beautiful monsters: Because of the donuts

September 07, 2006

Because of the donuts

Someone sent out these bumper stickers to most of the commissioners who will be going to General Assembly.



My non-church-going friends keep asking me why I would want to be involved in the church, and on days like today it seems like a very good question.

So, sometimes, I have to remind myself.

I have no trouble remembering why I want to be part of St Andrew’s. I love this church, and its people. I love that I am free to wonder and question. I love the teaching, and the discussions. I love the work we do, for peace, for justice, for the planet. I love the worship, which is creative, inclusive, beautiful and poetic. I chose to be baptised into the Church because at St Andrew’s I felt accepted and loved.

But... St Andrew’s is part of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

I could, of course, keep going to St Andrew’s but say that I’m not part of the wider church. But that option doesn’t sit quite right with my conscience. So I’m trying to remind myself, again, why on earth I would want to be Presbyterian.

1. Well, it is part of my heritage. My Scottish ancestors arrived here early in 1840, and it’s likely they were at the first Presbyterian service held on the shore of Petone.

2. If I left, the balance of the Presbyterian Church would change and tilt just that little bit further to the right.

3. If St Andrew’s left the national church, we would lose a lot of our resources, including our buildings.

4. Children have no choice which church their parents drag them to. If I can help to change PCANZ for the better, it will be a nicer place for future generations.

5. I subscribe to the reformist idea “that each man can be his own priest”.

6. We have a system of representational democracy.

I think that’s all I can come up with tonight.

I won’t write a list of reasons not to belong to the Church. It might turn out longer.

Instead I’ll give you some of the results of a Google search for “Why I am a Presbyterian”.

Just the other day I was invited to give a talk on "Why I Am a Presbyterian." I told them I couldn't possibly, because I don't know why I'm a Presbyterian.
- Frederick Buechner

My rebellion from Presbyterianism lasted all of about six hours, in college, where, after skipping church one Sunday morning, a fierce combination of guilt and habit and honest affection drew me back.
- John Wilkinson

There are exactly seven reasons to be a Presbyterian – no more, no less…
- Rev. William A. Evertsberg

And then I found the Presbyterians Today magazine issue, which has mini essays by lots of people talking about why they are proud to be Presbyterian (in the USA).

Some answers are repeated often: because the PC is “connectional”... because it is democratic... because it values education... because it’s “In my blood/genes”... because women can be ministers... because we are allowed to ask questions.

Here are some snippets of the other reasons that tickled my fancy:

Because of the doughnuts.
- Erin Dunigan

…because I enjoy meetings… We believe the Truth is not in you or me, but between us.
- Wayne McLaughlin

- Hearing an exegetical explanation for fish-shaped crackers used in Communion
Ruth Goldthwaite

…because we do things decently and in order; therefore when a Presbyterian goes to another Presbyterian church, he knows what to expect.
- Ruth Ann Folsom

I love the ever-growing number of children who dance in the aisles on their way to the "Word for Children."
- Mary Anne McDonald

Presbyterians see the many hues and shades of God.
- Glyndon Morris

The right to a fair trial in a Presbyterian court if accused of ecclesiastical wrongdoing.
- Steven J. Voris

Being a Presbyterian means "Welcome to our church—you can start thinking now."
- Michael Perrotta

Posted by Fionnaigh at September 7, 2006 04:01 AM | TrackBack