Barry Ensign-George and Charles Wiley, officials of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), have issued a new paper, "Our Challenging Way: Faithfulness, Sex, Ordination, and Marriage."
They defend the middle line that the denomination has taken on both gay ordination and same-sex marriage. The church recognizes both pro and con positions, and leaves it up to the conscience of local authorities to determine whether they - ministers, elders, sessions, presbyteries - will participate in authorizing same-sex actions by the church.
I have written often that this middle way is in keeping with the Presbyterian middle polity. Indeed, I have discussed this with the authors in the past.
I would only add to their paper that our polity allows presbyteries to differ from one another without threatening the unity of the denomination, not just a conscience clause allowing individual officers of the church to differ.
In particular, I commend their gentle criticism of the my-way-or-the-highway ruling on women's ordination in the 1970s 'Kenyon case'.
(I still do think that the Authoritative Interpretation of the church constitution that the General Assembly adopted this summer, in which the words "between a man and a woman" were interpreted to mean "not only between a man and a woman" is incoherent and foolish, but that is water over the dam.)