Each month a member of the faculty at my college is rostered to write a short op-ed style piece for Crosslight, the monthly magazine of the Victoria/Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia. My turn has rolled around again this month. Under the heading, "Ferment, Change and the Vocation of the Church" I've tried (very briefly) to flesh out the changing attitudes to Christianity that have emerged - and become more identifiable - in Australia in recent decades. This has involved resisting what I term 'catch-up ecclesiology'. One key paragraph reads as follows:
For the duration of the UCA’s life, Christianity in Australia has been shaped by social and cultural forces over which the Church has had precious little control. It is sometimes suggested that things could have been different: ‘if only the church did… x, y or z.’ But this kind of ‘if only’ lament is, I think, misguided. Behind it is often a kind of ‘catch-up’ ecclesiology: ‘if only we catch up with the changes in society, we’ll be a more effective in mission’ – or so the argument goes. But this underestimates the extent to which the power of even the most innovative, energetic, faithful and authentic missional strategy is often overwhelmed by the currents of change that have taken Australian society in directions few would have predicted even two decades ago, let alone the nearly four decades ago when the Uniting Church was born.
You can read the full piece here.