Does anyone know of some kind of super-handy primer / visualization of christian denominations, with some basic info about when/why/by whom the divisions occurred, and a handful of defining tenets of each?
Thats gonna get ugly. There's a small but loud group of really conservative Presbyterian Churches out there that have been clashing with the main body of Presbyterian congregations for decades (including one in my home town). There's a real trend of biblical liberalism and fundamentalism in these groups, and they preach loudly against homosexuality. Many of them (including the one in my home town) have been for on the verge of separating from the Presbytery, whether by being forcibly ejected or removing themselves in protest. I expect we're going to see lots congregations leaving, lots of backlash from conservative Christians and in the conservative press etc.
Before I clicked, I was about to say, "As long as it doesn't send me down the Wikipedia hole, I juuuuust climbed out..." Taps spelunking helmet well, if you don't see my avatar in any threads for more than a week, send someone in after me...
For a visualisation, these might help:
This one for the main branches
And this one for the main sub-branches within the protestant branch.
As for the detail, it's back to wiki, I'm afraid.
This is the best thing I have heard recently about the Presbyterians.
For the record, this is the Presbyterian Church (USA), of which my church is a member, and which is the largest denomination of Presbyterians in the U.S.
PC (USA) is committed to social justice and equality issues, and will even allow an unreformed old rascal like me to sing in the choir on Sunday mornings.
We lost about 20% of our congregation a couple of years ago when the session changed the charter's language to allow gay clergy, and I imagine we'll see a similar, but smaller, exodus now; those who feel strongly about this particular issue are probably already gone. Also, (like many denominations) those who hold regressive views are "aging out of the system," as it were, and can complain to God when they see her or him.
There's a similar showdown that just happened in Dallas; one particularly conservative congregation voted to split from the Presbyterian Church (USA), and then had to buy back their own property (church buildings, etc.), because it's owned by the presbytery, not the individual church.
They now belong to the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, a conservative, nearly fundamentalist offshoot comprised of anti-gay congregants who insist that they're not anti-gay.
I saw 70 something percent on another site; I suppose 3 to 1 sounds more overwhelming. Good for them, though.
Worth mentioning also that Matthew Vines, author of the currently controversial God & the Gay Christian, was raised Presbyterian. There's some good interview material out there with his dad detailing the challenges they went through together trying to personally navigate this particular divide.
I'm sure he wasn't this blocky when I saw him do this, but:
Get with the Unitarian Universalists and officiate at ALL same-sex weddings in ALL states!
Buh-bye! Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
Kewl! But I'd like to update it to include the Unitarians and the Universalists...
The Presbyterians are growing up. A novel and painful experience for the very religious, but dealing constructively with reality enormously improves their lives and those of their children.
I believe there already was a big split when the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) was formed by splitting off from the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA).
Here's a list of their differences: