Out of the Ashes of This Present Insanity the Phoenix of a ‘Church That Lives’ Can Arise

‘The Church is Dead, Long Live the Church!’ ###### Around five years ago I wrote the following paragraph as an introduction to a booklet I was writing at the time. ‘Up to some point on that icy, dark north Atlantic night in 1912, on the SS Titanic’s fatal journey towards the notorious iceberg, there remained … Continue reading Out of the Ashes of This Present Insanity the Phoenix of a ‘Church That Lives’ Can Arise

Fiddling While Souls Burn

Again in the last few months a couple of people I know (one a close friend, another who I meet fairly regularly) have been diagnosed with terminal, or probably terminal cancer. This caused me to focus again on the issues in this previous post, concerns so serious in regard to the church and its ever decreasing missional effectiveness to those who have the Damoclean Sword of being without Christ hanging over their heads, that I thought it worth re-posting.

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In recent weeks I have learned that two long-time friends, both younger than me, have received a diagnosis of Cancer. Either too late to be effectively treated or of a type of Cancer with an average survival rate of less than two years.

These events have sharply highlighted the ‘Damoclean Sword’ of death that constantly hangs over all of our heads, whatever form it takes- sickness, a road accident or just the inevitable falling night of old age. For all of us this is the end of that brief mist between eternity and eternity we call life, the inevitable prelude to the swinging open of the gate of death. Then what?

Jesus answer to that question is that every human is journeying along one of two roads – the wide road that leads to destruction or the narrow road that leads to (eternal) life (Matthew 7:13,14).

This ‘Damoclean Sword’ meditation caused me to think which of those two roads are my friends on. For one I am sure it is the narrow road, for the other, a very nominal church member I am not so sure. Bigger than that-what about my family and other friends? What about the millions of Australians who are stumbling in darkness along the wide road that leads to the horror of an eternity without God.

With this terrible horizon waiting to greet the millions around us without Christ, should not our love from God and our love for God drive us to put all our efforts into gospel mission, so that with the Apostle Paul we “May possibly save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22)?

But what do we actually see? We see the Church ‘fiddling’. Fiddling with issues of varying importance such as women bishops, ‘same sex’ marriage, the preservation of old buildings and rituals but which are actually secondary to our Gospel mandate. This while millions of souls journey towards the, no doubt metaphorical but no less terrible, ‘burning’ of the ‘Second death” and “the lake of fire” (Revelation 21:8).

We see the church fiddling with missionally ineffective strategies of yesteryear, ever fiddling in a bondage to idolatries of form and ritual, of ‘comfortable’ Christianity which refuses to pay the cost of the discipleship that Jesus calls us to- while the ‘Rome’ of western society ‘burns’.

There is an urgency for the church to be ‘Unbound’, set free from its current captivities, to turn its still considerable resources to the mission into the pagan darkness of the lost. To let go of our beloved forms and traditions for the sake of the lost, to pay the price that the King made clear is His demand, without which we “Cannot be His disciple”. To show love for all those blissfully unaware of the ‘Sword of Damocles’ hanging over their head.

This is actually what ‘loving our neighbour is’.

unbounded church

In recent weeks I have learned that two long-time friends, both younger than me, have received a diagnosis of Cancer. Either too late to be effectively treated or of a type of Cancer with an average survival rate of less than two years.

These events have sharply highlighted the ‘Damoclean Sword’ of death that constantly hangs over all of our heads, whatever form it takes- sickness, a road accident or just the inevitable falling night of old age. For all of us this is the end of that brief mist between eternity and eternity we call life, the inevitable prelude to the swinging open of the gate of death. Then what?

Jesus answer to that question is that every human is journeying along one of two roads – the wide road that leads to destruction or the narrow road that leads to (eternal) life (Matthew 7:13,14).

This ‘Damoclean Sword’ meditation…

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It’s Buses and Bus Drivers We Need Not Bikes!

“Is it not time to stop trying to fix the broken bike and look for another form of transport?” This is a quote from letter to the editor of a Church Newspaper a few years ago that I have used in a number of documents because I think it is a useful analogy for one … Continue reading It’s Buses and Bus Drivers We Need Not Bikes!

The Next Reformation

There is a failure “to in fact go deep enough to examine, much less challenge, deep-rooted ideas about what church is” As almost everyone will know, even if only from a brief glimpse on a news bulletin, that this year is the 500th anniversary of what is known as the Reformation. This was the time … Continue reading The Next Reformation

Leadership of a Star Trek Kind

There is a story about Air Chief Marshall Dowding commander of British Fighter Command during the critical stages of the Battle of Britain in World War 2. Reportedly, an officer rushed up to Dowding with what he thought was exciting news regarding the number of the enemy shot down on the previous day. “That’s good”, … Continue reading Leadership of a Star Trek Kind

Fiddling While Souls Burn

Again in the last few months a couple of people I know (one a close friend, another who I meet fairly regularly) have been diagnosed with terminal, or probably terminal cancer. This caused me to focus again on the issues in this previous post, so serious concerns re the church and its ever decreasing missional … Continue reading Fiddling While Souls Burn

When the Bough Breaks

There is a man sitting on a bough of a tree. The Tree is very, very old, some think perhaps two thousand years. The Tree is the source of the branch, from small bud grown to a mighty bough, battered and blasted by centuries of gales a plenty but sturdy and undefeated. Larger growing, season … Continue reading When the Bough Breaks

It’s Groundhog day – Again!

One of my favourite movies is Groundhog Day. This is the story of a man (‘Phil’ played by Bill Murray) who is trapped in a repeated cycle of having to live the same day over and over again. This is even to the detail of getting his foot soaked in the same puddle every morning! … Continue reading It’s Groundhog day – Again!

Winning The War But Losing the Peace

I turn on the radio and tune in to a news channel, then another and another, but all of them, the TV channels too, are covering the same story- ANZAC Day, 25th April. This is the Australian and New Zealand equivalent of what in the United Kingdom is ‘Remembrance Day’ on November the 11th. It … Continue reading Winning The War But Losing the Peace

The Resurrection and the Outbreak of War

I woke up on Easter morning, the day of all days when we celebrate the resurrection of the Christ the Son of God, the greatest event in history. It is the day we rejoice in God’s victory over sin and death, the forgiveness of sins, the removal of our guilt and the promise of eternal … Continue reading The Resurrection and the Outbreak of War