteries that must vote "yes" on Amendment 10A for it to pass.)

So now to Bruce's meme:
  1. Answer the following questions in a few sentences, keeping in mind the attention span of most blog readers.
  2. Post somewhere on facebook or your blog with the title "PresbyMEME: Why I am voting yes on Amendment 10a" and be sure there is a link back to this post.
  3. Post a link here or send me a reply via twitter and I'll try to keep a running list here.
  4. Track other responses and pass them along!
Questions for the PresbyMEME:
  1. Name, City, State
  2. Twitter and Facebook profiles
  3. Presbytery and 10a voting date
  4. Reason ONE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
  5. Reason TWO that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
  6. Reason THREE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
  7. What are your greatest hopes for the 10a debate that will take place on the floor of your Presbytery?
  8. How would you respond to those that say that if we pass 10a individuals and congregations will leave the PC(USA)?
  9. What should the Presbyterian Church focus on after Amendment 10a passes?
  10. How does your understanding of Scripture frame your position on 10a?

And my responses:

1. I am Maria Kettleson Anderson, Yorba Linda, California

2. Twitter and Facebook profiles:


3. Presbytery and 10a voting date:
Los Ranchos, Thursday May 19

4. Reason ONE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
The story in Genesis is a beautiful picture of God's original purposes and of what the Triune God wanted us to know through Scripture about our origins. It was so important that we not only be rooted in a larger community but also be allowed to have an awe-filled committed partnership with "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" that God revealed that our desire for that pulling away from parents and uniting with a compelling partner was indeed GOOD. As much as it is a reality that passion for ministry can propel us to celibacy, it is a scriptural reality that we are created to be part of a couple created by God. A vote for 10A is an affirmation that Paul said to the Corinthians that celibacy or marriage should be judged in the light of whether they enhanced or distracted from a pursuit of obedience to God, and that marriage was not a failure when resisting passion was a bigger distraction.

5.Reason TWO that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
Scripture is written in the language and culture of the person who wrote any particular book in the cannon. We understand that if the language says a table is female but a rock is male, that is just a feature of that language, and we do not insist upon making that a central feature of our pursuit together of the Kingdom. In the same way, patriarchal slave-owning culture was a part of the context of scripture that we have no trouble "translating" once we understand that God spoke through and in the midst of a language and culture, but did not condone every aspect of that language or culture. I believe God is in the process of restoring the Church to an understanding of persons, gender, and sexuality that is in line with God's original intent in creation, and that old cultural prejudices blind us to what Scripture as a whole really says. I believe that we fail ministry partners overseas who still live in patriarchal slave-owning cultures when we base our teaching on understandings of Scripture derived from their cultures rather than leading them in Godly understandings of Scripture.

6.Reason THREE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is...
Radical obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to speak what we know to be true, even when it may cost us "ministry" or "family" or even "righteousness" in terms of how we are seen. In Los Ranchos, taking a public stand to actually vote yes on Amendment 10A is an act of courage that is unimaginable to those who have built a life, community and career centered on all that is good and supportive and productive in the conservative community that is the best of Los Ranchos pastors and elders. This is so overwhelming that it is hard to even allow oneself to honestly consider that perhaps the conservative community could be wrong on this one, let alone to be willing to lose all that a pastor or elder would lose by breaking faith with friends on this.

Nevertheless, this is where Jesus' words about laying one's life down for a friend ring the most true, because the "ministry suicide" of taking a stand that "isn't your fight" will not only align you on the side of what is right and true, but also prepare a path for your friends to move forward in the things you know they sincerely embrace: obedience to God, a correct interpretation of Scripture, and a community that is united in being used by God to bless and transform the surrounding culture.

7.What are your greatest hopes for the 10a debate that will take place on the floor of your Presbytery?
My greatest hopes for the 19th of May are that each voter will have had the courage to honestly consider that 10A might be "of God" rather than "of the devil", and that those who have considered the arguments in favor of 10A and understand God to be calling them to vote affirmatively will have the courage to do that, even if it costs them dearly.

8.How would you respond to those that say that if we pass 10a individuals and congregations will leave the PC(USA)?
I would point out to them that their own ministries have never been focused on including all possible members at the cost of TRUTH, but that they have been willing to preach the Gospel faithfully even when that cost them members. In the same way, their focus here must be on what is true and right, and they must trust that the cost of obedience is never enough to justify disobedience.

9.What should the Presbyterian Church focus on after Amendment 10a passes?
The PCUSA should continue to focus on actively engaging Scripture and our culture: to be able to truly hear God's voice through God's word, and in obedience live transformed lives in community and be an agent of transformation in our world.

10.How does your understanding of Scripture frame your position on 10a?
It was in preparing each week to teach Bethel at St. Andrew's that I came to the place where I could not conform any longer to old positions on this issue. The whole of scripture is so clear about God's process of redemption and about God's goals for each of us and for all of us! It is our confessional understanding of Scripture that leads me here.