Once upon a time Microsoft dreamt of a Windows controlled world with every computer sold enabled by their operating system. Such was the power of this dream that even when the iPad was born, Microsoft would not make its Office software available to this tablet world lest it damage the Windows dream. But even mighty Microsoft could not shape the future, the iPad was here to stay and Microsoft has now had to learn to operate in a new multi operating system world, with Windows taking its place alongside Android and Apple OS and so Office for iPad was born.
But Microsoft dream on and if they cannot win us all to their operating system now they dream of making the Office Suite the software of choice for all the most essential computing tasks. Not all of us may have a Windows shaped world but which of us is free from the Office embrace?
The Church of England was born as a nation’s religion, established and woven into the heart of power; an operating system, a way of belief and thought for all the people. Even if it truly ever held such sway, gradually, especially from the Age of Enlightenment onwards, it has lost its influence. And now the Church of England exists amidst a plethora of belief systems, where the individual shapes their own world view.
But if the Church of England is no longer the operating system of choice, can it become the best software to help people with all the most essential life moments? Can we become the software of choice that helps people live well in a complex world? Not just hatching matching and dispatching, but offering ways of coping with moral, social, financial, relational, health and other crisis.
Maybe God never wanted the Church to be trying to control people’s belief systems, their way of thinking, a nation’s moral police. Maybe God just wanted the Church to be a hand of friendship, a voice of support, an act of love. Church: not an operating system of belief but a software for living in a Christ-shaped way.