I am no longer in a professional position of ministry. Again. I've been in this place before. It is familiar to me.
The most distinctive character of this situation is the feeling of the loss of authorization to critique the church. I realize much of this is my own issue. But, I know all too well the sense of entitlement that comes with position and the authority that attends it. It was something I wrestled against every single day of my professional ministry. The opposite side of this corrupt coin is the powerlessness and the implicit lack of authorization of those not in positions of authority in the church. This was also something I fought against every single day of my ministry. I continue to submit myself to the scriptures and remain in relationship with the church. But, now that I am not in a position of authority, the question that haunts me is: "Do I have permission to speak?"
I believe anyone has the right to speak and to challenge anything. Including the church. I'm reminded of William Stringfellow, one of my favorite theologians and authors, who was in fact trained as a lawyer and served as such in Harlem, New York City. He wrote over 14 theological books. I wholeheartedly agree with him that today's images, ideologies and institutions, including the church, are the contemporary manifestations of the demonic powers and principalities the Bible often mentions. I am passionate about liberating people from these powers of death.
So I choose to continue to serve in this way.