Over on his mod blog, BRC has responded to the fourth in a series of questions from the 2008 Commissioner’s Booklet. The question, “How will we lead?“, is an interesting question that gives a bit of insight into what is motivating BRC to run in the first place, what his vision for the church is, and how he hopes to get there. He writes:
There also seems to be a shadow side to the young clergy experience, aspects of their preparation for ministry that seem somewhat out of alignment with the greater culture from which they have come. There is a disconnect between who young clergy are culturally and the institution to which they are being called to serve. In the face of this situation, young clergy are left with few options: change, deal or leave.
Something must give.
Something must change.
I suspect it is the institution.
I read his comments and couldn’t help but recognize myself, and many of my friends, in them. Because the world we live in IS changing, and the church, at is best, is an institution that should be able to respond to and in culture, not against it. The early church molded itself after the culture it was a part of, so that it could work within culture and so that its members could be better witnesses and missionaries to the people amongst whom they lived and worked. Paul writes in Corinthians:
To the Jews I have made myself as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those who live under the law I have come as one under the law, in order to win those who are under the law — not that I myself am under the law. To those who live without the law I have come as one without the law, in order to win those who are without the law — not that I am really under no law in relation to God, for I am bound by the law of Christ. To those who are weak I have made myself weak, so as to win the weak; in fact, I have become all things to all people, in order that, one way or another, I may rescue some of them. But I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share its blessings with others. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
my point, I suppose, is that the “change” that BRC proposes is the sort of active responsiveness to our world which we are called to live out in our lives and in our churches. I read BRC’s answers and I see a biblical and a timely call to the church to take a look at itself and ask some hard questions–are we offering something people need? Are we being faithful witnesses? What are we afraid of? What sorts of changes might this culture require of us? Do we have it in us?
Kudos to BRC for acknowledging and putting that right out there. It’s what I needed to hear, as a seminarian who struggles daily with my call in this institution.