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Suffocating the voice...

by Gary Starkey

Dear Colleagues...

What is it that is suffocating the voice of the Church so that we cannot pray with freedom in the name of Jesus Christ? That's what I have been asking myself....

Something is stifling our prayers. Our basic Christian understanding is that healing, saving power is manifest in God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ (and not in something else). Yet inevitably when we conference together as a whole, our invocations are trifling and indistinct. These vague and self-referential invocations are not honest expressions of our theology and they will not cast out our demons. They are ideological constructs and chatter in our ears as voices of human vanity and invention.

When we gather as clergy of the Annual Conference (or as a congregation), we gather in the name of Jesus Christ...not in our own names...not in the name of the American people nor the German volk...not in the power of current agenda nor the myth of progress...but in the One name given for our salvation, even Jesus Christ.

Everything else divides and excludes and strangles the life of the Church. When our prayers refuse Jesus Christ, I cannot participate. When our leaders will not acknowledge Jesus Christ, I cannot follow their leadership. When our covenants do not bow to Jesus Christ, I cannot be in covenant.

Gary Starkey

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