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New life … no going back

In this chapter of “Drinking the Cup,” the Rev. John Boley talks about the forward march of history.


Clergy Assistant to the Bishop, Michigan Area

It was with great joy that our extended families ushered in a precious new life – Amelia Jane Boley (Amy), daughter of Ian and Jessica Boley, born in the wee early hours of Thursday, November 9, 2017. Amy is our third grandchild. She joins Will and James – all are precious children of God.

Amy has been born in a radically different time than were her parents or grandparents. Diane and I are children of the 1950s, when the WWII generation moved on from that war and re-created their society. Our children were born in the 1980s/90s, after the tumult of the 1960s, the launch into the post-modern world and the destruction of the cold war and the colonial world.

Amy and her older cousins were all born post 9/11 and post-internet. Their country is in perpetual war and the most powerful people in the world all seem to be mentally unstable and megalomaniacal.

As I held this beautiful baby close a few days ago, it struck me how different her world is from mine of the post WWII timeframe.  And there is no going back.

To state the obvious, there is no going back for Ian and Jess as this first child will change and bless their lives.

To state the obvious, the technological revolution of the last 25 years cannot be undone and there is no going back.

There is no going back to the 1950s of my birth time. The post WWII world has given way to the post-modern world and the post 9/11 world. Many of our congregations need to come to grips with this as it relates to them. If you have ever followed the work of Phyllis Tickle, you’ll know that we are truly entering a new era of Christianity.

There is no going back to an era of racial purity. Of course, there has never been racial purity, except in the imaginations of many people. We are headed into a time where the great bronze race will come to the forefront. Our talent and health and tolerance will be improved.

There can be no going back to isolationism or xenophobia. We live in a connected world, with massive travel and migrations of peoples, and the sooner we adapt to this reality, the better.

There can no going back to a time when we see war and violence as the solution. The only hope for the future is Christian non-violence in all its many variations.

There can be no going back to an era where sexual harassment and misconduct are tolerated. This new series of disclosures about past abuse is necessary for a more just society.

There can be no going back to an era where our planet is not respected. Exploitation by some at the expense of the global community is the path to destruction and wholly contrary to our creation stewardship.

There is one thing we can go back to – the love of God through Jesus Christ – especially as translated by our Wesleyan heritage. The theology of John Wesley is the right theology for the future of our Christian world. Thanks be to God.

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