Saturday, October 28, 2017

Extroverted or introverted church?

I am working on my series about the gospel in the 21st century but meantime, relevant to that topic, the following long article by Andrew Brown is an excellent read: here.

It is about the tribulations of Pope Francis and the church he leads but it is not rocket science to draw analogies with our own churches as we face the challenges of the 21st century.

The critical big picture question is whether we are going to be an extroverted or introverted church!


Andrei said...

This might be a relevant read as well - perhaps it takes the opposite tack


Father Ron Smith said...

If the Church insists on living to itself, it will surely die to itself.

The relevance of the Body of Christ in and to the world is surely meant to be consonant with the relevanca of its Redeemer, Christ Himself - who died for the world, for Goodness' Sake!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; the extravert/ introvert nomenclature is a bit clumsy. Conservatives like making and are very successful in making converts. The church has grown everywhere but in the West where the so-called extraverts live. Even in the West, the Traditionalists are growing (note they are different from Conservatives who are on the whole V2 Catholics). The author doesn’t seem to know the difference. When you add some basic errors (Athanasius Schneider is an auxiliary not archbishop) and the author‘s lack of reference to Cardinal Burke‘s reappointment to the Vatican Court, the gloss is removed by quite a bit. I also doubt that any priest said he hated the Pope, if that is in fact what is being suggested. It’s a mortal sin and we Conservatives take that seriously.


Father Ron Smith said...

Nick, if you're talking about practising Roman Catholics 'increasing', have youi checked up on chuyrch-going in Ireland lately? Never mind the recruitment of priests.

Anonymous said...

Fr Ron does not appear to have had the benefit of reading or considering what I have written. I encourage him to read or re-read the Guardian article and what I actually wrote.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, Fr Ron might enjoy the benefit of hearing a Roman Catholic bells and smells priest on extrovert matters.


Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick
Yes, a bit clumsy and a bit erroneous (Andrew Brown can be like that); and, yes, noting the sermon link, an "introverted" church can grow and an "extroverted" church can fail.

Nevertheless, I find those contrasts illuminating - I think there are things happening within the Anglican world which are (helpfully) world facing/extroverted and there are things happening which are (arguably, unhelpfully) church facing/introverted. I am not only thinking of our sexuality debates but also of some aspects of a focus on discipleship (is the energy spent on that at the expense of community engagement?).

I also suggest that an "easy" route for Christians is to flee the world when it threatens to overwhelm us - not that that is a mistake on each occasion of fleeing - we have at different points in history retreated before advancing again!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
The situation in Ireland is somewhat complicated, is it not?
I am not sure that citing its statistics offers illumination one way or another on the extroversion/introversion thesis.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, Today's 3 Minute Retreat on the Loyola website discusses this matter of Unity in Diversity, as exemplified in Ephesians 4:4

"Imagine opening a bag of jelly beans and discovering they are all exactly the same. It wouldn’t seem right. We expect differences. In this passage from Saint Paul, he stresses the point that we are one in unity with Christ and one another. This unity does not mean that we are like the identical jelly beans. The Holy Spirit calls each of us in a unique way to serve the community. The members of the Church serve God through different vocations, but the purpose is the same—to serve the Kingdom of God."

Food for thought in this discussion? Agape.

Anonymous said...

Peter, it could be argued that the secular West has retreated into itself. Other than inquiries into LGBIT and race issues, it’s hard, for example, to think of what the secular Left does anymore. Even Amnesty International seems more concerned with these types of soft social justice issues rather than hard human rights eg imprisonment without fair trial, war crimes and the like. Nowadays the secular Left prefers easy work; eg deplatforming feminists who object to transmen taking the fruits of their hard earned victories. Ultimately, I think Brown’s article is superficially attractive, but on closer examination requires reworking.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,

Had the pleasure of going to the Hamilton West Community Church today.
They have outgrown their place of Worship, at a school and have purchased a
building ,which they are outfitting. There was six young people (5 guys and 1 girl) confirmed into the faith. the service was both very Anglican and very modern. They seem to have struck a good balance between the old and the new. we can only wish Michael and the Church,God Speed.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
That is excellent news from the HWCC.
Are you also aware of the creative way in which the previous premises of that church is being used by two churches (one rather large and being drawn into closer ties with the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki)?
I long for our church being one which is broad enough to welcome HWCC back and continue its explorations with the new church!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Last night you submitted two comments which work from a misapprehension about Glen's own home church - which I do not understand to be HWCC, mentioned above, during a description of a visit to that church.

I do not think the comments help the conversation here since they flow out of a misapprehension.

As a general comment to all commenters: I am unlikely to publish comments which speculate on personal ecclesiastical futures!

Father Ron Smith said...

Regarding Andrew Brown's article about theRoman Catholic hierarchy's reaction to the openness of Pope Francis to the world, here, I think, the writer is getting very close to the truth:

" When Trump first announced that he would build a wall to keep out migrants, Francis came very close to denying that the then-candidate could be a Christian. In Francis’s vision of the dangers to the family, transgender lavatories are not the most urgent problem, as some culture warriors claim. What destroys families, he has written, is an economic system that forces millions of poor families apart in their search for work."

In isolating the root problems of society - based on monetarism - Pope Francis is surely stirring up, not only American Republicanism but also the cosily entrenched bureaucracy housed in the Vatican itself. Also, it must be a warning to other Princes of the Roman Church around the world whose lifestyle is bolstered by their affinity with the political czars of the Prosperity Gospel. Mr Trump is obviously one such benefactor - if not of Catholics, then of Pentecostal Pastors.

Cardinal Burke, sacked by Pope Francis from his high office at the Vatican, is - not surprisingly - now one of the Pope's most powerful enemies. However, there is Christ's dictum about the Church: "The gates of Hell will not prevail against it". (I'm remembering, of course, that Saint Peter was appointed to be Head of the Church on earth - the whole Church, not only the Roman variety.) Peter has a pretty worthy successor in Pope Francis!