Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Years Of Struggle, Part 2

The reason I am not bummed by the coming crisis for the Church, the reason why others I know are not bummed, is because we have faith. Not a faith that means thinking everything is going to work out just fine. Listen to me now and hear me later, I do not expect God to pour money into our current system to keep it afloat. I fully expect that in many, many deep ways, the current system will be scrapped. And what will have power, what will have resources, is the plain work of the Gospel.

More than that, I am totally pumped when I think of what is coming. Sure, I can look at the pain that we will face, the continuing sense of shame and inadequacy clergy will feel as they watch what they have known and worked for slip away, or rather, just be ignored in the "marketplace of ideas."

But what keeps me going, what gets me excited is to know that apostolic times demand apostolic ministry. We are living in times that are more like what the apostles faced than at any time in 1800 years (speaking of Western Christianity). We live in a world that does not believe there is only one God or only one way of salvation. We live in a world of multivalent sexuality. A world of growing inequality between rich and poor. A world that does not believe in such a thing as truth. Yes, we live in a world Paul, John, James, and Peter would know all too well.

That's what excites me! Faithful Christians will get to have a ministry like the apostles did. Full of hardships and persecution, but also full of signs and wonders, the power of the Holy Spirit; full of bold ministry, marked by repentance and conversion. Becoming a Christian will be like having your eyes opened after years of blindness! And we will get to see and participate in that!

There is one coming reality, but multiple options.

Wait and see, and you're done.

Try to fix the finances, and you're done a bit more slowly.

Accommodate the culture, and Jesus will spit you out.

Or you can live and pass on what is of first importance, that Jesus died to save sinners and was resurrected on the third day. It's that simple, but we have not yet seen how powerful it is!

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