Reactions to the passage of Amendment 10-A have in large part reflected the division of the vote. Many have cheered its passage, while others have bemoaned it. What is interesting and somewhat surprising is that the debate appears not to have boiled over, at least not yet. To be sure, feelings are running high, but so far both sides have acted with considerable restraint. Supporters of 10-A have spoken graciously about their hopes that those on the other side will stay, and opponents have not, at least not yet, headed for the door en masse. What should we make of this? Is it a hopeful sign of a new day or are Presbyterians simply acting pragmatically?
I want to suggest that competing visions of the church forged in the debate over ordination are now informing the prevailing restraint. In the next months these visions will be tested and perhaps transformed, and in the process they may help remake the PC(USA) and perhaps AmericanProtestantism more broadly. The competing ecclesiastical visions are 1) the church as a community of hospitality and 2) the church as the antithesis to the world. To see the power of these visions we need first return to their interpretations of 10-A, then to the current restraint, and finally to some future possibilities.