Disclaimer: I seek to be provocative. Therefore, it’s only fair that I can be challenged.
In a time, as the church, where there just seems to be so much that’s going on, so many unanswered questions, unknown paths and directions, and a constant state of worry and concern for the church’s future… Where do we even begin? How do we become unstuck and begin to move forward into the unknown that is the future of the church?
First, I’d like to say, thank you for reading. Second, I’d like to say that I do not intend for this blog to answer or fix any of those questions or to save the church. That being said… I would like to use this blog as a place to post my thoughts and perspectives on ideas that I’m hearing, on stories and scripture that capture my attention, and anything else that may call to me.
In my humble opinion, I believe the church will be going through a new “Re-formation” in the coming decade(s). To some this may come as no surprise. But, I believe now is the time for the entire church to be leveled and changed. I don’t mean that in a way to sound antagonistic or come across as an anarchist.
This state of the church reminds of Isaiah 5, when God speaks through Isaiah in a parable about a vineyard. In this parable, God plants a vineyard and does everything possible to make it grow. God chooses fertile land, digs and clears out all of the stones and brush, plants with the best vines and builds a watchtower to make sure that the vineyard is always looked after and cared for. God does everything necessary to make sure that it produces the best grapes. Nevertheless, the vineyard produces sour grapes. After all of that work… sour grapes.
God then explains that the only way to take care of this vineyard, is to level it completely… to destroy and burn it until nothing remains.
I think this thought and idea may come as a shock to many. How can we possibly level the entire church? Why would we level the entire church? I think the answer can be found in this parable in Isaiah. I believe we are doing amazing work in this church. I believe that there are such great things that come from parishioners, pastors, and bishops all around the world. But, despite all of our efforts, despite our hard work to clear the soil and plant the choicest vines, we are producing sour grapes. Our worship attendance is floundering, our programatic ministries are decreasing each day, we are closing churches left and right. Our vineyard is not producing the fruit that we expect. There is only one thing left to do with the vineyard…
If we hold on to too many of the old traditions, change will not work. God levels the vineyard because it is the only way to ensure that good grapes could come from the ashes. It has to be a new vineyard.
Now is the time to create this new vineyard. Now is the time to take our worship out of the buildings and to the streets and celebrate Eucharist (Communion) on the busiest avenues of our cities. Now is the time to lead worship services during protests and call for God’s spirit to enliven our souls so that we can make change for equal rights and privileges in this world. Now is the time leave Sunday morning behind us and bring the sabbath to our people on any day of the week, at all possible times and not force them to come to us.
Our backs are against the wall and if our trends continue, then we have nothing left to lose. Now is the time try something different. Now is the time to re-form the church for the future.
And so in this blog, I hope to keep writing about something different and trying new things. I hope to convey the radical Gospel of Jesus Christ in new or renewed ways. I hope to find a new beginning.