Enjoy Pastor Jim Gordon's Blog
Please feel free to log on to our Facebook page to comment on Jim's Blog!

Presbyterians Affirm


Published 2020-09-04



As we all struggle to understand the current tensions in our land, condemn violence while still seeking liberty and justice for all. I wanted to share this passage from the PC(USA) website which affirms the view of the denomination, the statement of being a Matthew 25 congregation and my own believes:

Why are we saying that “Presbyterians Affirm Black Lives Matter”?

Simply put: because Black lives do indeed matter. They/we matter to God, which means they/we should matter to God’s people. Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community, the PC (USA) Churchwide Antiracism Policy, first adopted in 1999 and revised in 2016, proclaims the following: “While recognizing that racism victimizes many different racial ethnic groups, we acknowledge its unique impact on the African American community. Given the particular forms that antiBlack racism has taken in the United States of America both historically (including slavery and Jim Crow) and today (including mass incarceration, disproportionate policing, economic inequality, and continuing acts of racially oriented violence and hate), we state clearly: GOD LOVES BLACKNESS. Too many have denied this basic truth for too long. Our choice to align ourselves with love and not hate requires both a rejection of racism and a positive proclamation that God delights in Black lives.”

But don’t all lives matter?

Saying unequivocally that “Black Lives Matter” in no way means that all lives do not matter. It is rather an acknowledgment that many lives – specifically Black lives – are systemically devalued. As a community that tries to follow Jesus, we proclaim that such a devaluation of our siblings is an affront to the Living God. The Confession of Belhar reminds us “that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged.” Specificity toward Black lives is necessary, particularly in this moment, so that we may acknowledge and address the inequities that prevent the whole community from living as if all lives matter.

Does that mean we are claiming affiliation with the Black Lives Matter organization?

As an organization, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has no affiliation or official status with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Presbyterians across the country are members of Black Lives Matter Global Network chapters, and many congregations actively support BLM efforts in their local communities.

I’m sorry, but I just cannot agree with supporting the Black Lives Matter organization.

We understand there are those in our communion who do not agree with positions of the Black Lives Matter Movement as they understand them. Presbyterians have always been invited to use discernment in matters of faith and practice, understanding that “God alone is Lord of the conscience.” We have never been required to be in lockstep with matters such as these. However, in our discernment we must be careful that we do not expect that we, a majority-white institution, may determine the path of liberation and equity for Black people, nor should we expect that we may “correct” the goals and methodologies developed by any community we seek to support. In all justice efforts, we must be led by the ones who are impacted. Black Lives Matter provides a way forward formulated for and by Black people. And we need not wait for complete agreement with every position before we act in ways that are loving, bold and (again) directed by the communities with whom we want to align.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the tendency of the white moderate who says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action," and “who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another [person]’s freedom.” This tendency denies justice to the oppressed and slows progress and wholeness for the entire community. We also note that King and many other justice-seekers of the time were constantly accused of sedition. They were labeled as communists who sought to undermine the United States and were surveilled mercilessly. Even in the church, they were accused of being anti-Christian for disturbing the peace of the community and the God-ordained order of society. Today we hear similar claims that Black Lives Matter is “violent Marxist” and seeks to undermine the American (and Christian) way of life.

While again respecting the discernment of each, we must name that these labels are not only untrue but rooted in antiBlackness with intent to frustrate the efforts of Black people seeking justice for themselves. These things must be confronted with truth. Black Lives Matter is very clear about who and what the collective is and consistently addresses misinformation about the movement on its website. It is just and holy to hear people speak of themselves in their own words. The lived experiences of Black people are not mere matters of opinion.

I fear that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is getting too political and hopping onto the latest bandwagon.

Presbyterians have long been “political.” Civic engagement has always been part of the life of the church. The American Revolution and the structure of the U.S. government were heavily informed by Presbyterians. More nefariously, our articulation of the faith has also been used in service to the eradication of Indigenous people and the enslavement of African people on these lands. Prophets such as Henry Highland Garnet, Francis James Grimké, Gayraud Wilmore and Katie Geneva Cannon have all reiterated the gospel’s clarion call for liberation and engagement with the state, even when we would not listen to them. Eugene Carson Blake, stated clerk of the antecedent Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, was one of the organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. From the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Scots Confession, to the Theological Declaration of Barmen and the Confession of Belhar, our confessions have always instructed us on our role as Christians in the public square. But before all these things, Christians were calling Jesus “Lord,” which is a civic designation. Christianity is inherently political. The word “political” has its root in the Greek word for “people.” Jesus commanded us to love God and neighbor. Our faith can never be extricated from our concerns for people. Affirming that Black Lives Matter is very much in line with who we are as Presbyterians, and while the gospel of Jesus Christ is political, it is not partisan. It is not in service to any one political party or leaning, but challenges all of us to have righteous relationships with one another. We believe that justice for the oppressed is not and should not be a partisan value. Justice is a gospel value, one that all who claim Jesus as Lord should hold. We may have different ideas of how to live into the value, but as Christians we are beholden to it.


Blog Archives

God's Stories, Our Stories - Blog by Michelle Pekarsky 2021-07-16     Published 2021-07-16

God's Stories, Our Stories - Blog by Sara Stubler 2021-07-02     Published 2021-07-02

God's Stories, Our Stories - Blog by Cynthia Norton 2021-07-02     Published 2021-07-02

Blog by Lynn Horsley 2021-06-25     Published 2021-06-25

Calling Anyone With A Story To Share 2021-06-18     Published 2021-06-18

In The Heights 2021-06-11     Published 2021-06-11

Vaccination Survey Result 2021-06-04     Published 2021-06-04

"I Have A Dream" 2021-05-28     Published 2021-05-28

Masks 2021-05-21     Published 2021-05-21

Kindergarten Graduation 2021-05-14     Published 2021-05-14

The Lanyard by Billy Collins 2021-05-07     Published 2021-05-07

God is Love 2021-04-30     Published 2021-04-30

"To Protect with Courage - To Serve with Compassion" 2021-04-23     Published 2021-04-23

Sabbatical 2021-04-16     Published 2021-04-16

Easter Thank you 2021-04-10     Published 2021-04-10

Happy Easter 2021-04-02     Published 2021-04-02

This Week Marks A Full Year Of Livestream Worship 2021-03-26     Published 2021-03-26

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day! 2021-03-19     Published 2021-03-19

Communion 2021-03-12     Published 2021-03-12

People often ask me, “When is the church going to open? 2021-03-05     Published 2021-03-05

Connect to Worship 2021-02-26     Published 2021-02-26

Winter at Pine Ridge 2021-02-19     Published 2021-02-19

Well, I didn’t see that coming! 2021-02-12     Published 2021-02-12

Lifelong Chiefs Fans! 2021-02-05     Published 2021-02-05

Aquamation! 2021-01-29     Published 2021-01-29

I DREAM A WORLD WHERE MAN 2021-01-22     Published 2021-01-22

We Have Not Come Here to Take Prisoners 2021-01-15     Published 2021-01-15

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing 2021-01-08     Published 2021-01-08

Eighth Day of Christmas 2021-01-01     Published 2021-01-01

Merry Christmas 2020-12-25     Published 2020-12-25

Ringing of the Bells 2020-12-18     Published 2020-12-18

Christmas Wish List 2020-12-11     Published 2020-12-11

Friday, December 4th 2020 2020-12-04     Published 2020-12-04

Purple Sunday 2020-11-27     Published 2020-11-27

Thanksgiving 2020 2020-11-20     Published 2020-11-20

Friday, November 13th 2020-11-13     Published 2020-11-13

Keep the Smoke Hole Open: Seek Vigil Not Isolation 2020-11-06     Published 2020-11-06

Your Vote Matters 2020-10-30     Published 2020-10-30

All Hallows Eve 2020-10-23     Published 2020-10-23

Vote 2020-10-16     Published 2020-10-16

“Mindful” by Mary Oliver 2020-10-09     Published 2020-10-09

Dandelion 2020-10-02     Published 2020-10-02

2020 Anonymous 2020-09-25     Published 2020-09-25

The Vinedresser's Notebook 2020-08-28     Published 2020-08-28

Good for our brains and our souls! 2020-08-21     Published 2020-08-21

Friday, July 31st 2020-07-31     Published 2020-07-31

“I could be totally blind, but I am not, praise God!” 2020-07-24     Published 2020-07-24

When We Think About Reopening the Church... 2020-07-10     Published 2020-07-10

Julian of Norwich 2020-07-03     Published 2020-07-03

The Love of God 2020-06-26     Published 2020-06-26

2020 2020-06-19     Published 2020-06-19

Deep Listening - Starting the Conversation 2020-06-12     Published 2020-06-12

Friday, June 5th 2020 2020-06-05     Published 2020-06-05

Carefully and Prayerfully 2020-05-22     Published 2020-05-22

Friday, May 15 2020 2020-05-22     Published 2020-05-22

“I love to tell the story of Jesus and his love.” 2020-05-08     Published 2020-05-08

Friday, May 1st 2020-05-01     Published 2020-05-01

Christ is Risen 2020-04-17     Published 2020-04-17

Keep Calm and Keep Learning 2020-04-10     Published 2020-04-10

COVID-19 - Dogs 2020-04-03     Published 2020-04-03

COVID-19 First Week 2020-03-27     Published 2020-03-27

COVID-19 Pandemic 2020-03-20     Published 2020-03-20

COVID-19 2020-03-15     Published 2020-03-15

Happieness 2020-03-06     Published 2020-03-06

Ash Wednesday 2020-02-28     Published 2020-02-28

God is found exactly in the messiest of places 2020-02-21     Published 2020-02-21

February 14th, 2020 2020-02-14     Published 2020-02-14

They Won! 2020-02-07     Published 2020-02-07

Have You Heard? 2020-01-31     Published 2020-01-31

Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service 2020-01-10     Published 2020-01-10

Statistics Part 2 2020-01-03     Published 2020-01-03

Statistics Part 1 2019-12-27     Published 2019-12-27

Merry Christmas 2019-12-20     Published 2019-12-20

The Presence of God 2019-12-13     Published 2019-12-13

Advent Is For Waiting 2019-12-06     Published 2019-12-06

Happy Thanksgiving 2019-11-29     Published 2019-11-29

God is Love 2019-11-22     Published 2019-11-22

Wild Geese 2019-11-15     Published 2019-11-15

Nominations Now Open 2019-11-08     Published 2019-11-08

All Saints Day 2019-11-01     Published 2019-11-01

Lies The Culture Tells Us (Part 2) 2019-10-25     Published 2019-10-25

Lies The Culture Tells Us 2019-10-18     Published 2019-10-18

Blessing of the Animals 2019-10-11     Published 2019-10-11

The Cloud of Unknowing 2019-09-27     Published 2019-09-27

The Web 2019-09-20     Published 2019-09-20

Elizabeth Joy "Ellie" Gordon 2019-09-13     Published 2019-09-13

All Things New 2019-09-06     Published 2019-09-06

We Believe Take 2 2019-08-30     Published 2019-08-30

We Believe... 2019-08-23     Published 2019-08-23

August 16, 2019 2019-08-16     Published 2019-08-16

Reflections of sitting by a stream 2019-08-09     Published 2019-08-09

August 2nd 2019 2019-08-02     Published 2019-08-02

July 26th 2019 2019-07-26     Published 2019-07-26

The First Presbyterian on the Moon 2019-07-19     Published 2019-07-19

Reflection of Cynthia Bourgeault 2019-07-12     Published 2019-07-12

Pine Ridge History 2019-07-05     Published 2019-07-05

Highlands Presbyterian 2019-06-28     Published 2019-06-28

God alone is Lord of the conscience, part 2 2019-06-21     Published 2019-06-21

God alone is Lord of the conscience, part 1 2019-06-14     Published 2019-06-14

D-Day 75th Anniversary 2019-06-07     Published 2019-06-07

Rain 2019-05-31     Published 2019-05-31

It Is Time 2019-05-24     Published 2019-05-24

Seen any good movies lately? 2019-05-17     Published 2019-05-17

Prayer is... 2019-05-10     Published 2019-05-10

Where Does God Live? 2019-05-03     Published 2019-05-03

Expect Resurrection! 2019-04-25     Published 2019-04-25

Notre Dame 2019-04-18     Published 2019-04-18

Dying Before We Die (Part 2) 2019-04-11     Published 2019-04-11

The Golden Gate 2019-04-04     Published 2019-04-04

What is Lent? 2019-03-28     Published 2019-03-28

Nothing and Everything 2019-03-22     Published 2019-03-22

Saint Patrick 2019-03-14     Published 2019-03-14

Ash Wednesday 2019-03-07     Published 2019-03-07

I Love My Church 2019-02-28     Published 2019-02-28

Immaculee Ilibagiza 2019-02-21     Published 2019-02-21

I Had Forgotten 2019-02-14     Published 2019-02-14

Chagall Isaiah 2019-02-07     Published 2019-02-07

Happy Groundhog Day 2019-01-31     Published 2019-01-31

God Sightings 2019-01-24     Published 2019-01-24

Boxers for Jesus and MLK 2019-01-17     Published 2019-01-17

Peace On Earth 2019-01-10     Published 2019-01-10

New Year's Prayer 2019-01-03     Published 2019-01-03

After Christmas 2018-12-27     Published 2018-12-27

12-20-2018 2018-12-20     Published 2018-12-20

Busy Yet? 2018-12-13     Published 2018-12-13

Oh Christmas Tree! 2018-12-06     Published 2018-12-06

Happy Purple Sunday 2018-11-29     Published 2018-11-29

Happy Thanksgiving 2018-11-15     Published 2018-11-15

Help Thanks Wow 2018-11-08     Published 2018-11-08

Havdalah 2018-11-01     Published 2018-11-01

Homelessness 2018-10-25     Published 2018-10-25

Changing Leaves 2018-10-18     Published 2018-10-18

Savor The Sabbath 2018-10-11     Published 2018-10-11

World Communion Sunday 2018-10-04     Published 2018-10-04

Me Too 2018-09-27     Published 2018-09-27

100! 2018-09-20     Published 2018-09-20

From Thoughts in Solitude 2018-09-13     Published 2018-09-13

Yugen 2018-09-06     Published 2018-09-06

Mystics 2018-08-30     Published 2018-08-30

The Kids Were Amazing 2018-08-23     Published 2018-08-23

First Day 2018-08-16     Published 2018-08-16

Ask The Birds 2018-08-09     Published 2018-08-09

What Do They Really Need? 2018-07-26     Published 2018-07-26

A Moment of Grace 2018-07-19     Published 2018-07-19

Won't You Be My Neighbor 2018-07-12     Published 2018-07-12

Generosity 2018-06-28     Published 2018-06-28

Imago Dei 2018-06-21     Published 2018-06-21

A Heartfelt Thank You 2018-06-07     Published 2018-06-07

Starbucks 2018-05-31     Published 2018-05-31

Change in Worship 2018-05-24     Published 2018-05-24

Mike Dieleman, Chair of the Finance Committee 2018-05-17     Published 2018-05-17

Happy Mother's Day 2018-05-10     Published 2018-05-10

Death Cafe Goes to Sunday School 2018-05-03     Published 2018-05-03

National Pretzel Day 2018-04-26     Published 2018-04-26

Breathe In Knowing You Are Loved 2018-04-19     Published 2018-04-19

Resurrection Life 2018-04-12     Published 2018-04-12

Seeing Resurrection 2018-04-05     Published 2018-04-05

Happy Easter 2018-03-29     Published 2018-03-29

This is Palm/Passion Sunday 2018-03-22     Published 2018-03-22

Task Force Groups 2018-03-15     Published 2018-03-15

Spring Forward! 2018-03-08     Published 2018-03-08

Curling and Jesus 2018-03-02     Published 2018-03-02

I Don't Know What To Say 2018-02-23     Published 2018-02-23

Gratitude is the Heart of Prayer 2018-02-16     Published 2018-02-16

Jennifer's Departure 2018-02-01     Published 2018-02-01

One Sentence 2018-01-25     Published 2018-01-25

Day of Service on MLK Day at LAMP 2018-01-18     Published 2018-01-18

Never Waste A Good Crisis 2018-01-11     Published 2018-01-11

New Year Resolutions 2018-01-04     Published 2018-01-04

New Year Blessings 2017-12-31     Published 2017-12-31

Merry Christmas! 2017-12-20     Published 2017-12-20

An Oxymoron 2017-12-13     Published 2017-12-13

Blue Christmas 2017-12-06     Published 2017-12-06

Purple Sunday 2017-11-30     Published 2017-11-30

A Successful Trip 2017-11-12     Published 2017-11-12

Happy Halloween 2017-10-26     Published 2017-10-26

I Am The Vine 2017-10-19     Published 2017-10-19

The Warning Signs 2017-10-05     Published 2017-10-05

Creating Quiet Space 2017-09-28     Published 2017-09-28

You go girl! 2017-09-14     Published 2017-09-14

Out of Chaos, Hope x2 2017-09-06     Published 2017-09-06

Out of Chaos, Hope 2017-08-31     Published 2017-08-31

A Slippery Slope 2017-08-24     Published 2017-08-24

Live In Peace 2017-08-17     Published 2017-08-17

Caring for Creation 2017-08-10     Published 2017-08-10

The Bowl 2017-08-03     Published 2017-08-03

Journey of Our Soul; May It Be Long and Winding 2017-06-22     Published 2017-06-22

Loving Day 2017-06-15     Published 2017-06-15

Kindergarten Graduation 2017-05-25     Published 2017-05-25

The Beginning of Something Else 2017-05-18     Published 2017-05-18

Happy Star Wars Day, May the Fourth be with you! 2017-05-04     Published 2017-05-04

Happy Easter 2017-04-13     Published 2017-04-13

Warm Greetings from Genova, Guatemala 2017-04-06     Published 2017-04-06

International Day of Happiness 2017-03-23     Published 2017-03-23

Spiritual But Not Religious 2017-03-16     Published 2017-03-16

Night Prayer 2017-03-08     Published 2017-03-08

Lent 2017-03-01     Published 2017-03-01

Yūgen 2017-02-23     Published 2017-02-23

It's a Beautiful Day 2017-02-16     Published 2017-02-16

Jesus is in your boat! 2017-02-09     Published 2017-02-09

Happy Ground Hog Day! 2017-02-03     Published 2017-02-03

We All Are Constantly in Motion 2017-01-18     Published 2017-01-18

January Retreat 2017-01-11     Published 2017-01-11

Wishing You a Very Challenging New Year 2016-12-29     Published 2016-12-29

Mary Christmas 2016-12-21     Published 2016-12-21

It's Time to Put the X back in Christmas 2016-12-14     Published 2016-12-14

First Week in Advent 2016-11-30     Published 2016-11-30

Happy Thanksgiving 2016-11-16     Published 2016-11-16

"On Election Day 1884" 2016-11-09     Published 2016-11-09

First Ever Blessing of the Animals 2016-11-02     Published 2016-11-02