It is commonplace to talk about what a year this has been, and yet I can only echo that sentiment. As I write this a good friend of mine has Covid, a family I know is suffering with it, and it seems like storm clouds have gathered all around. Due to spending so much time at home, it has felt like a long year, even though I love spending time at home.
All of my life I wondered what would happen to the Church if persecution or suffering came upon it, this year gave me an answer, and it wasn’t good. Instead of repentance, sackcloth, ashes, or a deep reformation and turning to the Scriptures, I saw politics, hatred, infighting, denial, arrogance, and foolishness. It is impossible to generalize about thousands of congregations across the country, let alone the world, but from where I sit I did not see the Church repent or search herself for sin. I saw pastors rushing to tell us that God does not punish nations with things like plagues. I saw congregants leave church rather than wear a mask because of some weird theological or more likely political reason. The idolatry I saw for Donald Trump was unlike anything I would have believed possible from people who should know better, and was akin to the Messianic frenzy that greeted Senator Obama on the campaign trail in 2008. It is a truly depressing time in the Church and the world, although there is a lot of hope on the horizon.
I would like to think that Christians will mature and embrace reason, paired with a deeper dive into the Scripture and history of the Church. However, I generally think that things will continue as they are. There is nothing new under the sun and the condition of humanity in our age is about what it always has been, which is to say poor.
I don’t have much hope for the ACNA and I am generally disengaged from its struggles because of this. Perhaps due to age or life circumstances, there is a weariness that comes with the rancor and failure to change on the part of our churches. Someone said, “Institutions, like organisms, seek survival for themselves and their descendants.” That’s what I see ACNA and the various sub-jurisdictions doing. The Church needs a reformation as badly now as it did 15 years ago, if not more.