Who is doing this? Those stuffy old conservative evangelicals, whose Anglicanism is rather suspect? Actually, though evangelicals are (as one might say) liberally involved, the movement is headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams, who has put his personal authority (and significant discretionary money) into this movement, and embraces true liberals of many persuasions. So far, there are around 650 "fresh expressions of church" listed on the official Fresh Expressions website. You can check it out—or ask Bishop Bird his impressions of the self-select session on Fresh Expressions at Lambeth.
Of course, starting a new church, especially a "fresh expression of church," is not for wimps, whatever label they may put on themselves. A timid theological liberal (a phrase which should be an oxymoron) is more likely to ask, "Will anybody be offended?" or "Let's not think about starting new churches while so many old ones are struggling," or "Would I still be on the diocesan pension plan?" or even "Why would we bother?" There might be some symbolism in the fact that, while the Niagara diocesan office has five people in the finance department, we no longer have even one Director of Evangelism.
The way of Jesus is not just to bless whatever society dictates—to add a mildly religious veneer to the culture. You don't get crucified (or resurrected for that matter) for doing that. The way of Jesus is rather to preach and live a way of doing things that is radically different from the world around. That radical difference is what is truly liberal—and truly liberating. Let's shed our false, timid "liberalism" and embrace the true, radical liberalism of Jesus.
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