“Church membership is in decline”. “The Church is becoming irrelevant”. “Searching for spirituality outside religion”. “Jesus hates religion”. “The Church aging at an alarming rate”. These might as well be the headlines of many newspapers and blogs today. It seems that even the most critical thinker must admit that the Church as an organization, at least the traditional main line denominations are facing difficult times. Finances are tough, influence spheres are shrinking, integrity seemingly at an all-time low, and orthodox teachings under severe pressure. It seem there are enough negativity about for us to decide that the Church has finally entered it’s finally stages, gasping a last few breaths of air before it will cease to exist.

But before we get too bogged down in the inevitability of the Church’s demise, we might want to reflect on an ancient reality. It is only through death that resurrection and new life is possible. It might be that what we are experiencing is not the death of the Church but much rather a metamorphosis of the Church. Seeing it from this perspective the current waning of how we understand Church and the accompanying Church structures as well as the loss of power and privilege that accompanies it might be a rare and precious gift to our generation.

We do not only get to conclude a chapter and mourn the passing of a parent, we also get to contribute and nurture to a new way of living Church. Church was never meant to be a theory or an understanding, rather, it was always meant as a community. Not only on Sunday mornings for an hour, but every minute of the day wherever we live as one creation.

I would like to think that the challenging times we live in is a pupae environment where we are challenged to retain that which makes us uniquely church but at the same time imagine and allow the transformative processes at work to turn us into something wholly other in service of each other as congregation, the wider communities we live in, and ultimately in service and worship of G-d.

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