[The Church of Ireland] Technical aids and new technologies are no substitute for lives of active Christian service in a world of evil, need and want, Archbishop Robin Eames said today.
During a visit to the Christian Resources Exhibition at the King's Hall in Belfast, Archbishop Eames spoke to clergy from various denominations on the character and challenge of Christian leadership.
He said, "The heart of the Christian Gospel lies in denial of self. Jesus called people to deny, reject and remove themselves from the love of self and the 'self importance of self.' He gave them the vision of life where all that human life offered could only reach its real fulfillment, its real purpose when we surrender to Jesus Christ. There is simply no substitute to that experience as the starting point to Christian leadership.
"So much in the life of the Church today is a pale reflection of that experience. It is often a compromise, a half-hearted witness. We don't like to 'rock the boat' in society. We reflect the standards of the world rather than the standards of Christ. Respectability has replaced sacrifice. Power and influence are more important than the vision of Christ."
Archbishop Eames said the force of evil and the anti-Christ is on our doorsteps.
"Evil is a reality. Wherever we see hatred, division, sectarianism, abuse of little children, glorification of base attitudes, lies and falsehood - it all cries out for the leadership the voice of Christ alone can provide," he said.
Archbishop Eames said the most powerful influence of a Christian life is when people look at it and see in real life terms a life that means something - a life that works.
He said, "It is when the Christian and the Christian Church become totally involved in the ups and downs of life that real Christian leadership becomes most effective. It is when Christians take the risk, raise 'their heads above the parapet', face the world as it really is head-on, that true leadership is seen."
Archbishop Eames concluded, "Northern Ireland needs a new vision of the Call of Christ. Those of us who claim the name of the living Christ are called to find new and exciting ways of telling the story, not least in active lives of service in the community."