Much of the current Anglican debate is in house. It's a debate between those who want to protect the structure, strengthen the walls and keep foreign winds and doctrines out, and those who want to open the windows and doors to the world and be prepared to change time-honoured methods and doctrines in order to do so. The debate about homosexual clergy and blessings, for example, is largely about how accommodating the church can be without compromising its foundations.Read it all here, pilgrim. May pilgrims progress.
Yet those of us who are pilgrim sailors tire of this debate, not because the issues are unimportant, but because the model is not true to our experience of God, faith and community. A house doesn't move. It isn't meant to. The model assumes that the land won't move either. It is essentially a static model, supportive of the illusion of an unchanging past and a predictable future.
The house God is at best a benevolent host who opens the gates to strangers, welcomes them, and dines with them. God may accommodate the strangers'
suggestions about rearranging the furniture, even knocking a hole in a wall, but the basic structure will remain unchanged. For God in this model is not only the host but also the landlord.
Compare this with the God who is the wind in our sails and the beat in our hearts. The ship God is less interested in structure and hospitality than in those excluded from structure and hospitality. Change is not a threat, inconvenience or prescription, but part of the divine nature. God is the energy of transformative love, and refuses to be tamed.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
The Ship God
Glynn Cardy has an opinion piece in today's Guardian that I recommend. An excerpt: