I wrote this back at the end of last year. It’s a rare (and obviously prophetic) glimpse of slighty scared and very uncertain pre-Catholic me.
There are lots of reasons I love living in Sydney but one of the biggest is this: we don’t have any cyclones. Or earthquakes. Or tsunamis. Or other seriously hazardous, tree-felling, roof-lifting or sandbag-inducing weather phenomena.
Those things scare me; but its also the build-up that scares me. The weather reports that get more frequent as the isobars get closer and the usually chirpy weatherman gets grimmer. And everyone is talking about it: “Will it become a category 3? Where will it make landfall? Should we all just leave? Now?” (Incidentally, the answer to the last questions is always “Yes. Yes you should.”)
I have one of those storms approaching right now. It’s actually a theological storm, or rather an ecclesiological one.
I know its coming but I have no idea how severe it will be. Will it just be a drenching downpour that cleans some of the grime away? Or will it be a cyclone that picks me up and deposits me in Kansas? Will the wind just rattle the windows or tear the roof off?
Just so you know, my rough guide is:
Category 1: rethinking hymns (I feel enthusiastic about traditional stuff… and probably even more of snob.)
Category 2: rethinking predestination (I become an Arminian and annoy all my Calvinist friends)
Category 3: rethinking saints, works and popes (I become Catholic to the confusion of everyone.)
Category 4: rethinking the Trinity (I become a very “progressive” Christian/Mormon/Unitarian; my friends try to save me. Again.)
Category 5: rethinking Jesus (I become a Buddhist/Atheist/Wiccan/Muslim and… get a whole bunch of new friends! Oh dear.)
Seriously, I just don’t know. At the end of this questioning, or rather this season of questioning, I don’t know what sort of Christian I will be. I could be a Catholic. Or a Progressive. And for a self-described Evangelical, that is very scary.
But unlike real storms that will flood your house or make you wish you had decent insurance, there’s no good in leaving. There’s no point running for the hills, or escaping to the (moral) high ground. I can’t even bunker down and sand-bag my own precious beliefs because I don’t know which ones are worth protecting yet.
And I don’t want to. At the end of his world-up-ending Sermon on the Mount Jesus says,
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
I want to be founded on the Rock. I want to put Jesus’ words into practice and to follow Him completely.
So I’m not going to run from this storm. I don’t know how my present “home” in Evangelical Anglicanism will fare and I don’t know in which house of worship I’ll end up. But the storm is coming. Jesus is the Rock. And I want my Spiritual home – whether Evangelical, Catholic, Progressive or something else entirely – to be built only on Him.