The Church is dying. Its structure and theology make no sense today and haven't for decades. Far from being innocuous, their outdated uselessness goes beyond a nostalgic irrelevance to purposeful insidiousness, not just taking up space, but monolithically standing in the way of the spirit. The dying Church impedes God's various attempts at theological and liturgical progress, obviates meaningful spiritual communication and change, and squanders the precious time of people desperately seeking nurture, affirmation, and God. (Chuck Meyer: Dying Church, Living God)
Someone posted this on a preaching list I subscribe to - and it made my blood run cold. Is this really where we are, do you think? Though I know Meyer's name, I've not read any of his writing and wonder where he comes from in the debate.
When I was clearing assorted diocesan hurdles en route to ordination, one of my interviewers asked me how I felt about signing up to work for a moribund institution...and I said, then, that I wasn't that fussed, as what mattered was that people were enabled to encounter and engage with God - and if the church had ceased to facilitate this, then it no longer had meaning, was indeed no longer truly church. I'd still say that, but I wonder what declarations like Meyer's say for the faithful ministry of thousands of priests and ministers across the world.To my mind, our best efforts are expended on ministering to those "seeking nurture, affirmation and God" - whether they are part of our congregations or (almost more often) outside them. In my experience the church has largely provided an enabling structure for that ministry...it's clearly a long long way from being the whole answer, but is the church really more part of the problem than the solution?