The Next Reformation

“We went through fire and water but you brought us to a place of abundance.” – Psalm 66:12 

This month we begin a year of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Christians are no longer what we started out as – a band of questioning Jews and Greeks who met a man named Jesus. Nor are we the one holy Roman Catholic Church with global offices in many countries.  We are people who protested those ways on behalf of a new one.  We read our own Bible and think our own thoughts, and enjoy the priesthood of all believers, not just the Priesthood.  Once we became anti-papist in a religious democratic exuberance, one that has now also run its course.

Oddly what is consistent is religious reformation.  From our beginnings we questioned religious fossilization.  Then we questioned it again.  And now even many of us who love the new Pope, as do I, deeply sense that we are not really in the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation.  We are in the first year of a new global reformation of religion.  Call it spiritual but not religious.  Call it fed up with the old ways and the old days.  Or call it the multifaith movement, where we know there is more than one name for God and are desperate for the peace that passes tribal understanding.  Religious discord roots terrorism as well as the so-called Holy Land and its soul- disturbing disputes.  Religion is once again resisting fossilization into warfare or dusty denominations or fundamentalisms or all of the above, causing many people to say they are none of the above.

Happy First Year of the next Reformation!


O God, you who can’t be contained in any one box, draw near and re-form yourself in us again and again.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her book: Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.