If you are following Anglican current affairs, then you will know the importance of what is happening in New Orleans at the moment. I’m not planning on filling you in on that here, you can find all about it on good sites like T19 and SF.
What I’d like to do is consider the question – what next? It seems to me that as September draws to a close so we have reached a kairos moment, a tipping point if you will. Short of a deep heart turnaround, also known as ‘repentance’ there was only ever going to be two outcomes – costly discipline in the Anglican Communion, or even more costly anarchy.
At this stage it appears the one man who could have made a stand, and a choice, in this whole debacle has failed to do so. I am of course talking about Archbishop Rowan Williams, who holds a position of moral leadership, and who could have presented the choices that TEC needed to make, with appropriate consequences. Instead, it seems he has attempted to kick the whole thing down-field again.
When is a deadline not a deadline? When an Anglican Archbishop attempts to nuance the meaning, apparently. The time for talking, for dialogue, has come, and gone. More talking will not achieve anything. All Archbishop Williams has done is to refuse the position of leadership that he has. The consequences will follow.
And, it is the consequences that I really want to talk about in this post. Likely we will see an absolute mess as a result of this and it will take many years for it all to settle out. The trouble is, so many of us have been in this fight for so long, that the fight is all we know. What happens after the dust clears and whatever part of the immediate battle we are in is over?
What are we fighting for? Is it sometimes true that we are defined as opposition to our enemies? I can see plenty of examples of that on both sides of the fence. We fight for Christian orthodoxy – yes so, and it is a laudable aim. But more? Are we looking towards the status quo – bring it back to the way it used to be?
I do not think, in all honesty, that we can ever go back to being the way we used to be. We were brought through the fire in the valley of decision for other purposes. Cast your eyes about, and you see other denominations engaged in similar battles. Why? So that they, as well as we, may make decisions, choose our ground if you will. You can’t stay in the valley – you choose to ascend the mountain of the world, or the mountain of Christ.
The choice is the key – that is what we are about at this time. Our Lord is bringing a people, His inheritance, together at this time for His purposes. There are other things afoot, there are changes coming. He needs His Church to be ready for the coming times. So it is that we are forced through the valley of decision, that we might choose.
The time of choice will not last forever, by His mercy it has been extended as long as it has. Eventually all will be forced to choose – for you cannot serve God and mammon both.
Eventually the tidal wave of judgment, mercy, persecution and revival will sweep our land and the only ones who will withstand are those with both feet planted on the Rock. If we are ready – we will withstand and then shine like beacons in the gathering gloom, gathering a harvest even in the bleakest times. Do you not see it? It is coming, coming so very, very soon.
This would be my counsel, to look beyond what is currently at hand and see what the Lord is making us to be. Look beyond denominational strife to see the Church arise. For, we will be both bright and terrible to the darkness, shining light, being light, rescuing those who even now are far off.
Yes, look beyond, friends – look beyond the current mess and do not despair. For God is doing a mighty work, if only we have eyes to see it! The Church arises and puts on power! The belt and breastplate is fastened in to place, helmet placed on the head, shield raised for battle, sword lifted once more strong and deadly, far far more deadly than any weapon forged by man. So do not despair – all this He foreknew from long ago. All we have to do is lift up our heads, see what our Lord is doing, and do likewise. For our redemption draws nigh and the passion of the Church is at hand!