North American Christianity is awash with ideas, models, and programs designed to reverse the increasing cultural marginality of the Church. Amid the anger, fear, and even violence that this new reality has provoked amongst Christians, perhaps it is time to step back and in the humility and peace of Christ, re-examine the true nature of the situation. In doing so, we do well to remember that God is neither surprised nor nervous – that God loves the world and Jesus remains faithful to building and sustaining the Church, his Body and Bride, as a foretaste of the Kingdom, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail!
Such a posture affords us the opportunity to ask fresh questions as we seek a renewed imagination for the role of the Church in God’s mission.
- How might we understand and live as the Church if we stop seeing the marginality of Christianity as a threat to God’s mission?
- What will it mean for the life and witness of the Church if we submit to the reality that God’s Kingdom is a gift to be received and not a “state” we are responsible to bring about?
We have much to learn from those who are asking these kinds of questions and seeking to live out responses. Of unique importance are the stories and perspectives of those who live in progressive urban centers of Canada and the Unites States and other contexts where the Church is experiencing advanced stages of marginalization.