I think the Church has repeatedly mislaid the divine imperative revealed in the life and teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the ministry of his apostle Paul. The early Church lost confidence in the energy released through the resurrection, absorbed by the need to respond with practical matters of survive and evolution.
I also think the Church knows in each generation that it has lost the divine imperative and is forced unwillingly to remember the core truths of God by liminal people and events. The Church has a shocking preference for amnesia and mindlessness.
I meet many people whose awareness of deeper experience of God is sharp and profound, because their awareness of the God of Jesus and Paul is so acute. They have been blessed with or have developed the capacity to open themselves, heart and soul, body, mind and spirit, to the presence of God who loves infinitely and tenderly, graciously and generously.
Such a group met on Saturday in Derby at the convent of the Community of the Holy Name – the trustees of Changing Attitude England. Together we laid plans, reviewed recent meetings and events, and explored our vision of the God who has brought us together to campaign for justice, love and truth in our Church.
We live in an age of mass communication, information, and education, and a time of exponential change and growth – change that will continue to evolve in unpredictable but life-transforming directions.
We also live in an age of a terrible ignorance about God or a lack of awareness of God’s infinite love, an ignorance perpetuated by the Churches which should be communication the profound reality of God’s creative energy.
Instead, Churches are absorbed by, and in some cases obsessed by, the task of defending God against developments deemed to be dangerous to the truth of God. The Churches do not trust the deep-down goodness of God and the energy of the Holy Spirit released into creation at Pentecost. The Church has become a defender of old truths, engaging with the negative in human lives far more than trusting the positive in humanity and creation.
Futile arguments about the place of women and LGB&T people (and other categories of people both in the past and in the future) obsess the Churches and consume time and energy because the Churches forget the qualities of God revealed by Jesus and experienced by Paul. Both Jesus and Paul knew God in the core of their being, the intimate presence of God consuming their hearts and souls and bodies with love, passionate, tender and life transforming – the Kingdom of God.
The Church is going to fail to inspire if it doesn’t wake up and allow those who are drawn in each generation by God to dream of the Kingdom here and now, in eternity and in the boundless span of creation, where love and truth and justice flow.
The Churches are, tragically, organizations that inspire many to great acts of kindness, generosity and love but leave the divine spark in the core of every human soul largely untouched. If it were being touched, we would not be arguing about the place of women and LGB&T people in the Church.