A puddle, the spirit of the age, and equality in church

An Obadiah Slope column

C. S. Lewis’ puddle: In “The Weight of Glory,” C. S. Lewis mentions that we are like children, happy to splash about in mud puddles even though we’ve been offered a holiday at sea. Christian preaching and teaching thus have a double responsibility; we must help people see that they are splashing about in mud puddles and visualize the holiday at sea that God desires for us.

Unfortunately, Christians tend to get caught up in the Spirit of the age far too often. We fail to see that the gospel offers a vision of life that is far greater than the secular world can imagine. Whether we are talking about the secular vision of social justice, sexuality, race relations, gender equality — what have you — these are like the mud puddles that C. S. Lewis has in mind. We cannot be satisfied with secular/unchristian versions of human flourishing, and we cannot be naive about the world and its lies. Yet, we will absolutely fail in our witness if we are bitter or cynical.

The gospel of grace requires us to love everyone splashing about in mud puddles even as we organize our own communities for a holiday at sea and continually invite others to join us. Christian witness in the 21st century will require clarity of boundaries, clarity in gospel communication, and genuine hospitality for the many broken people who need the love of Christ.

Journalist David Virtue interviews Dr Bryan C. Hollon, president of the Trinity Anglican Seminary in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.


Downunder link: Created to provide a place for evangelicals to train as Episcopal (Anglican) ministers in the US as part of a renewal movement, Trinity Anglican Seminary now serves the breakaway Anglican Church in North America. There’s an Aussie link. One of the three founders of Trinity was an Australian: Bishop Alfred Stanway, a CMS missionary who served in Africa and then went to found Trinity, spending his retirement planting a mustard seed that has done what Jesus said mustard seeds could do.


From the milds of the internet: Obadiah sees a strange pattern on The Other Cheek editor’s Facebook page. When the discussion gets heated and commenters are reminded that turning The Other Cheek suits the forum or are asked not to attack other commenters, invariably the response is, “Have you asked the other person to do this?” Personally, Obadiah has some sympathy with being frustrated during discussions, and being the one pulled up. “Officer, everyone else was 10kmh above the speed limit.” Online, you can still have a log in your eye, it seems.


From the wilds of the internet: via Evie Joy and others


All equal in church: The Associated Press reports on the good news of a Black American Episcopal Methodist church growing in the suburbs of Washington. “But Kingdom Fellowship still wants to be identified with its homespun hospitality and a culture that puts its members on equal footing regardless of what they do outside the church.

“‘We appreciate that you’re the CEO, whatever. We need some help on the parking lot. It’s great you’re … the head of the ER medical unit. We need somebody to hold this door. And that’s the culture,’ (the churches minister Matthew) Watley said.”

Obadiah loves the moments when the clouds part and church is revealed as a foretaste of heaven.