While the reports of our death may be premature and exaggerated, our calling remains exactly the same: to proclaim the good news of the risen and ascended Jesus Christ in season and out of season, that we may be found faithful on the Last Day.
The Episcopal Church has recently released its latest numbers, for 2018. The overall trajectory of recent decades continues, with ongoing decline in the number of worshipers, churches and members.
The organizers of Lambeth 2020 have many difficult matters to tackle. But the gross disparity between the number of worshipers in the different dioceses is a question that needs to be faced. As things stand, the net result is continuing to privilege the voices of small numbers of white Westerners while side-lining swaths of the most missional and poorest Christians in the Anglican Communion.
The only access we have to Jesus is through the Christ who is the object of our faith — the Christ who lived and died and rose for us, who intercedes for us as our Great High Priest, and who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. It is alone through Jesus Christ that we have any knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth.
The call to realize our identity as a Christian university is a great challenge, but it is also liberating, because it means that we don’t need to compete with the publicly-funded, provincial universities. This is good news, because we simply do not have the economic, infrastructural, and even personal resources to do the public research university thing better than they do it. But ... in the person of Christ and in the powerful presence of the Spirit who leads God’s people into all truth, we do have the potential to become something that public, secular universities cannot be: a university in the true sense of the word, united in the uni veritas, the one or whole truth that holds together in the living Christ.
It could be argued that if we had all gone home after voting on these affirmations, much of the pain that resulted from General Synod’s other decisions could have been avoided and we may have been the better for it. But as it happened, we proceeded to the debate and vote on the marriage canon amendment, the failure of which unleashed an avalanche of protest, accusation, and ill will that in many ways will form the lasting characterization of General Synod 2019 for many of those who were present.
Why can’t Lambeth become a synod? Whatever our answers to this question, we must recognize that the historical case against synodality for Lambeth rests upon a rather unattractive nationalism, and is simply untenable.
We citizens of Technopolis believe fervently in the supremacy of the will. What we will is how things are. Nothing is chiseled into sacred tablets, nothing has any meaning that we can’t change, nothing is beyond our self-interested exploitation and tinkering. If by an act of collective will we deem something good, then it must be good simply because we’ve deemed it so.