Virtual Voices
Delegates line up Thursday to speak on the issue of same-sex marriage at the PCUSA General Assembly in Detroit.
Associated Press/Photo by David Guralnick/The Detroit News
Delegates line up Thursday to speak on the issue of same-sex marriage at the PCUSA General Assembly in Detroit.

The PCUSA becomes the tail

Religion

It is hard to find more humiliating words than these in Scripture:

“He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:44, ESV).

The “he” who is called the “head” here is not God but some no-account, stone-worshipping nation that overruns Israel because of Israel’s recalcitrant rebellion against God. The “tail” is Israel.

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The canine metaphor needs no need explanation. We have a similar idiom in English: When we talk about “the tail wagging the dog,” it is never a good thing. The tail, among the members of the body, is less important than the head with its brain locus.

Israel was meant to be the “head” among the nations, as we see a few verses earlier:

“… the LORD will make you the head and not the tail … if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God … being careful to do them. …”

Yesterday the Presbyterian Church USA, the large mainline denomination, became the tail. Congratulations. What else do you call a straggler that jumps on a bandwagon after almost every Tom, Dick, and Harry in town has already boarded? Not to be completely last (there are still a few conservative holdouts), the PCUSA’s governing body voted yesterday to let its ministers bless same-sex weddings. In addition, the denomination will be quietly taking the “Wite-Out” to its Book of Order and penning in “two persons” for “one man and one woman.” Maybe no one will notice the PCUSA’s belated little emendation to its “thus saith the Lord” pronouncements.

Here is my question: Why would anybody want to be a member of a church that sees the “light” about gay issues later than everybody else in town? Why even join a church? Why not pick up your morality from the Huffington Post, which gets a bead on it before the churches? Wasn’t the church supposed to lead in moral issues? It can’t lead in scientific advances, or in space travel, or in discoveries in chemistry, so shouldn’t it at least lead in the one sphere where is it presumed to be an “expert”?

Since when does the “light of the world” (which Jesus calls us in Matthew 5:14) hold up the rear? Since when does it come in last in every ethical race, and only belatedly understand? Who wants a light bulb that debates and discusses with the darkness for half an hour before having its way? But our situation is even worse than that: The churches debate and discuss with the darkness for a while—and then end up agreeing with the darkness.

You would think they had no Bible. But if they had, they would read this:

“To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isaiah 8:20, ESV). 

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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