So, THAT Happened!
Updated: Jan 30, 2020
Last week I posted a blog about getting sacked as a columnist for the Niagara Anglican newspaper. My dismissal left me feeling like an outsider looking in at the church I have called home all my life. Over six hundred people read that post, many taking the time to send me personal notes, sharing similar feelings and experiences. I had touched a nerve.
As I continue to work away on my memoir of my life in the church, something now occurs to me. Whatever the literary merits of the project, it might well serve as a catalyst for the conversation many church people--both active and lapsed--want to have. Few who have left the church know precisely why they did. Many who stay don't know why they do. The church's role in our lives is up for grabs, and we want to know why.
It may be too late for the church to make the changes that would reverse the trend toward its obsolescence and coming demise. The Anglican Journal recently reported a sociological study that gives the Anglican Church of Canada twenty years. I think the study is optimistic. By then, I doubt there will be much more than a small network of surviving, mainly urban, Anglican churches spread across the country.
But the death of the church does not quench the spiritual longing of the people who used to be churchgoers. We are deeply spiritual by nature, all of us, and endlessly resourceful in finding new ways to make meaning in our lives. The death of the church does not signal the death of God. It simply means that Christ has "burst his three-day prison" and now appears, resurrected and fully present, in the midst of us.
So, how to navigate this passage from church-going faith to ... something else? Dialogue will be essential, sharing our experiences and our learnings with one another as we venture from here. To this end I pledge my own efforts: that this blog become a meeting place for finders and seekers alike; that the memoir, when it comes out, spark conversations about faith in the modern world; and that I continue to open new avenues where discoveries can be explored, like a monthly interactive podcast, to inspire us on the journey.
So, that happened. I wonder what will happen now.