Thursday, March 06, 2008


The Church must change, not only in order to attract new members and grow, not simply in order to survive as an institution. The Church must embrace change if it is to embrace the mission to which Christ is calling it in the 21st century: a mission to be Jesus to a world which is increasingly divided, increasingly broken, increasingly secularized, and plummeting semi-obliviously toward disaster. How can we be Jesus’ loving hands (multiplying bread and fish); how can we be his healing presence (casting out demons and raising the dead); how can we live his Paschal Mystery—dying to ourselves and being raised up for others in our world today? A world that, in California, looks like four-lane freeways and identical shopping outlets; tucked-away migrant labor camps and lonely oncology wards? A world that, in San Salvador, looks like bright children with an uncertain future, unwieldy bureaucracies top-heavy with corrupt officials, the price of beans and corn doubling so people can eat half as much, a dozen young lives a day cut off by uncaring violence, families on two sides of a wall that prevents them from seeing each other, maybe ever again?

I don’t have a strategy or technique for being Jesus in the middle of all of this. I know that it is important to keep love several blocks ahead of fear. I know accompaniment is key—it’s important just to be there with people; to show up. And I know that mission is about transformation—of the world in Christ’s image, yes, but first and foremost, of ourselves. It won’t happen by sitting still. That transformation-that-is-mission happens when we allow ourselves to be turned inside-out by others’ reality, which we come to realize is our reality too. Then, there is true solidarity: we stand together. Then we can start to talk about change in the world, together, because we ourselves have been changed.

Change is terrifying to most human beings. Yet change is also the most organic, natural thing in the world. Our bodies’ cells are constantly changing themselves, being renewed and transformed every minute; if they weren’t, we’d be dead. Change can be drastic and sudden, or gradual, but it is never total—we always bring something of the old with us, even if it’s only in the imprints of our hearts and minds, in the shaping of who we are. Change is life. To be open to change is to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, it is she who will breathe into us the power to be Jesus to the world. -Amy+


Anonymous said...

I am William K. Barnett. Below is a letter I wrote to Cristosal in November, but had no response. Our church, St. John's Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan already has a team of volunteers and has raised the funding to install a clean water system in a community with an initial visit, an installation visit, and two followups over a four-year period.

We would like to attach it to an Episcopal/Anglican Church.

San Salvador is one of three finalists for our initial site and we will be deciding soon. You can learn more about the program from the web site

It is run by the Presbyterian Church.

William K. Barnett


I am William K. Barnett, a member of St. John's Episcopal Church of Midland, Michigan 48642, USA.

There is an organization (web site organized by the Presbyterian Church which installs systems in rural community that purifies water in a batch processing method. It is self supporting with a small charge once installed.

Our church has raised the funds and has the committed personnel to install one in an underdeveloped area which is in the Western Hemisphere, north of the equator. San Salvador is one of the five finalists.THe size is only for a small community. It takes existing water and makes it drinkable.

There are already several installed in San Salvador and several hundred throughout the world. You can look at the web site for more information.

We at St. John's are doing it as a Christian Mission.

There needs to be a local operating partner. I understand the Presbyterian Church is the operating partner for several of the existing installations. We, of course, would like to install it in cooperation with an Episcopal/ Anglican church.

We are seeking any information you might provide.

Thank you in advance.

William K. (Bill) Barnett

Anonymous said...

I was moved by your comments on change; yes it is very difficult to maintain clarity of our mission; yet I always go back to the "seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall be answered, knock and the door shall be opened to not get discouraged, subscribe to the adage; each one, reach one...God bless you all