Culture War Costs
Here's a post at Shuck and Jive about how the right assumes everyone who has left the Presbyterian Church USA did it in protest against the presence of liberals and gay people in that denomination.
I'm certain that can be the case for some, but I suppose such folks could never consider the idea the opposite occurs as well. I grew up in the PCUSA (and whatever the northern church was pre-1983) but a number of events led me to leave the denomination:
Local fundies who took over the campus ministry at my undergrad school. The renewal groups that targeted Celebrate (a college student gathering), just like they did Re-Imagining (a women's gathering). This gave an idea of what folks were willing to do for political points.
And then there was the case of Paul Capetz, which indicated to me, along with the various church trials against GLBT supportive pastors, that good people were not safe in the denomination. And there really are a lot of good people in the PCUSA.
So I left and found myself in the Disciples of Christ (and in some manner the UCC), which while not always better on these issues, doesn't seem to have big "renewal" groups, nor does it have the polity that can allow a small select group to go after folks.
Is the right's doctrinal purity and stopping gay cooties more important than those of us who have left the denomination over their actions? Hmm. It does speak of a particular blindness where one can't imagine the other. Statements from church fights suggests as much.
On a side note: the fundamentalist take over of my undergrad campus ministry was really the last time I was a member of the PCUSA. The later examples are reasons why I shy away from the PCUSA despite the great people I know in that denomination.
In some ways, in college, I was a good candidate for someone dropping out of Christianity and the church all together. But some friends pointed me to a progressive ministry where my questions were welcomed as opposed to deeming me a heretic.
That campus ministry is, in large measure, why I am in the church today. It's why I'm committed to seeing a progressive Christian presence on college campuses today. If the mainline has a future it's to be found here. But that's for a another story and post.