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Transfiguring Evangelism

Thursday, August 8, 2019

I know that I have been somewhat harsh in my criticism of the CofE Cathedrals that are effectively becoming theme parks of entertainment rather than retaining their place as centres of worship. I think my criticism is just, especially when (I repeat) the CofE claims to speak for Christians in this country. Its actions prove clearly that it does not: it speaks for the State and the State preaches Cultural Marxism under the guise of "Social Justice".

I do, however, recognise its struggle for, believe it or not, there are Christians in the CofE. They may not be as much in evidence in the hierarchy but they are there in parishes that hold firm to Christian principles. And where there are Christians, there is a Gospel that is struggling to be proclaimed. Evangelism is a vitally important aspect of Christian duty and it is polarised into either going too far to make the Message heard and thus forgetting what the Message says, rather like the town crier who has left his parchment at home on the kitchen work-surface and is winging it, or concentrating on what the Message says but forgetting to proclaim it.

Evangelism is hard for many Christians because the majority of Christians are introvert in their personalities. This doesn't necessarily mean they are withdrawn, sullen and silent, but rather they relax and recharge from within rather than from without. Meditative prayer and quiet study are generally easier for the introvert. Yet, the extravert needs to develop their own skills for prayer and study whereby they allow physical silence in order to focus on God. We can get too hung up on indulging our Jungian stereotypes rather than focusing on Christ Who will inspire us to do His Will by the strength of our love for Him over the love of ourselves. Yet, the introvert also needs to do that which is better suited to the extravert and spend time proclaiming the Message to real people.

What should the CofE Cathedrals be doing to draw people in? There is only one answer that I can give: Repent!

We must remember that repentance is not a turning away from sin - that's its effect. Repentance is a positive activity. Repentance is turning towards Christ.

One thing I have been hearing lately from many quarters of the internet is the message that Evangelism is about being authentically Christian. I hear this from our own Bishop Stephen Scarlett, from Abbot Tikhon, et c. I think they are absolutely right.

Evangelism needs to come from us as part of God's light. The parables are very clear. We are the light of the world, yet we shine not with our own light but the same light that bursts forth from the Transfigured Christ. If there is no oil in our lamp, if we cover our faith with Things and Gimmicks (Yes, Mrs Dean of Norwich Cathedral, a helter-skelter is a gimmick no matter how much you say it isn't!), if we fail to tend the light, then we cannot shine.

We need to ensure that we are indeed shining with God's light and not the sordid neon light of the world. This requires personal attention and self-discipline, not finding the right Tweet or Facebook post. God will always give us opportunities to evangelize but by living our lives in Him.

As many have already said, we need to forget about the latest "Fresh Expression" or other branding. There is no "Hovis" emblazoned across the Bread of Life. Our Gospel is the same recipe the World and Time over but baked in the oven of our own living. The reason that the CofE are looking for gimmicks is that they have allowed their worship to become stale in its authenticity and, rather than seeking to revive the spirit of the Liturgy with the fire of the Holy Spirit, they have looked to the world for inspiration. Thus they have changed the recipe, and shine with a neon light which is unnatural and not kindled from Mount Tabor.

The Evanglising Parish should seek to do well in the gifts differing that God has given. As long as it keeps the Catholic Faith unaltered and worships God authentically, allowing the struggles, pains, hardships, poverty, and misery of life and existence to be consecrated by repentance, then the Light of lights will shine forth giving meaning to the lives of those who seek first the kingdom of God whereupon they will find true joy in living and true light for shining.

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