I’m tempted to begin with some comment about this winter weather that has been playing havoc with church services, travel plans, and school days but I won’t – because everyone else is! However, I will ask your indulgence as I move away from resolutions this week for a special announcement that I think is worthy of sharing: The Big Class with Bishop Michael Curry began yesterday and runs through Feb. 3 and it’s not too late to register (http://goo.gl/BuqlnF)!! I have heard Bishop Curry speak in person at our own “Becoming the Household of God” conference a few years ago and again last summer at the Festival of Homiletics in Nashville. If you’ve never heard him, you are in for quite a treat!!
Bishop Curry’s presentation will expand on his book Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus and is based on the sermon he preached at General Convention in 2012, “We Need Some Crazy Christians.” This free, online class is made available through ChurchNext, the on-line source for Christian learning experiences designed to foster vibrant Christian formation developed by our own Rev. Chris Yaw of St David’s, Southfield.
This message is timely. All around us people are searching for ways to connect. There are growing “feel good” movements in many of our cities – gatherings which have become substitutes for church. Too often we hear people declare that they are “spiritual but not religious.” Check out Sunday Assembly to see what I mean (http://sundayassembly.com/). Why all this moving away from the church community? How did God become irrelevant for so many? There are many respected authors who have addressed this growing trend – the emergent church – in their books so I will not try to answer these questions in a blog but I will suggest that it’s not that we need another program! Bishop Curry writes in his book,
“We need some crazy Christians. Sane, sanitized Christianity is killing us. That may have worked once upon a time, but it won’t carry the Gospel anymore. We need some crazy Christians like Mary Magdalene and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Christians crazy enough to believe that God is real and that Jesus lives. Crazy enough to follow the radical way of the Gospel. Crazy enough to believe that the love of God is greater than all the powers of evil and death.”
We need Christians who are not afraid to be followers of Jesus!!
Our presiding bishop, The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in her forward to Crazy Christians:
“What does it mean to be a faithful Christina in the twenty-first century? The answer to that question has much to do with what it has always meant to be a friend of Jesus, but there are aspects of faithfulness that must be ready to respond to the challenge of changing times and contexts. As children of the Most High God, we are made for the beloved community, the reign…of God or God’s ‘kindom.’ We are all kin one to another, and not only to other human beings. We are a part – a magnificent part – of the whole of God’s creation, and as human beings our vocation is to partner in the transformation of this planet toward that ancient and eternal vision of a healed and reconciled existence.”
When we are ready to “be the church” every day, in our families, our work places and our communities; when we are ready to be “crazy Christians” for Jesus, not only will our own lives be transformed but I believe that we will make a difference in the culture around us. Oh, dear, this is beginning to sound like a sermon…
Getting back to our resolutions – I wonder how many resolutions we would really need if we all were “crazy Christians?” So, just maybe, The Big Class is related to our mission of addressing the resolutions from convention! Let’s see how our transformed lives working together through the power of the Holy Spirit can change the world!!
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council