I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been spending very much time on Twitter lately. I know, it’s gross neglect. To remedy this bad circumstance, I spent yesterday afternoon going to particular accounts and scrolling and scrolling, trying to catch up. Finally, I was rewarded by this clip:
The first bit is from 2015 but WPC cuts to 2020 and back and forth, a mere five years caught on film with strange, tragic candor. The Pastor of 2015, in crisp shirt with churchy windows as a backdrop, had a bit of a rethink. He had always been told that those who practice sexual immorality could not enter the kingdom of heaven (he doesn’t put it like that, as you can see, but that’s essentially what he’s saying), but then he met people who identified themselves with their sexual proclivities who convinced him that they should be blessed by God without having to repent of those sins. He ends up announcing that the congregation will be leaving the denomination because of their brave stand against bigotry.
Of course, leaving a denomination for any reason, even a bad one, is hard. I know that. But it can’t be avoided any longer. Everyone is going to have to make a choice about this. If anyone is surprised about such a division, they haven’t been paying attention. Which brings us to the Pastor of 2020. What happens when you untether yourself from orthodox Christian faith? At least in this case, you have to get online and announce that the church is closing because not enough people have chosen to come. I’ve transcribed some of what this person says in 2020:
Christ Church–very simple concept. That we could be a community for all people, of all people, bound together in this Body of Christ, this anointed one who came into real space and time as a Jewish Palestinian boy, […empire], and saved the world. A kind of upside down kind of saving. Cause he failed, right, he died. He didn’t win. But, its a more profound sense of winning, if you wanna win you’ve gotta lose.
I mean, this is such a great defeat. A person who a mere five years before quoted some meager amount of scripture, now stands in a small room, against a plain wall, unshaven, demoralized, unable to express any hope for the world. All he is left with is Jesus giving him a lot of instructions, and then searching around the rubble of the cosmos by the light of Richard Roar, looking for Christ who, apparently, can be found in everyone and everything:
Those who give a cold cup of water in my name, right. That’s what Jesus was about. That’s what I love about Fr. Richard Roar’s teachings. That the Christ, the anointed one is not so much concerned about dogmas or doctrines and teachings that we memorize, but the Christ is actually found in everyone, everywhere, and in everything.
Except that, from the expression in the eyes of the pastor, He–the Christ–hasn’t been found. Funny how that works.
Look what a devastation happens to the soul when the cross is passed over. You don’t have anything. You don’t have a congregation, a church, a reason to go on. You have to just keep trudging along in your sins, trying to make up reasons for hope.
As much as I loved and was cheered by all the liturgy of the last week surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the prayers prayed in such solemn reverence, the gospel passages read out with perfect clarity, I grieve that no Anglican minister of the gospel stood up and proclaimed Christ crucified. At least, not that I heard. Certainly, the Archbishop of Canterbury forbore to mention that central tenet of Christian doctrine in his short homily when something like 60% of the world was watching.
How do we get to the “win?” How did Jesus overturn the world and achieve an “upside down saving” which is such a pathetic way of referring to so great a truth. He did something particular, something that no one else could do. Leaving that part out is such a grievous loss for the world. It is the thing Jesus named himself in the lections for this morning, staring around at the crowds, inviting them to see him not in themselves, or in everyone and everything, but in his actual self, standing there. But all those languishing around him did not want to understand what he was getting at. How utterly and terribly #sad.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go do something or other. Have a nice day!