Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Rhetoric of Crisis

My friend Jim, posted the quote below at his blog noting "I hesitated posting this as I fear that it falls into the very category I’m pointing to in the post."
“The church is immersed, in short, in a rhetoric of crisis…. At first I joined fully in the rhetoric of crisis. I found that it gave me entree to audiences…I began to get uneasy about my zealous viewpoint for three resons…. For one thing I found myself part of a cadre of interpreters who were touring the denomination saying things that seemed to procure more and more invitations to say more and more potent and decisive things.

I began to realize that the rhetoric of crisis is a rhetoric of power. It gives power to the speaker…the rhetoric of crisis takes power away from the laity and pastors by diminishing the significance of their work…. Second...the rhetoric of crisis profoundly serves U.S. culture’s idol of success.… Worse, the rhetoric of crisis distracts the church from the gospel it has been entrusted with proclaiming. It focuses on the institution instead of the message the institution represents to the world.”

Polity, Practice, and the Mission of the United Methodist Church, 2006 Edition, Thomas Edward Frank
I do believe that when we run around like ecclesiastical version of Chicken Licken proclaiming that the Church Is Falling, the institution suffers. But when we look less to the needs of the church and more to the real needs of the lost and hurting around us—physical needs, emotional needs and mostly the need for a real and meaningful relationship with God through a community of faith—then we are being about what the institution is for rather than worrying about the institution of the church for its own sake.

That's my take. What do you think?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



  • At 6/24/2009 3:21 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    Frank: I also think this dovetails with the lack of patience of our own "microwave generation" that is used to things being done in a minute, an hour, or at most a day or a week and so the rhetoric of crisis serves to exacerbate that sense that things must be done NOW and IMMEDIATELY or all will be lost. Contrast that with the Benedictine values of stability, obedience, and conversion of life over a longer time horizon, and Christianity looks downright glacial in comparison with the instantaneous culture surrounding us.


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