Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Christian" sub cultures and how we are so good at marginalizing ourselves!

A.W.Ramsey a former Archbishop of Canterbury stated in his lecture "The paradox of Christianity" that "every present vocation or profession in the world is commended as the place where a man ought to be, knowing that the performance of it is a service of God and that God is there present" he also said "Christianity came into history passionately otherworldly in spirit, and this characteristic did not hinder but rather enhanced it's impact upon the world"

I love these thoughts on the sacred and the secular and thats what disturbs me about phrases such as "christian music" it speaks of music for christians, it calls christians to the great ghetto of comfortable christianity. It is the tip of the ice berg in a deep rooted problem that the church has had for years and that is we love to be comfortable.

If I am honest thats what freaks me out about "Christian TV" it's the same. I know all these people live with the vain hope that the world beyond christendom will tune in or listen, but the reality is that the main purchases of christian music and viewers of christian Tv are christians and surely that is not what we are meant to be about?

I saw something else that was extremely scary, it was called HisBook it was a social network site for christians, please please tell me this can't be happening. We are creating but pale imitations of wonderful tools that are already in existence! Facebook is great why recreate and build a ghetto?

N.T.Wright says this "Jesus’ kingdom is not from this world but it is for this world. We Christians have often read John 18 to be saying, my kingdom is not of this world meaning my kingdom simply belongs to somewhere else called heaven. It’s not what the Greek says, actually. It’s, my kingdom is not from, or out of, this world. It is not characterized by the mechanisms and the power plays of this world. But my kingdom is for this world. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come . . . on earth as it is in heaven.” And we Christians have all too often said, “on heaven as it is in heaven, and if we can sort out a little bit of earth, that’s OK, but it’s not terribly important.” Jesus’ kingship is all about a different way of power, a different way of life, within this present world."

The Christian ghetto scares me does it scare you?

I haven't landed all these thoughts yet, need to think it through a bit more.......


Tanya Heasley said...

I have mixed thoughts, I get the whole Christian ghetto thing, it empowers Christians and helps them to feel like they belong to something, but at the same time it all seems a little too clicky for me.

I'm trying to stay integrated among non-believers and it annoys me when I'm put in the same box as a Christian who clearly prefers to segregate themselves.

Do you think Christian ghettos fail to get the message out?

Mark G said...

Such an important post: maybe we need to lay aside the term terms "christian" and "church", with all their exclusivist baggage, and start living the Lord's prayer: your Kingdom come on all the earth.

Just last night my wife was doing flower arranging in prison with five of the girls. At the end of the session all of them really wanted to pray. None of them will ever go to church when they leave (well one is getting married next year) but they all really want to pray. Our prayer is that we can find awayto create some safe holy spaces in their neighbourhood for when they move on.

And for me yesterday, there is the pain of giving out needles to people i have prayed with in prison and the community. The protocol of my employment means that i can't pray with them there and then, but injecting drug users need a safe place to pray as well.

My heart breaks (and I am sure Jesus' does to) as the church which should be a community of encouragement for us to go out and live the Jesus mission, often becomes the opposite, existing for self-perpetuation full of stress and pettiness, and with high walls of exclusion.

More and more I feel that we should stop worrying about converting people (to be like us?? - yuk!!) and live a prayerful mission of love....and let god do the rest.

Sorry, a long rambling post...