At the end of the CREDO 2006 report on clergy wellness, there is a quote from Erich Jantsch, an astrophysicist: To live in an evolutionary spirit means to engage with full ambition and without any reserve in the structure of the present, and yet to let go and flow into a new structure when the right time has come."
The right time has come for serious restructuring of our National and Diocesan entities, who by their very nature due to constitutional, canonical and functional characteristics, are almost moribund when it comes to an evolutionary movement into something new and different. They have engaged the present, stay in the present, and form a committee to discuss the matter. If the Episcopal ecclesiastical systems are to change, some kind of flow from that which is into the potential of what could be needs to be addressed. However, we've been so stuck in the past and the present that we cannot begin to imagine evolving and flowing into a new structure.
If the church engaged with full ambition the structure of the present, it would have already figured out that novelty is the key to recognizing our decline, taking steps to reverse it and making it evolve into something new. The church must pay attention to the reality that it lacks people, resources, positive and energizing age demographics and pitiful church attendance. Some of our leaders claim to understand the present situation, but only a few are making any real attempt to engage this on the Diocesan or Parish level.
Recently I received the information about my Diocesan Convention and I found absolutely nothing different in terms of engaging in a systematic newness that would move the Diocese into a more dynamic evolutionary entity. Sure, there will be discussion groups. Haven't we had enough of these already? The Diocese will pay full attention merely to only the present. Homeostasis will reign now and forever amen. The preaching will be designed to provoke a decision of some sort of another, will be listened to respectfully, and then business as usual.
Perhaps something new will come about by a lack of money. It has already happened in Western Kansas where the Bishop is a Rector. Downsizing trends may happen in larger Dioceses in the years to come. Yet most Dioceses continue to function the same old way. This may continue until lack of money creates the political will in the clergy and people, then there will be a demand that will move the Diocese forward into that which is new. Thus the change will be by default rather than a Spirit filled evolution from that which is into that which is something new, different, exciting and challenging. Perhaps lack of money is the only novelty left that will sparked the Diocese to flow into a new structure when the right time has come. In my view, the right time has already come and maybe even gone.