Series Archives: Presbyterian Church 2014

PCUSA and the Death Spiral

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

It’s always hazardous to project current trends too far into the future, given that such a practice assumes no dramatic event will either accelerate or reverse those trends.  Still, it occurred to me that if we can just fight off the BDS virus for 2-3 more General Assemblies, there may no longer be a Presbyterian […]

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PCUSA BDS – Dynamics

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

There are a number of dynamics that make each BDS debate within the Presbyterian Church seem similar to the one that played out previously. First, there is the traditional BDS dynamic that says once an organization passes any type of divestment resolution, that organization belongs to the boycotters.  So the PCUSA’s fate was really sealed […]

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PCUSA – Zionism Unsettled

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

Alongside the centralization problem I mentioned yesterday, the Presbyterian Church also faces a problem of bureaucratization as leaders of the organization try to establish policy through various committees with different levels of accountability to the church and its members. This growing corporatization tends to run head-on into the historic governing structures of PCUSA where decisions […]

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PCUSA BDS: What to do?

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

The Presbyterians will be meeting in Detroit (Henry Ford’s city as it turns out), in June and – as I’ve been discussing all this week – divestment will be on the agenda because it is always on the agenda. A hearty group of fanatics are determined to take a trip down memory lane, back to […]

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PCUSA and BDS: The Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN)

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

Whenever some story emerges having to do with PCUSA’s obsession with Israel, with the relentless drive to get divestment back on organization’s agenda (no matter how many times it’s rejected), with attempts to denigrate and even demonize the Jewish state, its inhabitants and supporters, all roads seem to lead to the Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN). […]

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PCUSA and BDS: Noushin Framke

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

While it’s easy to trace BDS-related Presbyterian excesses to acronymed organizations: IPMN (the Israel Palestine Mission Network), the church’s MRTI (Mission Responsibility Through Investment) committee and, of course, the leadership of PCUSA, we need to keep in mind that these entities and groups are made up of people.  And as we saw with the American […]

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PCUSA and BDS: Reverend Clifton Kirkpatrick

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion over who allowed divestment to be voted on by the Aldermen of Somerville, MA in 2004, ushering in three years of conflict in a city that ultimately rejected divestment at the executive, legislative and judicial level (not to mention in the voting booth). I mention this because even when […]

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The BDSbyterians

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

I recently joked on Twitter (that most serious of places) that I tend to lose my audience once conversation turns to the Presbyterian Church. Such flight is understandable, given that grasping Church politics requires navigating a sea of individuals and an alphabet soup of committees, some with intentionally ambiguous relations with the official organization.  It […]

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Ballad of the BDSbyterians

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

Sorry for the delay, for those of you who can’t get enough of manic song lyrics regarding obscure situations.  (Actually, it took some time to tone down what I started to write.) Anyway, in the spirit of the new BDSbyterian label I mentioned last time, I present a humble little ballad, sung to the tune (for the […]

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The Social Gospel Paradox

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

I’m close to finishing Joseph Bottum’s An Anxious Age, the subtitle of which (“The Post-Protestant Ethic and Spirit of America”) provides a valuable frame with which to close out this month’s discussion of what next for the Presbyterian Church’s relationship with Jews and Israel. Works I’ve read (and urged others to read) over the last […]

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