It seems to me that church history is more like astronomy than sociology. Sometimes when things blow up they give life in new forms. Sometimes when things hold together, they be come black holes whose only reference point is themselves.
Twenty years ago, it appeared certain that our church would be kicked out of the Presbyterian denomination and I would be defrocked because of our support for GLBT rights. Instead, some of the people who sat in invincible positions of authority are now gone and we are inexplicably still here. Even those who could not get along at our church and left, have become seeds of wonderful new growth in other places. They have served people we would never have been able to reach.
What we cannot see in the present moment is that the entire scene is evolving and morphing with a logic transcendental to human schemes. We cannot run ahead of the process and figure out what our lives mean. The only sense we can make of history is that it is bigger than any one of us, and good in ways we cannot yet understand. Our only duty is to be faithful to each other and to the truth as far as our feeble lights can discern it. “Truth” in a changing universe is not a static position, but a commitment to be radically honest throughout life’s changes.