I loved reading the Archbishops Presidential Address to Synod …. some personal highlights to draw out:
the church is not a closed system because God is involved and where he is involved there is no limit to what can happen, and no limit to human flourishing.
The love has to be demonstrated and the trust has to be earned. But the love cannot be demonstrated if it is refused and the trust cannot be earned without the iterative process of it being received and reinforced in the reception.
A church that loves those with whom the majority deeply disagree is a church that will be unpleasantly challenging to a world
When it (church) works well it works because love overcomes fear. When it works badly it is because fear overcomes love.
The speech is worth reading in its completeness …. but the above quotes are highlights for me. They excite me because they talk of a church that is gritty and real … a church that wants to get its hands dirty and make a difference …. but a church that knows, in order to make that difference, it needs to unite and accept its diversity of opinion.
We don’t all agree but we are all on the same journey… we can all still love each other and move forward together! I don’t think Archbishop Justin is saying for one minute that we compromise or pretend …. that’s the gritty bit … he suggests that this will be hard and messy because moving forward together does not mean we all have to agree with each other. In our disagreement we can trust each other. When we trust each other we can achieve.
When we enter into competition or can’t accept disagreement we allow fear to prevent that achieving.
Round our dinner table last night we touched on this in a lateral way. My family got frustrated with me as I talked of being tired of hearing and writing clever sermons, or people making interesting points, or maybe even scoring points. I said I was tired of people who feel leadership is about ‘do what I say’ and ‘respect’ rather than how can we achieve this together to make a difference in this place. I said I was tired of people that want to control and dictate rather than let go, enable, set free and let God.
I just want to see transformation.
I don’t want to see revival across the nation, I don’t want to see churches packed out, I want to see people meeting Christ, people realising that no matter how crappy and hard their lives are that Christ does, will and can make a difference; not because Christ will take it all away and make it all better but because Christ stands in the crap with them and walks with them through it.
I want to see my little hard pressed forgotten and looked down upon community of Gillingham shine in the realisation of a grace and love that says …. ‘come … you are welcome … no need to change … no need to jump through hoops … no need for anything but yourself … just come’
If we can embrace love and overcome fear … well who knows … with God there is no limit to human flourishing …. so some of that dream might actually happen.
Want to join us???