As the psalmist said:
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you. Ps 39:7
A number of recent articles in secular papers have chronicled the decline of liberal Christianity. In Canada, the Globe and Mail, hardly a bastion of theological conservatism, explains that the United Church and Anglican Church have largely replaced God with the NDP; the resulting avalanche of fleeing members betokens their imminent demise. Church liberals, ever reluctant to connect cause with effect, are obstinately staying the course: they are convulsed in an orgy of post-theistic openness, inclusiveness, egalitarianism and progressivism.
For example: the Anglican Church of Canada has placed its hope in the advice of Phyllis Strupp, a brain fitness coach. She, in turn, has placed her hope in a better tomorrow with regard to the environmental crisis, a tomorrow where no brain will be left unmolested by Strupp callisthenics; every brain will be a fit brain. Fit for what, I wonder: fit for little other than conformity.
So is there any hope for liberal Christianity? Evidently not.
“Thirty years ago, I thought that with enough good science we would be able to solve the environmental crisis. I was wrong. I used to think that the greatest problems threatening the planet were pollution, bio-diversity loss and climate change. I was wrong there too. I now believe that the greatest problems are pride, apathy and greed. Because that’s what’s keeping us from solving the environmental problem. For that, I now see that we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we in the scientific community don’t know how to do that. But you [in the faith community] do. We need your help.”
Is the Episcopal Church nurturing seeds of hope for better tomorrow with regard to the environmental crisis and secular venues where hopelessness persists? Are church-going Christians more hopeful than the fast-growing “spiritual but not religious” crowd? Hope is contagious. Hope is the best yardstick to use for benchmarking the church’s performance and prospects. Hope opens our minds to the things of God—no matter what the current numbers say. All things are possible with God.