The Church is a very human institution and this week is a very human week in the American conservative (white) church. I am thankful for voices like Tish Harrison Warren and her encouraging words of hope.
It may look tough or bleak:
Many so-called “moderate” evangelical leaders—those who hold to historic orthodoxy and traditional sexual ethics but speak out on behalf of women and racial minorities—have similar stories to tell. It feels increasingly hard to find institutions in America that aren’t knee-jerk conservative or progressive.
In the midst of this upheaval, I’ve watched friends and acquaintances leave the church, others who are in the process of “deconstructing,” and still others (including orthodox church leaders) who are deeply disheartened, even depressed, about the state of the church in the West.
But there is HOPE.
But increasingly, my hope for the church is found in words that I recite each Sunday in the Nicene Creed: We believe in the Holy Spirit.
We don’t need another policy summit or more lawyers tweaking our by-laws. We don’t need another vision statement or strategy workshops. We need the wind of the Spirit again.
I have written long and podcast wide on “Living in Babylon” and I don’t have a very good outlook for what is ahead, but that doesn’t mean I’m a pessimist! We are simply in need of a reality check in the culturalized church and we’re going kicking and screaming into that reality.
But… this is CHRIST’S Church and HIS work:
Lesslie Newbigin famously said, “I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.” Because of the resurrection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s continuing work, we cannot be pessimistic or optimistic about the church in America. Who knows what God will do? Who knows how we’ll be surprised? Our call is simply to be faithful in the small sphere we are in, in the ways we can, in the midst of uncertainty.