2 Things I Appreciate about Being Presbyterian

Can you believe it?! I'm actually gonna say something nice about the PC(USA)!

I know I tend to state my frustrations with the PC(USA) more than I talk about what I appreciate. And sometimes I feel like there is nothing to appreciate.

But that's not true. In the last few days, I've been reminded of at least two things that I appreciate about the PC(USA).

1) No fundamentalist upbringing to react against.

I already mentioned this in my last post, so I won't go into detail. Steve Taylor (the musician, not the emergentkiwi guy) once said that, even though he was a pastor's kid (like me), he never felt like he had anything to rebel against. His parents loved him. They weren't legalistic. They gave him breathing room.

This has also been my experience. I've never felt any urge to react because I've never had anything to react against. I've certainly grown, and I'm always open to exploring new ideas, but never out of a frustration with the sense that something has been shoved down my throat.

2) I don't have to be afraid to say something I shouldn't.

I'm in a group of pastors and ministry leaders that get together once a month to talk about whatever is on our mind. This Monday, we talked about God and country. One of the guys was recording the discussion in order to post it online. But halfway through he had to stop the recording because too many of us were saying things that those in our denominations or churches or places of ministry might not approve of.

Nothing heretical, of course. Everyone believes Jesus is God incarnate. Everyone believes Jesus rose from the tomb. Everyone believes Jesus has called us to reach out to our world.

But not everyone believes that we should have an American flag in our sanctuaries. Or sing "America, the Beautiful" as a worship song. Or celebrate Veteran's day as a holy day.

I think it's sad that we had to turn off the recorder because some of the guys were afraid that their higher-ups might hear what they say.

There's a lot that frustrates me about the PC(USA), but at least I know I won't be called a heretic or told I'm backsliding if I don't tow the party line. Come to think of it, the PC(USA) doesn't really have a party line.

So, there you go. Two things I really like about my denomination.

By the way, I can't stand the logo at the top of this article. Not because of what it symbolizes, but because it's just a boring logo. I really hope the PC(USA) gets a logo facelift sometime in the next few years.


Russell Smith said...

Right with you on the Logo thing, Markus. Ever since I first saw the logo I thought it was cluttered, overdone, and obviously the work of a committee that sought to be everything to everyone rather than a team that sought to leave a lasting impression.

Jonathan Watson said...

Any church that can make a believer fear their own questions disappoints me.

Which, actually, reminds me of what might be termed the "Harry Potter effect." When one famously public evangelical/fundamentalist group (whatever that might be... Focus on the Family, Foursquare church, etc) denounces a popular cultural piece, millions of evangelicals/fundamentalists will follow that lead. They won't question that stance. They just believe it and seem aghast when another Christian might disagree.

In my circle of family and friends, there are those who staunchly believe that Harry Potter is the most insidiously evil thing directed at kids... and if that topic is ever breached in friendly discussion, the amount of deaf and blind vitriol directed at me (a casual Harry Potter fan) frustrates and saddens me.

I don't feel threatened by questions about my faith. I don't feel threatened by questioning the party line. I'd rather dig deeper into the questions.

... and the logo does suck (not to mention the website--at least Foursquare's is pretty good :) )...

Markus Watson said...

Man, the Foursquare website is totally awesome!!! (For those who don't get the joke, Jonathan designed the Foursquare website... :-) )

Ted said...

Jonathan, I couldn't agree more! I've had people look at me cross-eyed for being a "Star Wars" fan. Very strange!

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