Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be made bishop in the Episcopal Church, made an interesting statement to the Boston Globe today concerning the actions of his denomination. He said this: "Chicago has nominated an openly gay person [as bishop], and there will be other dioceses that will do so - it's the way the world is moving, and it's the way the church is moving."
I believe that the second part of that sentence is instructive. "It's the way the world is moving, and it's the way the church is moving." That pretty much sums up the Episcopal Church. It also sums up a great deal of the church in the Global West, from video-feeding multi-site franchise megachurches to consumerist/isolationist house churches. The world is doing it, so the church is doing it.
I firmly believe that the Church must be in the world. We must love the people of the world and serve them. We must be able to speak to the world prophetically and in a language the world can hope to understand. But the Church must also stand against the tide of the world when the world is in rebellion against God, as it often is.
I have a picture in a book. It is a picture of the Presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Germany. He is standing on the steps of his cathedral in the 1930s. He is surrounded by altar boys and priests. And he is giving the "sieg heil" He is saluting Hitler.
The power-that-be of the Lutheran Church in Germany got on board with the Nazi party. Why? Well, perhaps because "it's the way the world is moving, and it's the way the church is moving."
In 2007 we look back and say "oh, that was bad." But why? Because now the world does not like the Nazis. The Church at the time had plenty of information that the Nazi movement was opposed to the Kingdom of God. But they conformed to the world rather than conforming to Christ. As the Church continues to do through this present day.
I believe in a Church that takes a prophetic stand against the world, the flesh, and the devil. I believe in a Church that won't bless a sexual union that defies both the letter and the spirit of God's Word. I also believe in a Church that will not tolerate homophobia or the degrading of a man based on his sexual desires. Am I asking for too much? I don't think so. But I am asking for a whole lot more than "It's the way the world is moving, and it's the way the church is moving."