I’m watching an institution collapse. The foundations are being shaken, and everything that can be shaken loose, is. I’ve never seen so many things fall apart all at once. If it weren’t so awful, it would be funny.
Leaders are sacrificing themselves trying to contain the damage. But frankly, trying to hold back the collapse is like trying to catch a tsunami with a milk jug. No amount of brilliant visioning, stategic skill, charisma, or hard work is going to hold back the inevitable. This outcome was set decades ago. This institution as we know it is going to die.
However, this is not the end.
Once the dust has settled, we’ll see how the pieces that are left can build something new. In the shearing and tearing of the old institution, the pieces will have new shapes. Like a jigsaw puzzle that has been recut, the pieces will fit together in new ways. Some pieces will be destroyed or set aside. Others will be newly important.
I am confident that in a generation or so when the pieces are finally fit together again, the institution will have been renewed. Feudal structures will have given way to something that looks much more like the body of Christ. Power and privilege will be flattened and shared. The impulse to prop up dying congregations will be replaced by the impulse to bring kingdom life to people who are dying.
Those who have lived in the land of deep darkness, on them the light will shine. New life is coming. Don’t be afraid! Our Lord will not disappoint.