A Memorial for the Church

We have a choice before us. We can continue, valiantly and tragically, to try to save all the rights and privileges we have previously enjoyed. We can continue to watch our church dwindle until it someday becomes an endowed museum to the faith of our forebears. We can continue business as usual until we lose our common life entirely.

Or we can lose our life for Jesus’ sake so that we might save it.
From A Memorial to the Church

For all the discussion recently about the death of church and those fleeing the church I am not worried about the Church. The Church can never die because it is the Body of Christ. We may forget who we are but whose we are will never forget.

A group of Episcopalians have banded together to imagine what the church should and can look like; Less bureaucracy, greater emphasis in mission and church plants, and investing in the future of the church rather than maintaining the status quo.  Read their proposals here.

My friend Tom Ingram wrote in his book “The New Normal”:

“when experiencing a gradual decline in functionality: we think the problem is someone else’s problem, and we continue to think it is someone else’s problem until it becomes painfully obvious that the problem is indeed our own.”

It is too easy for The Episcopal Church to see our decline as part of a larger narrative of church decline, the result of progressive turns on human sexuality, or any of the other fights that have dogged the church over the past 30 years.

The reality is that Western Christianity has been offering something that pales in comparison to the radical faith of the Christianity found in Holy Scripture. We allowed the voices of Borg and Spong define modern Christianity at the expense of the historical, liberating faith found in the church fathers and mothers. We allowed the political beliefs of Falwell and Robertson to define us and reduce our role to chaplain of the state.

Ones belief on a limited set of issues (sex-gender relationships primarily) became our primary concern on the progressive and conservative wings of the church. The church lost its emphasis for the poor and the forgotten. The greatest agent of transformation the world has ever known, the Church, has found itself mired in questions of relevancy because we spend our time arguing about whether someone should bake a cake or not for Tom and Jim’s wedding.

The Memorial my friends offer is a starting point for the church to revitalize and remember her mission. To be faithful to the commands of our Lord who said to go into ALL the world and tell the Good News.

I encourage you to sign it. Contact your diocesan delegates and ask them to sign it.