Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Spiritual DNA" (be wary of genetic manipulation!)

Church growth and development researchers speak of a church's "DNA." John Maxwell's INJOY Stewardship Services describes it this way:

We begin by discerning your church’s “DNA”—the essential distinguishing characteristics that make you who you are. We learn your history and connect it with your future.

In a real teaching masterpiece, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda discusses the DNA of both Anglicanism and his Province. His article is well worth your time and, if you care about Anglican Christianity at all, you will be inspired. He writes,

In the Church of Uganda, Anglicanism has been built on three pillars: martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate. Yet each of these refers back to the Word of God, the ground on which all is built: The faith of the martyrs was maintained by the Word of God, the East African revival brought to the people the Word of God, and the historic ordering of ministry was designed to advance the Word of God.

If you go back far enough in a church's history (your local church, your diocese, even a denomination or larger movement) you will find such strands of DNA. Churches suffer when they get busy with all kinds of things they were not put into the world to do. Their DNA is a gift from God, woven by the Holy Spirit as part of the Father's plan in Jesus Christ.

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is creating myths left and right to keep you from rediscovering the DNA of Anglican witness. Buzz words like "inclusiveness" and "polity" are being piled up to bury foundational truths about Anglicanism in America and on the Northern Plains. It is "spiritual genetic manipulation" and the experimenting and tinkering are killing the Anglican witness (at least TEC's version) in South Dakota and across North America.

Here's just one marker from the Spiritual DNA of American Anglicanism:

WE, THE CLERGY AND LAITY OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, AS CHRISTIANS AND MEMBERS OF THE ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC,
AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH, WISHING TO PROPAGATE THE FAITH
AND DESIRING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD
AND THE CORPORATE LIFE OF OUR BRANCH OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION,
DO HEREBY ESTABLISH AND ORDAIN THIS CONSTITUTION AND THESE CANONS
Preamble to the Diocesan Constitution and Canons

This diocese was founded for Christian witness, not to be an eccentric sect, detached from the rest of the Christian world.

This diocese was founded to express the church as presented in its Creeds: One (unified with other Christians, not off on some tangent), Holy (in the service of God, not human agendas), Catholic (seeking to be unified with Christians across time and place, not an isolated sect) and Apostolic (carrying on the teaching of God's Word and celebration of Christ's Sacraments as received over the centuries, not changing or misrepresenting them to accomodate passing fads).

This diocese was founded to propagate the faith - to spread Christianity and cultivate discipleship, not to give people esoteric reasons to dismiss the faith or customize it to their personal or factional wants.

This diocese was founded to worship God. Not, primarily, to carry political causes or advance factional agendas. The church is to lead people to intimacy with and celebration of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

This diocese was founded as a branch of the Anglican Communion. The current diocese's declaration of "a new American Revolution" (against global Christianity) and its substitution of secular (mainly gay and lesbian) agendas for the positions of worldwide Anglicanism are a direct rejection of the founding vision of the diocese - a departure from its own DNA and a precursor to church decline and death.

An Anglican witness on the Northern Plains needs to get back to the real, God-given DNA of the church. Our history - our God given DNA, not the TEC myth - can connect us to real hope for the future.


1 comment:

DennyT said...

There are pockets within the Dakotas that are proud to build our God given DNA through our acts and not just our words.

There are congregations in the Dakotas that are growing in faith, discipleship,outreach, and not surprisingly membership.

Many of us are proud to be part of the Anglican Communion.