Visit our new site at

Monday, July 23, 2007

From the RevGalBlogPals, Inc. Board

Dear RevGalBlogPals members and contributors,

The RGBP Inc. board has read and noted the comments from those who disagree with our decision to remove one of the blogs from the Ring. In consideration of the privacy of the blogger involved, we have refrained from discussing this decision on the RGBP blog.

We appreciate the respectful tone those questioning this decision have maintained. Since the issue was raised in comments on the birthday post, as a board we want to let you know that the decision made by the board was unanimous and took place after over a month of thoughtful and prayerful discussion and consideration both online and in person.

There are many issues on which, informally, members of this ring have agreed to disagree from its very beginning. As the Ring expanded from a dozen or so to over 300 blogs, questions arose that had never occurred to anyone to ask in the beginning, including whether to allow commercial blogs or how to question applicants about whether they actually support women’s ordination or what to do about a blog linking directly to the materials of a cult. The Ring may be a community to most of us, but to some applicants it is simply a tool to increase traffic. The Ring’s profile has risen with its membership, and as our denominations have become aware, too, questions have been raised in some quarters about what it means to belong to the Ring.

Our standards for membership at one time were discussed by all contributors to the blog. Over the past year, since we incorporated, a board--first of three volunteers and then of seven elected members--has wrestled with these questions and tried to anticipate what may lie ahead. It may be for some of us that the lines we feel required to draw are different than for others, and members of the board are truly sorry if there is pain for some Ring members as a result of the recent membership decision.

If you wish to be more involved in the operation and governance of RevGalBlogPals, we would encourage you to join the corporation. if you have not done so, and participate in the elections that will take place this October. It is our belief that God does have further growth in store for RevGalBlogPals, and it is our prayer that we will be guided in that growth by the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s Peace,

St. Casserole
Mary Beth
reverend mommy


  1. Good morning,

    I appreciate very much that the board has begun to address this issue, but I'm afraid that the response leaves many more questions than answers for me.

    Could revised guidelines please be posted? As the blogger in question did not appear to violate any of the guidelines, as presently stated, I believe it would be helpful for those of us still within the ring to know where lines are currently being drawn.

    Also, I do not believe the recently excluded blogger's content changed after she was granted admission to the ring. Am I correct in understanding that she was included, and then excluded, with the same information being available?

    Will future bloggers that the board deems inappropriate be given an opportunity to amend their content?

    Thank you very much for any further clarity you provide.

  2. You are correct in saying the content was there in the beginning.

    The board agreed that it was a mistake to accept this blog in the first place and that our screening process needed revision. We added more screeners for the applications we receive and require blogs be active for 3 months in order to be considered.

    We have asked for clarification from some applicants in the past before accepting them into the webring, and will continue to do so as part of the screening process.

  3. QG,

    Thank you for a prompt response. I'm afraid I still don't understand what the present guidelines and parameters are. There are strong theological differences within the ring, and I believe it would be helpful to know what the board's criteria are. Is there a plan in the works for a statement of faith/community values so that, as a group, we might have more transparency on the issue?

    Thanks again for engaging in discussion. I am grateful for your efforts on behalf of the community, and I cannot imagine the extent of the work you all must attend to.

  4. Dear Board Members,

    I thank you for this morning's post. I am sure that you have engaged in lengthy discussion and prayer regarding this issue. However, I have to agree with mrs. m that it is still not clear as to what the guidelines are. As they are presently stated, the blog in question would still be acceptably a member.

    I cannot imagine the blogger in question wishes to be reinstated. The experience of being asked to leave has been traumatic for her, as last week's posts attest. I ask again, given the great theological diversity that exists in the ring, is there justification for removing this one blogger?

    Please understand this, not as a defense of the particular issue which seems to trouble the RevGals board. Neither my denomination nor I personally can support it. But if we only stand up for those whom we understand and with whom we agree, I do not believe we can claim to be attempting to live into Jesus' model of radical inclusivity. The point is that stretching boundaries hurts, it is uncomfortable. I refer you to the gospel passage of July 15 for an example of one who does not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy, but who is closer to the kingdom than most of us.

    Again, I thank you for all your work.



  5. The blog in question was removed due to its potential to be disruptive to the purposes of the ring and the corporation. When we first wrote a caution about being disruptive, we had in mind the sort of rudeness or abusiveness you sometimes see on the web, and it seemed like a good general caution.

    After the blog in question had been admitted, several board and ring members expressed a concern about having granted membership to a blog written by a person who describes herself as polyamorous.

    Some of these concerns were personal in nature, as members shared questions asked of them by church and denominational officials about the nature of the Ring. Other concerns were for the Ring itself, as we use our 501(c)3 status to apply for grants to help pay for the upcoming Big Event. We are an explicitly Christian organization, and it was the unanimous opinion of the board that having an openly polyamorous member in the ring posed a potential threat to RevGalBlogPals. Finally, the concerns were spiritual. We are all sinners, there is no doubt about it. Those of us gathered around the table in Georgia disagree on a number of matters of polity and theology and practice, but we all agreed that a continued association with a blogger openly living a polyamorous life would not be appropriate for the Ring.

    A question has been raised about having an opportunity to amend content on a blog. It is one thing to amend content; perhaps we have all blogged something we later thought was less discreet than we might wish to be. The problem in this case is not one post but a way of life and a self-definition in the header of the blog.

    I realize that even with further explanation there may still be disagreement with the board's decision. As the person who has monitored most of the hundreds and hundreds of applications over the past two years, I take full responsibility for creating the hurtful circumstances by not checking the blog description more thoroughly and asking for input from either the board or the blog contributors before allowing admission to the Ring. The first questions raised came as soon as the blog entered the Ring, and the board has been grappling with the matter ever since.

    I hope this helps.

  6. Thank you all for your care and concern….Knowing how committed you are to harmony and inclusion, I appreciate that your decision was not taken lightly in any way...indeed, I suspect there was considerable personal pain involved. But I think you were right to do as you did.
    While each of us as individuals longs to reach out, to include and welcome …and we've surely all had our journeys enriched by others whose viewpoints and understandings are very different from our own…the the bottom line is that those of us who are in full-time professional ministry have to stay within the margins of our denomination's rules or risk losing homes and liveliehoods....There are first order issues on which we are surely called to challenge inherited beliefs. I can envisage causes for which I’d be willing to resign my living,…but much though I love and value blogging, and my membership of revgals, I don’t feel that membership of a webring is one of those.
    I’m confident that any and all of the Board would be personally happy to befriend and support anyone on their faith journey…and that in excluding the blogger concerned from the ring they were not offering personal condemnation of her. Surely what they were doing was suggesting that some of her associations were pushing the boundaries of general understanding of Christianity too far.
    It’s that great piece of Pauline advice…If something is going to trouble those for whom we have a care (and I know I’m not the only revgal whose congregation knows she blogs and belongs to the ring) then we need, as individuals and as a group, to set that behaviour aside for their benefit. In webring terms, that translates, however uncomfortably, as listening and responding to the concerns of those who felt that the blog in question didn't belong in the ring. Sometimes public responsibility and personal feelings conflict, and I guess this is one such time.
    I value my revgalblogpals so much, and am grateful for all who make membership of the ring such an enriching delight. Love and prayers to all, - specially those who are hurting, whether within or outside the ring.

  7. Songbird,

    Thank you. I appreciate the extended disclosure. It was very generous of you. While I'm still a bit anxious about the precedent (especially with regard to our GLBT members, who would not be accepted in many of our denominations), I am very grateful for your thoughtfulness of response.

  8. Mrs M - I know you weren't addressing me, but I'd just want to say publicly that for me an inclusive church that welcomes and affirms GBLT Christians IS quite definitely a first order issue for which I'd go to the stake if I had I watch developments within the Anglican Communion with anxiety.

  9. Thank you Songbird and others for the further clarity. In both the post and the comments I can sense the pain and sadness this decision caused both for the blogger and for the board.

    Peace be with all of us.

  10. Katherine, that was a wonderful post. I can't say it better. So I will just say

    What Kathryn said. Ditto from me.

    Just as church leaders and pastors have to make decisions without always disclosing all they know-- so I believe our leadership does as well. I can accept that we are not going to know everything. I trust you, board members, to be both wise and loving. I applaud you for taking your time and then making the best decision possible.

  11. I have nothing but respect for this webring. As a long time lurker, who is working up to joining, it has enriched my life and ministry. The way in which this is being discussed is an example of all that is creative and Godly about it.

    And yet, and yet, I'm still not comfortable, I want to be, but I'm not.

    Firstly, someone has been hurt by this decision, hurt for being herself, for being open, honest and vulnerable, and then being rejected by a community who originally offered acceptance in the name of Christ. And even by saying that, I'm conscious that I am probably hurting others who don't deserve to be hurt. It's messy, but I suppose what makes me uncomfortable is that everyone could move on and see the excluded blogger as collateral damage in the learning experience of such a bold new venture.

    My second area of discomfort is less emotive. I don't get this question of people's livelihoods being at risk because they belong to (an ever-expanding) webring where some people have life styles that their denominations can't approve of. Surely just coming into contact with different viewpoints can't be grounds for dismissal ? I can quite see that if I were to post on my own blog that polyamory is OK then I would be subject to my church's disciplinary procedures, but just reading a blog about it ...? Can someone explain how that could threaten their 'career' ?

    Doesn't the internet add a whole new set of challenges for us ? The peace that passes all understanding to all those who are hurting and struggling with this.

  12. Rachel, There are churches where "guilt by association" is a way of life not an axiom. In those churches, the jump to conclusions and assumptions could create or increase conflict. I know a clergywoman who was subject to a modern day witch hunt based on comments that were intentionally sought by a church member who did not like her. Within six months, the conflict had grown to the extent that she had to leave the church. I read her original comments. They weren't "that" controversial. She actually had a very traditional position but her lack of "condemnation" of behavior that the church member considered a sin was the "evidence" used against her. I can only imagine what might have happened to her over an issue like this one. Don't underestimate the ability of angry church members to oust preachers.

  13. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful posts on this sensitive issue. I really do appreciate the conversation...

    However, I also wonder about the pain involved for both Kate and the matriarchs. I wish, since this began as a private matter between Kate and the matriarchs, that various responses to this could have been discussed out of the public sphere. I would appreciate if the ring could state a process for such matters to be discussed, a process that encourages, perhaps, emailing concerns to the webmaster. That way we can have a forum for conversation with out comments entering into another forum, like the birthday celebration. I found it very disconcerting to have these comments left on that post because I had no idea what was going on, it left me feeling like I was lurking on a private, and clearly distressed, issue.

    My point is, I want us to have a way to discuss and share our thoughts. There is much to be learned from one another. I would just like us to have an appropriate forum for doing this. If such a conversation really needs to be brought to all of us then a post that discusses it directly, as this one does, can be used. Otherwise, I'd encourage us to use the webmaster email (or some other stated means) to share our thoughts and concerns, if that works for the webmaster...

    Obviously I am not commenting on the issue, but on the process for responding to the issue.

  14. I think I like what mompriest said. I felt the same....did not know what was happening, did not want to take sides, and feeling that it was the wrong place to comment...what about just email?

  15. I'm in agreement on that one, as well. When I read those comments, I had the sense that I was the only one who didn't know, and frankly, it made me more curious about the matter than I would have been otherwise. I guess the commenters felt unheard, otherwise? I certainly wouldn't want to contribute to someone feeling unheard, but it does seem like the moderator email is the appropriate place to take an issue. If that seems unacceptable, maybe a conflicts/suggestions thread? I don't know. Maybe I'm just too much of a midwesterner at heart, avoiding conflict whenever possible.

  16. I'll speak here as as member of the board, but not for the board, just for myself:

    Some bloggers did e-mail the board directly, some with questions, some with notes of concern, some with notes of prayer. Those e-mails were responded to directly by various members of the board.

    In no circumstance, however, did I want to discuss publicly a private matter. It seemed unfair to ask a blogger to take the code off her blog, then discuss her in a public forum. I have no quarrel with anyone discussing it on her/his personal blog--that is a blogger's prerogative.

    Perhaps many of us have been blogging so long that we have forgotten that this forum is completely public-anyone with a computer and an internet connection can read what we put here. I as a board member was trying to take that seriously.

    I am truly sorry that that caused confusion.

  17. Clarification to the above: the board did end up having to discuss the situation publicly, which I did agree to as a board member. But please understand, I feel as if we were backed into a corner.

  18. Actually, I did email, but never got a response. If I had received one, I might have refrained from posting publicly.

    However, if a member is removed while appearing to meet the guidelines, I think it's reasonable there be a public request to clarify the guidelines.

  19. My hope is not to avoid conflict, in case anyone thinks thats what I, at the risk of over-talking this (sorry) I'll just clarify:

    Conflict, discussing areas of confusion and disagreement is healthy and allows room (hopefully) for the Spirit to speak to everyone.

    My feeling is that conflicted conversations need to be managed by both parties in an appropriate setting, otherwise we just end up letting our anxiety bleed into others and places where it isn't helpful.

    I feel the folks who knew about the issue, and were concerned, needed an appropriate forum to expresss themselves to the matriarchs, a forum that was not so public. And I feel the matriarchs needed a way to respond that was not so public. Allowing that to happen perserves everyones dignity and perhaps allows for a gracious change of heart, perhaps a conversation that is not pressured and "backed into a corner." At the very least it enables the leadership to hear concerns in a thoughtful way and have some time to process and think about policy matters. (I'm not suggesting what should or should not have been done, only about process).

    In the parish my leadership team and I may make decisions for the well being of the whole that are not explicitly shared with the whole. (One can always find our actions in the posted minutes of the meeting, if one cared to read them). If someone learned about such a decision and had a concern about it I would hope that person would come to me and discuss it, or any other member of the leadership team. I would not want them to stand up in the middle of worship or coffee hour and announce their concern.

    So, yes, some forum, emails, or a comment thread, would be helpful. And a stated policy that asks people to take concerns to that forum. And, then if it seems best to bring it to the public as a whole, then a post like this one is useful.

    I suspect this has been very challenging for many people. I pray we continue to love in all generosity and openess of Spirit, but also undertand that boundaries are needed for every community and person.

    This is a great community and I remain grateful for all of you.

  20. Given that the discussion had already been taken public, the board needed time to discuss how and where to respond. As the person who handles most of the email (and who was offline from mid-Wednesday to mid-Friday), I did not feel it was my place to answer individually, but needed to clarify with the board our response.
    One of the persistent difficulties in operating the ring has been the assumption that there are people out here doing nothing BUT operating the ring. I have received offended emails from applicants whose code has not been activated within hours of adding it to their blogs, for instance. Nothing related to the web ring is automated. Everything is done by hand. There is an effort to be timely, but it is not always possible. In this case, we determined to wait until Monday and give the same response to everyone at the same time, rather than to respond on Friday night, when readership is considerably lower.
    Again, by the time we were reading private e-mails, the discussion had gone public, and the need became to clarify how to respond in public.

  21. Mrs. M, who did you email? I do not see any mail from you in the RevGalBlogPals Inbox. I have personally checked through the spam box as well, since some emails have landed there recently.

  22. Clearly I need to apologize for my own misunderstanding. So many e-mails were flying back and forth, so many blogs were getting comments that I have misspoken in my claim that all e-mails were responded to. (I spent pretty much my entire day off on Friday dealing with this in one capacity or another.)

    I apologize--no deception was intended. I was just plain wrong. I hope this will not detract from the way the board was trying to handle this in good faith.

  23. Yikes, I'm in this post a little more than I'd like to be, but I wanted to reply to Songbird's question-- I have an email to in my sent box, saying it went out at 3ish on Wednesday.

    I do really appreciate the fact that this webring is quite a lot of work for the board. I also appreciate the thoughtful manner in which you've responded. I agree with the blogger who said it might be helpful to have an alternate forum for questions or concerns.

  24. Praying for us all, that we learn what it is to be "an open table set for a diverse group of people."

    In continuing sorrow,


  25. Being open and diverse does not mean that everything and everyone is appropriate for a clergy-based webring. Cheesehead noted that the issue was on the front end, and that the screening process for inclusion needed revision. I accept that. Boundaries are not always good, but they are not always wrong either.

  26. Since I have just returned from an out of town jaunt, I have missed out on this conversation, but I want to say, as one of the bloggers that responded to the issue on the birthday blog, asking the leadership of revgirlblogpals to reconsider, I want to at least say thank you for your thoughtful response, and for this vulnerable, respectful, difficult and important conversation. I appreciate the time, prayer, and dedication of the leadership and members and bloggers.... Prayers for healing, for for comfort, for courage and strength.

  27. Whoops. Karla Jean is karlassi, just to let you know.

  28. Once again, late to the goings on. I'm trying to make sense of all this myself. Still processing. So far it seems:

    The "recently excluded blogger" was excluded because of objectionable content in her blog. (I've read the blog. It's well written and I believe the woman to be honestly searching for a faith that will support her chosen lifestyle. Personally, I don't agree. And personally I cannot find anything anywhere historically or scripturally to back up her choice of lifestyle. Given that, I also cannot judge her. Because Jesus himself was all inclusive and wants us to follow suit.)

    RGBP has admitted that this content was always there but not carefully enough screened. (Well, golly ned, an organization run by human beings. Mistakes are going to happen. This blessed organization has grown faster than anyone dreamed. Growing pains will occur. Feelings will be hurt. I trust the leadership and I trust that they will prayerfully seek to make appropriate changes to accommodate the group's growth.)

    Questions about guidelines have arisen and requests for clarification are on the table. (That's a fair request. Every person and every group needs boundaries. Yes, yes, I know Jesus did not have boundaries and when we're like him we won't either. Till that time we have to do the best with what we have and give faithful regard to all. RGBP is a group created by and for women pastors and their friends. These women pastors have callings and jobs in human constructs called churches. By participating in this group, they are still held to the standards of their church. It's not recreation here. It's an extension of call, as I see it. Those of us who are friends are participating in more of a personal sense. I pray for this particular woman's path to Jesus. And it is sad that she feels understandably hurt and excluded. I believe the decision was not personal. But the end result is personal. Not sure how to deal with that. )

    Controversy seems to swirl over judgements voiced that RGBP is no longer "open and inclusive". (This is really hard for me to sort through. While I clearly disagree with the excluded blogger's choice of lifestyle and find it dissonant with scripture, I also feel convicted by Jesus' call that we invite everyone. And in doing so, that's our witness.)

    This is really hard. Sorry to blather on. I support the decision of the board and appreciate the forum for everyone to air their views.

  29. Wow!
    I'm relatively new to the world of blogs and the RevGals, but not to the world of the church. I know that this issue touches many people in important ways, personally, theologically, and professionally. And in the midst of trying to sort all of that out, I just want to point out that, from what I've read, you have succeeded at something that few groups even try. People are really listening to each other. There are comments from bloggers who have read and digested comments from points of view that they ardently disagree with on both sides of this tension. This is a human creation and it's not perfect, but there's a lot that is very good here. Thank you for that.

  30. Um, just a question. Where in the Bible is multiple marriage banned? Many of the patriarchs had more than one wife. Moses had more than one wife. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, had a co-wife.

    Jesus spoke out against divorce, but not against multiple marriage that I can find. And it was present in his world, so he would have had plenty of material had he wished to speak out against it.

    I am more than willing to be corrected if I am wrong, but I would love to hear the justification for saying that this is beyond the limits of fellowship.

  31. I'm late to the party, I know.

    I've found RGBP to be a loving, supportive community. I value this circle very much. Yet the exclusion of Kate is deeply troubling.

    Kate's words are Kate's, not mine, not any of the board members'. Each of us would, and surely have, posted things that others disagree with. Why would her mere presence as a ring member implicate anyone else?

    Jesus calls us to love. I don't see that, in her exclusion from the ring.

  32. I appreciate the way everyone is talking respectfully about this issue. I am personally against polyamory, although I hear the comment "where in the Bible is it banned?"
    I agree that we need to have boundaries. However do we do that? I mean, I don't stand at the church with a questionnaire regarding particular sins.
    but this isn't a church.
    I particularly like the way that Presbyterian Gal has stated it.
    Now I'm rambling.
    It's also hard because most of us don't see each other face to face.
    Prayers for discernment...continue.

  33. Hi Plain Foolish:
    I also cannot find anywhere in scripture that multiple marriage is banned. But Kate does not seem to be seeking marriage to her two current boyfriends with whom she is having sex. Her experiences as she writes them suggest that she seeks a lifestyle of sexual expression with men, women or groupings thereof, in a serial fashion. But not in a significantly long term commited sense. Giving it a brand new label like "polyamory" does not make it marriage. While, at the same time she is seeking Jesus' path for herself. My opinions on her choices are moot. However, because she is vocal and up front about these choices, she has thereby set herself up for inclusion and/or exclusion in any number of human constructs (groups or societies, if you will) whether or not they are of her own choosing. That's what happens in societies when one is vocal about matters traditionally held to be private. Sexual or otherwise.

    It's an interesting challenge she is presenting to society's existing "envelope" labeling on sexual expression in relationship. And it points to one of the elephants sitting in our Christian living rooms. Sex. And it's a huge elephant. If anyone knows of any impartial, scholarly, in depth scriptural study on this subject, I would love to read it.

    But for RevGals, in this intance, I am saddened by the misunderstandings and harsh judgments tossed by other bloggers, not RGBP, in a manner that I find to be far more exculsionary, judgmental, and just mean spirited, than what has transpired here. I believe that the matriarchs have dealt with this prayerfully and responsively based on their discernment of God's will for the group.

    I pray for light and calmheadedness to ensue. And that no one else will resign.

  34. I continue to struggle with this decision, because my sisters and brothers in Christ are in pain... I do not know what to think... Blessings to all.

  35. Hmmm. Presbyterian Gal, I read her intentions and behavior significantly differently. She has written about the pain of her recent divorce and the difficulties of her current committment. She has written about the fear that they would be reviled at the hospital, when one of her companions became ill. She has not once written about seeking sexual expression outside that relationship. Nor has she written that she expects this relationship to be short-term.

    Given her recent divorce, she is doing her best to prove to herself, difficult though it is, that she can live independently, neither with her parents nor with the Beloved.

    Nor, I will remind you, is she likely to easily find someone to marry them. Legally, of course, such a relationship would have to lose one person, specifically one of the men, in the state she lives in to be formally recognized. My brother may not legally marry his beloved unless they move to Massachusetts or overseas. Prior to Loving v. Virginia, my husband and I would have been prohibited from marrying in many states, since he is of European descent and I am of mixed descent. And religiously, of course, many will not accept her. She knows that.

    She did not, however, expect to be first welcomed then rejected. It hurts, as you obviously know since you deplore people leaving RGBP. I see no reason to believe that those who have left did not approach such a decision prayerfully, doing their best to discern God's Will in their lives. When the line is drawn between those "inside" and those "outside", some will always choose the outside in solidarity with those not allowed to choose. There was a preacher from the hills of Judea once who did that.

    I sincerely hope you did not mean to include me among the "mean-spirited" bloggers. I also have been attempting to discern God's Will for me, not merely in this discussion, but in my life. One of the reasons I waited for a while before posting my request was that I sat with the question for a while before posting. Only when my conscience reproached me for my silence did I speak.

  36. Here is what I understand to have happened:
    (1) The board was only recently formulated, and its policies have been unclear.
    (2) It sounds like there were no formal accusation or request for removal from non-board members, merely complaints.
    (3) It does not sound like there was discussion with Kate.
    (4) It is not clear how the decision was made. Standards were not formulated and how many of the matriarchs voted is unclear.
    (5) The rational for exclusions have been multiple, but primarily (a) that it would lead to guilt by association for some of the other 300 bloggers, and (b) that it is about a problematic lifestyle.
    (6) There was no means listed for reinstatement, which is a central concept of Christian justice and discipline.

    Problematic aspects of this:
    (1) Many people have indicated that the process and rationale for exclusion needs to be clarified.
    (2) Guilt by association and lifestyle are really crappy reasons to remove someone. My guess is that RGBP is 20-30% GLBT. Probably an equal number are divorced. There are numerous members with “questionable lifestyles.” There are 300 bloggers. Most of you are on blog sites owned by major transnational companies that do a lot of nasty stuff internationally. My own thought is that it is that having more bloggers protects you: when you have hundreds of people, of course they will behave in different ways. Guilt by association: not such a good rationale.

    But who knows, maybe you on your way to a RevGalPals US, an Associated RevGalPals, a RevGalPals in America, a United RevGalPals, a RevGalPals Missouri Synod, and a RevGalPals Southern Convention. There are lots of possibilities in your future.

    So, I think an apology and major change is in order. Jon

  37. Presbyterian Gal wrote: "Her experiences as she writes them suggest that she seeks a lifestyle of sexual expression with men, women or groupings thereof, in a serial fashion. But not in a significantly long term commited sense. Giving it a brand new label like "polyamory" does not make it marriage. While, at the same time she is seeking Jesus' path for herself. My opinions on her choices are moot. However, because she is vocal and up front about these choices, she has thereby set herself up for inclusion and/or exclusion in any number of human constructs (groups or societies, if you will) whether or not they are of her own choosing. That's what happens in societies when one is vocal about matters traditionally held to be private. Sexual or otherwise."
    I hear two potentially dangerous problems in some of the assumptions I see in this (which are implicit in the rest of your comment).
    First, there is an underlying assumption that sex outside of marriage is wrong, sinful perhaps even. This is not a bad statement, and certainly in keeping with one school of Christian tradition. However, this practice would lead to the exclusion of many other RevGals I suspect and seeking to enforce it would be (in my mind) an invasion of privacy.
    Second, you imply that if Kate had not been open about her sexual behavior this wouldn't be a problem. I may be wrong, but if she had been less open, it just wouldn't have been a problem you all knew about. I, perhaps naively, tend to think that people who hide things believe on some level that what they are doing is wrong.
    I'm not trying to accuse or corner you personally Presbyterian Gal and I'm sorry if that's what this seems like. I'm posting this here instead of discussing this issue with you on your blog because I suspect that many other people have similar thoughts.
    I think that Jon may be on to something, although I hope that the idea of many different RevGals isn't where this group ends up. We already deal with enough division.

  38. Why does your banner read "All are welcome"? Is that merely as readers, or is it time for this blog to have a new banner?

  39. YMP:

    "First, there is an underlying assumption that sex outside of marriage is wrong, sinful perhaps even"

    Well, yes. It is considered sinful. Just as so many other things that all of us do every day because we are human. Affairs of married people are sinful. And lots of Christian people have them. And more sins of all shapes and sizes. That's why I said it was the gigantic unacknowedged elephant in the living room . For RGBP, I'm not on the board. I didn't vote. And I don't have all the information that they had. I am sure that there is more than what was presented publicly. It's a new organization that's still defining itself and it's boundaries.

    As human animals we will ALWAYS organize into groups. That's our nature. We're pack animals. There will always be exclusion and inclusion. That doesn't make it right or wrong. The fallout and how we respond is another matter. But the judgment of this should not be hurtful or condemning. If there's a point of view that was not thoughtfully regarded herein (which we cannot know, not being on the board and privy to the process that made this decision), insults and judgmental exhortations are simply going to shut the ears of those exhorted even tighter. And that's human nature as well. If those of us in RGBP did not like this decision, the invitation to join the board has been made. And if we want to change things, that's the avenue to do it. Again, it's a new ring. Growing pains are going to happen.

    On the other hand, there has been plenty of vitriolic exclusion (not on your part or Plain Foolish herein) and judgemental comments made by those critical of this decision. Being called "cows", "mean", "jealous because we don't get all the good sex that Kate does (paraphrased)", told that everyone in the group "better watch out", etc. is not helping anyone and does not move anything forward. And it also does Kate a disservice as well, as these comments come from people claiming to support "her side". This has caused me personal hurt. Because when the insults fly, I feel them directed at me, whether or not they are because they are lobbed at the entire group. And I have to wonder why is that hurt judged to be less than the hurt that Kate has experienced. And why are those who have made these insults judged above culpability, while RGBP is condemned for a decision made. Behind "closed doors" yes, but that's how the ladies who donate hours of their time are currently running things. Again (and again), it's a new ring and the invitation to change it has been extended by the very ladies who made the decision. I personally find that more than fair.

    " I, perhaps naively, tend to think that people who hide things believe on some level that what they are doing is wrong."
    Polyamory is considered wrong in most societal and certainly most Christian circles. Rightly or wrongly. Perhaps Kate is way ahead of her time and the brave bell ringer for bringing on the change to society for a new Christian Sexual Order. But the majority of us are not there. And I find it disingenuous that anyone would be surprised by this. And it seems to me that the reactions to the fallout here are not helping further the cause at all. Kate is doing this openly and it is therefore, not "wrong". The RGBP made their decision in secret and it is therefore "wrong"? I do not follow the logic of this. Al Quaida believes that our society's lifestyle is completely wrong and has chosen a solution, openly and without secret, of annhilation of all of us. They do not feel they are wrong. Do you? I don't want my family to know what they're getting for Christmas. So I hide the gifts. Is that wrong? I hide my medications from my son so he won't take them by accident. Is that wrong? I am now making decisions for my mother that will impact the rest of her life because she is overwhelmed and not able to participate without great stress. Is that wrong? My doing these things is "in hiding" and I do not, on any level, feel they are wrong.

    With this particular situation, I find it's all part of growing pains and life. And grace. And forgiveness. If this decision turns out to be 'wrong', then doesn't it behoove everyone to learn from it and move on so that everyone grows: a new organization that has supported and helped hundreds AND one woman who is struggling with lifestyle choices and faith?

    I truly wish the insults would stop. They are needlessly hurtful and very small minded. I really want to understand the other point of view. But frankly, I don't want it shoved down my throat with acid comments.

    I thank you and Plain Foolish for expressing your views politely and honestly. I appreciate your respectful forthrightness.

    I'm done commenting on this. It's taken a toll on me and I have family issues to deal with. I wish everyone well. And if anything I've said is found offensive or explosive or "sinful", then Father bless me, for I too have sinned. Unknowingly perhaps, but there you go.

  40. Presbyterian Gal, I think part of the problem here is the idea that the Board must have knowlege that they are not sharing. I personally cannot imagine what that information could be, other than a knowlege of where the Board is drawing the line for inclusion in the group.

    Kate does not lock her blog, nor any of her posts. What is on her blog is there for anyone who cares to look to see. That fact is what concerned me deeply about your earlier characterization of her behavior and intentions, since she has publicly posted information to the contrary, indeed, had done so earlier than the comment in question.

    If the information that is not being shared is in the nature of a clarification of what is and is not acceptable for membership in the group, I think it's important to bring that information into the light of day. Otherwise, as we have seen, some will wonder when their turn to be excluded will come.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.