In 1973 Greenleaf, in a talk he gave, said the following: I believe that the potential power of the churches remains undiminished, but that it needs to be turned into new channels to be realized as a social force.  The opportunity that is open to be seized is a new mission of healing to the whole institutional structure of society.

 Today, do the ‘Churches’ (think: all faith-traditions) have potential power?  Since 1973, to what extent have the ‘Churches’ turned their potential power into new channels that have become realized as a social force?          

 Certainly many ‘churches’ have crossed the boundary that separates the State from the Church and have used their power to directly impact our politics.  Rather than being shinning beacons that welcome all, too many ‘churches’ have become spotlights that seek out those who agree with their political views.  Their political views have trumped their espoused religious beliefs.  The last time I checked ALL faith-traditions held a common-boundary belief: Each human is an image of God!  Politics has nothing to do with it – in fact, being political negates this concept. 

 Our Founding Fathers were clear: There must be a separation between the State and the ‘Church.’  Today, it seems that a number of ‘Churches’ want to merge and integrate the ‘Church’ and the State and create a theocracy.  History teaches us – at least history tell us for too often we are not good students and don’t learn from our teacher, history – theocracies do not enhance life, they destroy and they are  destroyed (mostly from within, sometimes from without). 

 Greenleaf does not leave us to speculate as to what he means.  Greenleaf defines the opportunity that is open to be seized and that is for the ‘Churches’ to embrace a new mission of healing to the whole institutional structure of society.  Thankfully there have been a few ‘Churches’ that have embraced this new mission of healing.  Greenleaf reminds us in his writings that ‘religion’ is rooted in ‘religio’ which means ‘to re-bind, to make whole, to heal.’ 

 What would happen if a critical mass of ‘Churches’ came together and committed to embrace together a ‘Mission of Healing’?  How many ‘Churches’ need to heal?  How many ‘Churches’ continue to wound rather than heal?  How many ‘Churches’ have sold their soul to mammon?  How many ‘Churches’ have embraced the darkness and called it the light?  How many Churches have taken up Greenleaf’s invitation-challenge and committed themselves to be servant-churches and serve so that people grow and society becomes more just, caring and loving? 

 Gandhi’s observation holds for each person and each ‘Church’: My life is my message! 

 Mother Teresa’s words provide us a little piece of light and a beacon of guidance: I am not called to be effective; I am called to be faithful! 

 What is the ‘message’ that ‘Churches’ are living today?  Are ‘Churches’ being faithful to God’s healing mission or to mammon’s mission of self-centeredness? 


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