I have great respect and affection for many of you at APTS (I received both my graduate degrees there), but I wish you had crafted your recent letter differently. Asking my sisters and brothers in Christ who are part of the LGBTQ community to linger with the issue of marriage equality until those in doubt are convinced is unjust. I do not know what others have done, but I have been informing and educating my congregation for ten years. I pastor in Oklahoma, and you do not get much “redder” than that. We have been studying scripture, meeting “out” gay people, encouraging them to be part of our church family, loving one another. There are still some doubts, but we are ready for this change.
After reading your letter one gay man who is part of our church family said to me, “I see APTS is not throwing me under the bus. Instead they are asking me in Christian kindness to throw MYSELF under the bus for the time being until the whole denomination is ready for whatever is left of me to come out??” I said to my brother in Christ, “Yes, and it appears they are asking me to smile and help you stay under there.”
I am a GA commissioner from Cimarron Presbytery, I will vote as the Spirit leads me, and I trust I will act in love and forbearance. I will also say gently, in love—I am very disappointed in your letter.
Rev. Dr. Judye Pistole, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church
628 Church Street