Len Sweet’s article “The Perfect Storm” declares early on that "the transformations taking place during the current culturestorms are without precedent in Christian history", thereby setting the tone for his theology of the apocalypse for Western Christianity. Yet, one of the aspects of Sweet’s writing that I appreciate most is his optimism that Christians can help create a renewed Church on the other side of this Storm; that, in fact, this presents an incredible opportunity for followers of Jesus Christ to re-express ourselves in more resonant, authentic, manifestations of Christian character and practice. Still, we should not underplay the dangers we are now facing; though, I am inclined to believe that these times are not only dangerous but opportune as well.
Perhaps this sentiment is best reflected through the oft-cited duality of the pinyin [romanticized] Chinese character for the word crisis, or wei ji, which is a combination of the two words
danger + opportunity. Ji, taken by itself, means moment, chance, or opportunity. Wei, on the other hand, means dangerous or precarious. It seems to me that The Perfect Storm, comprised of post-christendom, post-modernism, and post-scale, may be more than just terrifying, it may be miraculous.
This may be the time when the Church in the West is free to tell “the Christian story to people for whom it is entirely unknown,” free from the hostile and indifferent opinions of Christ-followers by religious unaffiliates and adversaries. As Stuart Murray notes, this may be the time “when a new and dynamic Christianity could arise from [the] ashes [of Christendom’s demise].” The Perfect Storm may give us the opportunity to remake the world once the storm has settled.
The Prophet Habakkuk lived through a “storm” and we have recorded his prayers as a kind-of pilot’s handbook for stormy seas. In the text, Habakkuk gives us a framework for how we might choose to view our storm:
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
The Lord 's Answer
5 "Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians, [a]
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwelling places not their own.
10 They deride kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
they build earthen ramps and capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty men, whose own strength is their god."
In Habakkuk’s time, there was a storm coming and he had no concept of how to either weather or escape this storm. He wondered why God would allow a storm like this to even occur, and yet the storm served God’s purposes of redemption for
In effect, God is once again saying “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up [postmodernism], that [cynical] and [mystical] worldview, which will sweep across the whole earth to seize [churches and Christians] not its own, while [post-scale techologies and globalization] deride kings and scoff at rulers. [They] laughs at cities and build [information highways] and capture [GNR]; and [Christendom] will pass like the wind and go on— [leaving] guilty men, whose strength was their god."
The question for us, like it was for Habakkuk, is how will we respond to this Storm? How will we respond to the tumult that God has chosen for us to endure? Will we embrace the Storm as an opportunity – a time of cleansing and adventure – or will we run in terror, citing the disaster as judgement for our sins?
Will it be Ji, or Wei?
 Leonard Sweet, “Weathering Christianity’s Perfect Storm.”
 Sweet argues that the tsunami of post-modernism, the hurricane of post-christendom, and the global-warming of post-scale have collectively overlapped and created “The Perfect Storm.”
 wei ji., lit. “crisis”
 Stuart Murray, Post-Christendom (
 Stuart Murray, Post-Christendom (
 Habakkuk 1.2a, 5-6, 10-11 NIV.
 abbrev.. Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, Robotics.