All will be thrown down


Christendom’s temple began
its inevitable disintegration
some decades ago.
We didn’t see it coming.
It had become weakened, its foundations
eroded by respectability and status.
The collapse continues, and gains intensity
as priests are disgraced,
bishops run for cover,
and Rome’s response is to secure itself
behind barricades of denial.
Ah, but we are Protestant;
we are not to blame.
No, but the scandal of our brethren
is a reminder of our own shortcomings and lies;
along with our deluded half-baked attempts
to create protestant versions
of the Christendom dream.

Let it go.
Refuse to weep or mourn.
It does not matter.
We built a grand edifice and pretended
that some divine uncritical blessing
rested upon it. It colluded  with us,
spending so many of its years
draping itself in self-importance;
and never really understanding
that discipleship is a humble thing,
with much giving and serving
and dying.
Eschew the role of custodian;
do not become a curator
of ancient and best-forgotten relics.
Let the stones be thrown down
and the walls crumble!
They will not be missed.
Spray what remains with rude slogans..

Claim your true identity as a disciple,
a follower of one who died
in order that the whole of creation
might become reborn.
Embrace the birth-pangs;
anticipate with hope the new thing
that is surely coming
to sweep away the remnants of the old.
Let the sacred memories of Christendom
be relegated to the history books
and let them serve as a warning.

© Ken Rookes 2012

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2 thoughts on “All will be thrown down

  1. I like it very much Ken. I guess some would regard the idea of discipleship as one of those relics of the past that are best forgotten too. I’m not one of them, but it does raise the question of discernment. On what basis do we decide what ancient material is a best-forgotten relic, and what is the stuff of life? I’m one of those who says that the plum-line is Christ, who, while not entirely the same as Scripture, is at least tethered to Scripture in an unseverable manner. I guess that makes me a believer in tradition in Han-Georg Gadamer’s sense: tradition as Christ reconfiguring his face over and over again in ways that are faithful to previous figurations and yet vitally addressing the concerns of our own places and times.

    • Discipleship is always in the present. The plumb line is indeed Jesus. I am less concerned with all the theological accretions, and more concerned with what I see as his prime message as we find it in the gospel record – which, of course, brings us back to the matter of discernment. In the end, for me, it is grace, and love for God and for neighbour.

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