1 May 2022
A radically different approach
Acting on the theory that Putin’s mind is megalomaniacal and mega-sadistic, yet humiliatingly vulnerable, what about the Church trying the following?
At present the situation with Ukraine is a classic Jesus’s “turn the other cheek” confrontation. The attacked party, Ukraine supported by her allies, is standing her ground defending her citizens, particularly women and children (widows and orphans).
Both countries, antagonistic Russia and victim Ukraine, claim majority populations of Orthodox Christians. Putin’s personal allegiance and official policies appear to approve of this Christian denomination. Please would religious leaders from all over the world, especially Christian archbishops, moderators and patriarchs organise a unity with the Russian Church’s supreme leader and other prelates there, and beseech Putin for total, immediate troops-withdrawal and peace.
If the Russian Patriarch leads the events with sufficient dignity and ceremony and photo-opportunity, yet with true Christianity, Putin may see himself as a part-winner and hero and dramatically concede.
The answer to church decline – what you thought
If the presence of the good news of Jesus Christ is to be incarnated only, or focused, in the local vicar and church buildings then we’re really in trouble!
Read more: Here’s how we’ll fill up our churches again
Apart from the insuffiency of this – ignoring the people of God sent out into the community – there are a number of very questionable assumptions that the article is built on. The local church buildings and clergy are no longer the most familiar things in the local area. In fact in most people’s minds they are positively unsafe and dangerous. Nostalgia for the good old days won’t bring back safe familiarity and attraction. Only unexpected kindness, active service and genuinely embodied grace has any chance of doing that. The article is a woefully missed opportunity to encourage old fashioned, unglamorous, humble service by all of God’s people in a local area as being what might just grow the church. Hint: the clergy and liturgies of grace are only ancillary not central, to equip us all for works of service.
One of the logistical challenges, I suppose, is how to intentionally create or transplant a sensory parish in the growth corridors, where not many church buildings exist amongst massive suburban growth, but there are church plants meeting in schools, halls and sporting club rooms. Up here in the city of Hume, for example, there is no Anglican church in Roxburgh Park – a suburb of 25,000 people, with the majority of residents first or second generation migrants from Iraq, Turkey and India.