I have written previously of the fact that I believe in the church we have a Crisis. I use this word in the sense that we are at a point in the life of the church in Australia when we will go one of two ways, continued decline or revival, in the same way as it is said of a patient with a life threatening fever that they come to a point of ‘crisis’ from which point they either decline to death or recover to life.
I believe that this crisis can be called a ‘Subterranean Crisis’, that is one that is really hidden as though underground, because it is not talked about sufficiently, in fact not at all in terms of our situation being a Crisis. In fact there seems to be a lack of any sense of urgency of there being a Crisis at all.
This atmosphere of ‘Crisislessness’ David Bosch describes as “a dangerous delusion”.
Year by year we watch annual conferences, annual synods etc come and go. There is much talk about mission, new ‘Missions’ are announced, mission reports are written but nothing substantially changes. ‘More of the same’ is the order of the day rather than the need for reinvention and the ‘Unbinding’ of the church from its failing forms. Statistics show sometimes plateau but more often decline. The ‘patient’s’ vital signs become less ‘vital’, there is a Crisis but few really notice, it is not really a topic of impassioned concern. As elsewhere described it is a ‘Sleep walking into the iceberg’ while the church parties on.
There is no doubt that we are at a hinge point in history as far as the Australian (western) church is concerned, yes a turning point in the life of the church, indeed a point of Crisis. From this point what will the departure be, resurrection to life or a fading to an unremarked, slow ecclesial death?