OK folks. I guess the honeymoon between congregation and new curate has just been brought to an untimely end by this evening's sermon....Fresh home from Greenbelt, and having thought about little else than questions of emerging church for much of the past months (even my vicar thought it important that I weigh up the parish in the light of Mission Shaped Church), today I set to and preached it.
The Evensong readings included Isaiah 43..."I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do you not see it?"
I found myself telling the congregation things that none of you will be remotely surprised by.....that the church is always only one generation away from extinction...that to be catholic means to be inclusive, and not just of People Like Us....that it would matter not a jot or tittle if the C of E was dead within a decade, so long as the church continued to act as the agent of God's mission on earth.
None of it revolutionary, really. None of it rocket science, or indeed D.Theol....but also none of it stuff that they had been made to consider before.
Truly, when I was preparing the thing I couldn't help myself....and if it comes to a contest between upsetting the congregation and ignoring pretty firm direction from God, I know which I would rather do
But as many of you will know, I tend to go 50 miles to avoid confrontation, so finding myself out on an even mildy prophetic limb was scary,scary, scary.
I had one unexpected ally, in the shape of an elderly ex Warden, who greeted the idea that church might look totally different and still fulfill its purpose....My sweetheart of a vicar was fine too....but otherwise the silence was deafening. Even my good friend in the congregation said she felt I'd not been there long enough to preach that sort of stuff. She said it with a smile, but I suspect that's the general reaction.
Does anyone have a bunker available for reluctant prophets to lurk in till the storm has passed?