The Sharknado Church

10 Responses

  1. Lois Keen says:

    Brilliant! I also liked the Zombie Apocalypse post as well, but then, I was one of those six who didn’t know what a Sharknado is until I read this post. You are very funny. And what you say is 100% true. Thank you.

  2. Gary Goldacker says:

    Next, you’re going to take on the “early” service for people who just want to worship quietly and privately in their special pew without being bothered by music, children, strangers, etc!, Even if the congregation has an ASA of 50 or less!

  3. Nicole Porter says:

    The real issues will start when you have an influx of clergy retiring. These seminarians better have another skill set.

  4. For me the sharknado is more about the turbulence caused by our combined anxiety. It swirls above our parishes, diocese and TEC as a whole. Because we measure everything against the incredible livelieness of the 1950s and early 60s we see sharks where it might actually be carp.

    Pick nearly any moment in Christian history and the same sort of anxieties expressed themselves. Christianity has gone through periods of expansion, collapse and disinterest. And in every age the bewailing has been pretty similar. We are not at a unique moment in history even to the point of doing what all those previous generations did…..find someone to blame.

    As participating numbers have dwindled in the English Church parishes have adapted to become mixtures of worship, community service, the arts and museums. Perhaps their leaders are all perseverating over numbers like we are, but there is a vitality around many of the London parishes that comes from them immersing themseves in the community life right at their front door.

    Becoming centers of other life giving activities may bring in partners who share in the upkeep of the building and free the people to do worship and service. The ABC may well have them all become credit unions!

    One of the various speakers on the circuit (perhaps Diana Butler Bass) commented that we can not have some other “time” back, this is our time and our moment. I for one wish we would stop the shambling in the pews dully moaning “numbers, feed me numbers” and engage people as the Advent Blessing booths and Ashes to Go have done. Find creative programs and publicize them.

    And just to get a more Zomber note in. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Zombie Apocalypse panel while working at Comic Con in July. Several of the writers said that the stories were not about what Zombies represented but about what the supposedly living people did in the face of the Apocalypse. The depressing part was that in most such stories people revert to a Hobbesian sort of world, killing other living people to protect what resources they had scrounged.

    So too for us, the Zombies are there, but what matters is what WE do. And what we have done too much of is to moan about the Zombies being there instead of building where and how we can without becoming a different sort of “Walking Dead”.

  5. Nicole Porter says:

    I think it’s a bit disingenuous to act as if numbers don’t matter. Without people, there is no church. And I think that having our heads in the sand about this dire situation is part of the problem. It’s high time someone told the truth.

  6. Chrisc says:

    Check! Check! And triple check! Realities we need.

  7. Skip says:

    Absolutely brillant as Lois wrote. I love your posts. They always keep me thinking. Keep them up.

  8. Lecia Brannon says:

    I read with interest your Zombie and Sharknado posts. I was also taken with your comments Scott at the Episcopal Communicator’s conference in April that “the dead should bury their dead.” These powerful words and thoughts have been on my mind since then. I wonder where that leaves seminarians who are still being educated and trained in schools that are trying to keep up? I am one of those seminary students. I do have other skills sets and am not unaware that there are even more I will need to cultivate in order to serve the Church. Where will I fit in? As Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”

  9. Nicole Porter says:

    When I mentioned skill sets, I mean skills in which to earn a living, because the gravy train is about to run off the tracks.

  10. The Rev. Dr. Michael Tessman says:

    If Zombies are “so 2012” then much of the present fear-mongering is “so 1920-30s” – reprising the concerns about which the Rev. Roland Allen wrote so eloquently, correctly diagnosing the fundamental problem of “established church” (whether de jure, as in the CofE, or de facto, as in the Episcopal church’s pretentious claim to the “national” cathedral and by extension, the “national” church).

    Dis-establishing the church, in whatever form (Cf. writings of Douglas John Hall) will go far in realigning Christian life and church culture to Christ-centredness, having for so long been maligned by clergy-centredness and institutional survivalism.

    One mark of such dis-establishment can occur if
    our congregations are assessed on (or “donate” to) the municipal tax rolls. Like “non-profit” universities, we should help foot some of the “community’s” bills, rather than being treated like just another “charity” (and a rather poorly performing one at that)! Imagine what this would do to parish budgets? We might be viewed more respectfully by the society we inhabit; taken more seriously! Jesus was eloquent on the subject of using “unrighteous mammon” for greater good.

    As for clergy, I recommend reading Hans Kung’s early (short) book, Why Priests? and the recent Gary Wills’ (long) volume by the same title (yet without any acknowledgment of Kung) as primers in reforming a misnomer(ed) ministry. The Episcopal church’s clergy-centrism will die a hard death unless we do!