Monday, January 25, 2010

What is the church we are trying to help through hermeneutics?

Just a brief post to assure that this blog remains 'alive' ... am in the midst of moving to Christchurch from Nelson and finding quiet moments to write hard to come by.

I see, catching up on some media reading, that for the fifth year in a row Church of England attendance figures have fallen. Further, the average age of churchgoers is 61 (though this may be an improvement as, apparently, there are more children in church). Whether or not our ACANZP attendance figures have also been falling and our average age is 61 I do not know (only God does, as we do not keep 'whole of our church' figures). But I would readily believe it to be true simply because it is possible to walk into Anglican churches in our land and be simultaneously encouraged by the fullness of the congregation and discouraged by the high proportion of elderly people in the it.

OK, all sorts of things can be said about these situations, what to do, and all that. Here I simply make the point that hermeneutics is a contextual discipline in a variety of ways. One of those contexts (for example) for hermeneutics and questions of human dignity is valuing people created in God's image and redeemed through God's love. But another context is (what I will call) 'the future of the church'. A challenging question for ACANZP this year is this: what conclusions might we reach which enhance our mission as a church with respect to lowering our average age of attenders?

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