Thursday, July 19, 2007

church structure

I've been thinking about church structures recently, and so was rather disturbed to see Tom's posts about burn-out amongst Anglican priests.

Partly, I think this is due to the Anglican structure - where the Priest is considered to be Top-Dog rather than someone with a particular ministry and particular role within the church, both locally and nationally.

[Of course, there are other problems with other forms of church structures, which I have experienced before. I'm focussing on Anglicanism because that is where I am at the moment.]

Mostly, however, this is due to the widespread acceptance of dodgy theology within the laity. As I have indicated elsewhere on this blog, I do not accept that church is the be-all-and-end-all. Counter to the generally accepted street-theology, we are here to serve the world and all its hurts, not for it to bolster and prop-up our crumbling church structures. We can be the most fantastic church, with the most lively and inspiring service BUT unless we have love for our neighbour, we are nothing. And often we don't give a monkeys about our neighbour unless they are paying for a wedding or buying a cake at the church fete.

Meanwhile the clergy run around propping up everyone else's faith, doing all the jobs that nobody else wants to take on (not to mention attending far too many meetings) being the professional christians because we cannot actually be bothered to take up our own cross and carry it. I don't believe there are a lot of meglomaniacs in the Anglican church (although they may well exist). I don't believe that the structures are designed to hinder the spiritual development of everyone under it, but unfortunately that is the result. But everyone is far too busy talking about sex to notice that the concrete is cracking beneath our feet.

We have to make a choice - do we want to be salt and light in this dark world, or do we want to spend all our time and effort on and in our churches? Because frankly, I'm not sure we can do both.

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