|The Morning After|
The liberal churches have won! Gay marriage is approved. But in a way, the universal church has lost. There is now no more single issue that galvanise the church. They will go back to their Sunday picnic for the churches never had a monopoly over ministry to the poor and sick to be an exiting cause.
The Gay marriage conflict has made many churches become very narrow in their dogmatic theology either far left or far right. The right couldn't count the number of wives that Solomon had, but the left didn't see that God was more perturbed that the wives worshipped other gods apart from the God of Israel.
In the bible, adultery and marriage becomes intertwined with our faithfullness to God almightly and not straying to worship other gods and deities and somehow claiming that they are also of God. The God of Israel is One and not the many gods we worship.
The day after also looks bad for the far right churches because the dire calamities claimed will not happen. No one will notice any change. Straight people will continue to have abortions and divorces. With increasing support for gays, the church will look hypocritical at best.
What defines church the day after? The Gospel good news is not primarily about Social Justice, but about the way, the truth to God through Jesus Christ. The Beautitudes weren't a call to march on to the hierachal religious and political powers. However, practical christianity feeds both the spirit, soul, and mind. People are going to churches where Jesus saves, and Jesus Heals.
Perhaps the day after marks the era of decline for the Episcopal church which had stirred the debate in earnest with the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003. The Nones with no particular religion did not flock to the Progressive churches.
The Episcopal Church - Presiding Bishop Jefferts schori has just retired ending a turbulent 10 year reign. She was a liberal hardliner who fought through the courts against her more conservative opponents taking away all their lands and buildings when they left the church. Alas, she lost her last battle in South Carolina in Feb 2015.
She won the empty buildings which cost more money to maintain or sold off dirt cheap to other faiths. As a result, - the tens of millions were spent on the court cases, and she was unable to sustain the HQ Building ("the church center") in New York which had to be sold off. They weren't gracious and left with empty buildings and debt. Confrontation and litigation were the norm rather than inclusivity and dialogue.
The liberal theologian Diana Butler Bass claimed that Schori's strong stance stopped more people leaving the church. This is an odd view for the attendance dropped from 760K in 2006 to app 600K by mid 2015. They do maths liberally at the seminaries.
Indeed, the incoming Bishop Michael Curry (from North Carolia) does not have an easy job. In terms of absolute numbers, the church attendance is falling 2 to 3% a year which will significantly accelerate due to unfavorable church demographics of elderly attendance.
The day after doesn't look good for the far left churches with millions lost fighting legal cases against breakaway churches and massive losses of attendance in numerical percentages. GLBT churches such as the Metropolitan Community Church will loose members as other churches become more accepting, and in view of the churches narrow far left liberal theology. which only appeal to some
The question of why we do church will arise for many churches no more in the front line of conflict. The battle has been won. Will the next phase of the battle take place beyond the shores of US, and in Australian, Phillipnes, Taiwan, and India, China?
People are going to church because of
tradition, family, friends, and to connect with God through Jesus. In
the long run, when the kindom fades, there must be a tangible presence
of God rather than a dishing of Christ' as God, and Messiah under the
banner of "no easy answers" as if Jesus was not God nor actually
died for us.
Without a centrality in Jesus death and resurrection, we end up with a
dry intellectual monologue when there is so many desperate poeple
seeking for the presence of God.
Our human kind of admonision to love is a poor substitute of God's touch and revelation. It is those who believes in Jesus by faith for redemption that will be saved not only just aligning with some facet of universal truths such as love. Salvation is not just eternal but on earth, and a nearnest and presence with God.
There is no power in self to save ourselves and people know it, seeking God far beyond themselves for help and support for such a time as this. At the end, when we sought salvation and god within, it is worshipping ourselves, our intellect, often failing miserably to love. It is not our doing that God is looking for, but relationship with Abba Father and not presented as a distant unapprochable mysterious God by some.
Now that the bitter skirmish between the liberals and the evangelicals are almost over, what will do they next? Nothing, for the Christian Liberal Century is almost over. But the evangelicals will also have a hard time against the independent mega churches. Even Sojourners is testing waters going East.
The Cornerstone Church in Singapore is moving into Ireland, the New Creation Church is expanding its reach to Asia, US and Europe. The Gospel is going back from Asia to the West. Korean churches are sending out missionaries in their thousands.
The next battle will be between the Charismatic Pentecostals and the Catholics for the heartlands of South America and Africa!, and for the Asian mega churches to evangelise Europe contending with the liberal secularism of the West. The rise of the Jesuits in Rome will contend with a world of bankers, masons, and mega companies.
The battle for Jerusalem looms, the ancient city of God, the stairway to heaven. But the Gospel revival must first go back through the now very secular Europe, and passed the church hierachal who has stood in the way for a 1500 years.