Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Word of the day ASBO

An ASBO is an anti-social behaviour order. Jon Birch over at the further adventures of ASBO Jesus draws and puts up great cartoons.
The dying church has been much in my thoughts recently travelling through Switzerland and hearing of empty churches; hearing tales from Britain of aging congregations; seeing closed churches in France and hearing the Pope speak of the need for new vocations to the priesthood; knowing the overload many of my colleagues in pastoral charge live under. But the other side to the dying church is the extraordinary vivacity, joy and new expressions of faith that are still to be experienced amongst people who come together because of their Christian faith. And there is also the fact that in places outside western Europe the church is also growing - change is underway.
In this new era in western europe of minority Christianity in a world where religion is an important issue, how we bear witness to our faith is the key.
While another committee meets to try interminably to decide how to reshape shrinking institutions, perhaps the way forwards will be in bearing witness to what it is that gives us life, meaning, hope and transformation, not in wearing ourselves out with trying to maintain all of the structures of the past.