I like God’s Politics Blog a lot, and read their articles from time to time. It gives me insight to what’s going on in American Christianity and more specifically, the American Christianity we don’t hear much about in the media here, because God’s Politics Blog belongs rather to the Christian Left than the Christian Right and the Christian Left is something you wouldn’t know about here unless you sought for the term on google, I guess.
But there is one thing I don’t like at all about God’s Politics Blog. And that is the comment function. I like commenting and I like being able to do so without keeping a number of accounts on several social networks just to be able to log in to a certain site. They used to have Disqus, which was also getting on my nerves, but just a bit, as I could use it to log in by my OpenID.
Meanwhile, they switched to a comment form that allows Facebook, Yahoo, AOL or hotmail. I have neither account, and I am not willing opening one up to be able to comment there. But as I have written a longer comment on the article about Bishop Carey’s claim that within a generation the Church of England would cease to exist and (implicitly) that because of that they’d have to „attract“ young people and turn the church into an „exciting place to meet new people“ which I don’t want to just delete again, I’ll post it here:
How would one attract people? By giving them a place to meet new people? I think that’s not the church’s business. There are bars, cafes and Facebook for that. And prophetic words? Great, if they are heard in church, but you can’t do this yourself, unless God speaks to people in church, which is His to decide when and where.
I think the bishop has the wrong focus: It’s not about attracting people, the church is no business that needs good marketing, because the church has nothing to market. The church has the gospel, and it’s the business of the church to preach it. Not sell it, preach it. And to administer sacraments.
In doing this there can be groups that emerge out of these actions, which themselves are then situated within the church’s organisation. And there can be a place to meet people. Not in order to meet people, but while doing what preaching and sacraments made one do. And this can also attract other people, who would then also listen to the gospel and grow a need to receive the sacraments. But first things first, because if we focus too much on these possibly attractive groups, we will loose our center. And without that, all the rest will break down too in the end.
So maybe the church isn’t attractive at the moment, and maybe too many people don’t want to hear the gospel, which makes the church shrink in places like England and Wales. But as faith is a gift from God, and nothing we can decide about ourselves or that others could generate in us, we can’t do anything about it but pray and see that our sermons do really preach the gospel. So what we need is good theology and the faith, that God will turn all things to a good end.