In the early decades of the 21st century, what we know as church is in transition – as is what we know as organized religion. The question for those of us who walk the spiritual path is, “Can we hold our traditions loosely to allow those things that have died to fall away and those things that are being born to flourish?” Of course, in between the dead and the living are a number of very living things that have been part of our practice and will remain part of that practice.
If you have ever tried to raise a house plant, you know that it is necessary to occasionally transplant it to a larger pot so that it doesn’t become pot bound and choke itself to death. It seems we have a hard time generalizing that knowledge to other living entities in our lives, however. How many of us know someone who has difficulty “cutting the apron strings” and letting our young adult children step out on their own, whether to college or their first apartment? Interestingly, many adult children have been forced to move back home over the last few years because of adverse economic conditions and so many parents have another chance to let go in a healthy manner when things improve and their children are ready to move out again. How many of us know someone who struggled mightily at the news of a new Pastor, a new hymnal, or a new liturgy at our Church? On a much more benign level, how many of us know someone who has a melt down over their spouse or partner’s new hair style or evolving fashion sense? Most importantly, how often is that “someone we know” in fact ourselves?
The days when religious and spiritual perspectives were separated my oceans and continents have passed, and with them the days when only specialists and academics could come to understand different traditions. The background to this change has been the decline of institutional Christianity that began in the 1960s and continues to this day. As people have left church, they have explored other traditions, and many have found food for their journey in those traditions. As one of those people said to me a couple of years ago, “I had to leave the Church to find God.” We can respond to those experiences by rejecting them out of hand as the institutional church most often does, or we can accept them at face value and proceed from there. It’s pretty clear to me that the first option creates pot bound believers, and the latter creates the space for growth to occur. As Church, we can choose to strangle the life out of spiritual journeys or we can create and hold open the space for the growth to occur.
In the Universal Anglican Church, we believe in holding open the space for growth to occur. To do that effectively, we have to be willing to be committed to the process rather than the outcome. That’s a big shift for most clergy, but it is a shift that the future – and the present – demand. We invite you to explore that journey in the Universal Anglican Church. We are Anglican by heritage; inclusive, contemporary, and universalist by practice, which means you have the freedom to express your gifts in the way that allows you to maximize their impact on the world!
I invite you to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!