Support the Café

Search our Site

Restoration and remodeling

Restoration and remodeling

Psalm 63:1-8(9-11), 98 (Morning)

Psalm 103 (Evening)

Amos 9:11-15

2 Thessalonians. 2:1-3,13-17

John 5:30-47

We’ve spent a fair while in the Daily Office on the book of Amos in this cycle; it’s an important book for any of us who crave social justice. Amos is a book that, if we listen carefully, we get an important message–that there’s more to following God’s call than merely “being religious.” It’s a book that reminds us that God’s intent is for transformed people to be more than observant and more than personally moral–that we are called to be collectively moral people as a society. It’s a book that sometimes grates on the sensibilities of those who feel personally pious and want to blame evil on others, or on a dark power that can sway us. Amos is a little bit like Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

As we reach the end of this book, today’s reading reminds us of another difficult truth–that God expects us to rebuild what belongs to us rather than destroy and start over. Some of the things we are called to rebuild (like the Earth)…well there is no tearing it down and starting over. I don’t see any handy planets in the area we can all pack up and move to and recolonize. These rebuilt places are to be a home for all–not just the chosen or special.

It’s another theme that I encountered in my own life in The Great House Remodeling. I discovered that there was way more work than I thought there’d be, it was way more costly than I thought it was, and that my friends did not always agree it was worth it. I don’t think it was a random coincidence that this experience was followed by my mission trip to Lui, South Sudan. In Lui, I discovered the other side that counterbalanced the heaviness and burdensomeness I encountered in The Great House Remodeling–that among the deepest depths of poverty, disease, and aftermath of fifty years of war, there was hope, and singing, and joy coexisting with PTSD and fear…and that hope was winning.

All of us have tasks staring us in the face, calling us to rebuild rather than destroy, to live with what we have rather than demolish and create from new. Perhaps it is in repairing the torn remnant of our family life, or restructuring our workplaces to create more fairness and equality. Maybe it’s something as simple as having a greater vigilance about recycling, or using less of a carbon footprint, even when sometimes it feels like our own efforts only create more room for others to be more wasteful.

In terms of how this relates with our own tensions within the Episcopal Church, perhaps it means that we need to remain in the tensions of our history as “church as edifice” vs. “re-imagining a church where the edifices are fewer and further between.” In a world where Christianity no longer dominates in an increasingly secular and pleural America, what does the rebuilt church look like? I don’t think any of us can answer that unless we are willing to start to re-frame our ministries through the lens of their intersections with our communities. This is not new; it was created out of General Convention 2003. Some dioceses are already attempting the process on a congregation-to-diocese level; the one I am most familiar with is the process in the Diocese of Indianapolis, where congregations are asked to complete an annual self-study and provide a short narrative for the next year’s diocesan convention.

What do we discover is in need of rebuilding when we examine our common life and ministry, and where to we feel called to pitch in to do the hard work of restoration?

Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, writes about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café