-- The church is dying.
-- The church is not dying, it's failing.
-- Christian voters hate gay people. Don't be Christian.
-- The best church members are quitting because they're burned out.
-- Young people don't want to go to church, but old people are absenting themselves, too.
OK, listen, Chicken Little. I've read all the research. I lived and breathed the research doing my D.Min. There are all kinds of forces in play threatening the church we knew, whether that was the church of the 1950s, or the church of the 1990s, right before the decade that Diana Butler Bass has called the worst decade for Christianity in the U.S. EVER.
But we aren't here for the church, the building, the pipe organ, the Sunday School. We are here for the good news of Jesus Christ, the story of God's incredible, redeeming love for us, the greater-than-Star-Wars epic of God leaping into humanity and rescuing us from ourselves, from the Dark Side that lurks in all of us and in our world.
I am so excited about our new Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, and his "Jesus Movement." I am ready to get on board with a movement that lives out of a fierce joy because we are reconciled to God and we are reconciling the world to God, right now. This is the story we have to share. This is the story that will keep us going. Stop telling me about your empty pews and shrinking budgets. Tell me something beautiful that God is doing in your community today, right now.
I'll tell you this ... we had 200 people, Latino, Anglo, and everything in between, dancing to the sounds of the Tejano Sound Band at our Dia de los Muertos fiesta Sunday night. I don't know where they all came from, I just know that we welcomed them with love and open arms, like Jesus would. That we ate and drank and partied, like Jesus would. Will that keep the building open and the lights on? I don't know. That's not what's important.
Sharing the unrepeatable, life-changing love of God. That's what's important.