Paul Capetz is my one sorrow from the two years I spent at United Theological School in the Twin Cities, my alma mater. I never took a class from Paul, although I benefitted from his faith, wisdom and intellect in other ways. I have no doubt that Paul would have joined the ranks of Chris Smith, Jann Weaver, Eleazar Fernandez and Sharon Tan as exceptional teachers I have experienced first hand. Don’t get me wrong, NONE of the professors at United from whom I took classes were less than great, but these just stood out as truly inspiring. To my great disappointment, I will never know Paul firsthand as a teacher.
I could also never know, firsthand at least, the stress and agony that Paul must be feeling at the hands of an unwieldy ecclesiastical judicial process that is far better equipped at passing a “hot potato” than actually making informed, judicious decisions. Rather than fill some with awe at the intricate workings of judicial machine, which is how I have read some comments, it should fill all Presbyterians with shame. As always, the hand-wringing and juggling of important matters has a human face, and I can only imagine the agony that Paul must feel at times.
A friend on a listserve, Lawrence, introduced the article linked below by stating:
Sometimes the operations of man-made institutions — especially the ones intended to serve God — get so complex and convoluted over time that it becomes almost impossible to figure out … what’s really going on here? [snip] What the PCUSA has mostly done, from an institutional standpoint, is stall. Each call for justice and equality and acceptance has been met with the response, “Well, let’s study this matter and see what we can come up with.” [snip] I THINK I know what’s going on here, but the obfuscation is very finely-honed (so as to keep anyone from looking like they are ‘losers,’ which also keeps anyone from thinking they have won — or allows everyone to claim they have won).
The casualties in this ongoing legal debacle include not just Paul, but many other perfectly qualified, articulate, spiritually mature Christians who happen to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender. The courts are treating this case as if Paul is a poster child for all the people we have estranged over the last 30 years of self-absorbed, self-interested, conflict-avoiding judicial hand-wringing that leaves victims in it’s path – real, spiritually and emotionally bleeding victims who care so deeply for the PC(USA) that they maintain their fight for full inclusion.
The article, which is itself shrouded in avoidance of real issues, can be found at http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/2009/09169.
To Paul – my prayers are with you, Andy.