Colin Gunton makes a comment that has captured my imagination (The Actuality of the Atonement, p 183):
The test of the church’s form of life … is not whether it merely preaches against contemporary idolatry and lies, but whether, first, its manner of proclamation truly reveals things for what they are, idolatrous perversions of God’s good creation; and, second, it develops a way of being in the world in which they are seen to be in the process of defeat.
Speaking the truth about contemporary idolatry and lies must involve more than a knee-jerk reactionary We Told You So kind of triumphalism.
For example, it’s not enough to simply point to the bankruptcy of the modern financial set-up in the wake of the GFC (like everyone else). We’ve got to be able to bear some sort of witness — however tentative and provisional — to God’s alternative. And that’s a lot more challenging. But what if we actually took this seriously? What would our preaching be like?
Likewise, becoming communities in which the victory God has won in Christ is actually being realised in anticipation of its final implementation is a big ask. It’ll need to take us far beyond being known simply for what we’re against.
How beautiful would it be if Sydney Anglican churches were known as places that love life — that go all out to see it flourish, to see new life welcomed or the end of life met with dignity and grace — rather than that simply institutions that stand against various forms of death (abortion, etc)? I know that many churches already are these kinds of places — or at least long to be. But can you get a sense of the possibility of becoming communities in which lies and idols give way to God’s victory?