Bruce Reyes-Chow, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has asked us to write a MEME discussing why we will vote for full inclusion of GLBTQ people as ordained officers in the Presbyterian Church in the next year. For those of you non-Presbyterians, this probably won’t make sense. For the rest of you, here it is:

  1. Name, City, State: Mieke Vandersall, New York, NY
  2. Twitter and Facebook profiles,!/miekevandersall, blog:
  3. Presbytery and 10a voting date, New York City, May
  4. Reason ONE that you are voting “yes” on 10a is…that I can. I have a voice and a vote. There are so few out LGBTQ people who are voting members, especially clergy, and it is a tremendous privilege to therefore have a voice. It really is about privilege. There are too many people I know or have heard of that are “tired of this” and say that “it never changes” and therefore don’t want to go to a presbytery meeting to sit through it again. Well, that makes me angry. Because it is about privilege. If you have a vote then you owe it to others who don’t have a vote to vote for them.
  5. Reason TWO that you are voting “yes” on 10a is…there are so many tremendously qualified GLBTQ Inquirers and Candidates out there that just want to serve. They don’t want to be poster-children for our rights, they don’t want to be seen as an issues, they don’t want to be condescended to, they just want to freaking serve God and the church. I work directly with many of these folks and there are days that I don’t have a comforting word to them in the face of extraordinary discrimination. Will it get better? Yes. Will that be in time for them to serve in the ways they feel God is calling them? I don’t know. Is God with them? Yes. Beyond that, I don’t know much more except that the church is #1) missing out on their leadership and #2) unnecessarily hurting too many people in the meantime with current policies.
  6. Reason THREE that you are voting “yes” on 10a is…it is much more faithful language than G-6.0106b as it currently stands. It is reasonable and do-able with the standards being raised. Brings us back to our Reformed roots. All that good stuff.
  7. What are your greatest hopes for the 10a debate that will take place on the floor of your Presbytery? That we will actually talk about it in a respectful, educated way.
  8. How would you respond to those that say that if we pass 10a individuals and congregations will leave the PC(USA)? I would say: “ok then.” I think it is manipulative to say that. Individuals and congregations on both sides might leave. And churches join and split and split and join, we aren’t the first when it comes to that. Do we trust the Holy Spirit? Do we?
  9. What should the Presbyterian Church focus on after Amendment 10a passes? Well I would love this all to go away as much as the next person. Let us get to the work we are called to. Except that this is part of the work we are called to. I would hope that GLBTQ folks could be seen instantly as equal and honored members of the body of Christ, but we have a ways to go for that. So, let’s ensure that it stays passed. Figure out how to be a relevant, vibrant force in the world. Get real with ourselves about what we feel called to.
  10. How does your understanding of Scripture frame your position on 10a? Oh, the question maybe is “how does it not.” Let’s stick with this one: Christ is Lord and not the Book of Order or one person’s understanding of another’s sinfulness.