Reinventing Church

Every 500 years more or less, the church goes through upheavals. Now is our time for the upheaval. The first period might have been Constantine. Yes it was in the 300s and the Islamic revolution hit in the late 600s. Then there was Charlemagne around 800. And the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. Here we are in the 21st century following (or perhaps in the middle of) a devastating pandemic.

What will the church be going forward?

I would like to share with you three ideas about a possible response to that question.

  1. The church of the 21st century will not be a building. It will not be a staff. It will not be a rector or clergy leader. It will be people. As an encyclical from the second Vatican council stated, the work of the church will be the “full, active, conscious, participation of all the people of God.” Church will no longer be a passive spectator sport. It will be involvement and engagement. We do not go to heaven because of our good works on earth. But we can no longer depend on other people to do the work of Christ. Everyone must get involved.
  2. The church of the 21st century will be a moral witness for good. If our bishops and priests can convey and teach the Word of God, the church will stand up and challenge lies, falsehoods, conspiracy theories and crazy stuff that oppresses people. Jesus did that. So should we. This does not mean the church sides with a political party. But it does mean that when outright lies are promulgated to advance a political agenda, the church must oppose it. Otherwise, “silence gives consent.” If the church remains silent in its call to confront lies, then we are consenting to them.
  3. The church of the 21st century will confront the fundamentalist nonsense of the past century. Fundamentalism has damaged Christianity and the world in countless ways. If our bishops don’t confront this insane heresy, then scholars and lay people will. The bible is not a textbook of science, history, and geology without error. It is a narrative story of the relationship of different people to a God of love. The church of the future will see that fundamentalist churches are terrific mission fields for developing real Christian faith in diverse communities like Grace.

I will do what I can to help launch the church of the 21st century. I invite you to help. God bless you in your faith and your love.

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