Christmas On Main Street by Justin Brown on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Are you fed up with the commercialisation of Christmas? Are you cheesed off with the removal of Christ from Christmas? What can we do about it? Fight back? Campaign? Tell people off?
Rollin Grams has another suggestion. Read his proposal. Would this make for a more authentically Christian Christmas, and also be a witness to the world?
What do you think?
Australian author and broadcaster Sheridan Voysey retells the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 to talk and lead a discussion on how we take risks of faith to enter our ‘Samaria’ with the good news:
Netflix bu Dekuwa on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Canadian pastor Carey Nieuwhof again today – this time on how Netflix and other services are changing social habits, with implications for how we do church. While there is a danger that in adopting these changes as far as we can needs to be done in a way that guards against an individualism that destroys community, do we need to listen carefully here?
Near the end of the article, Nieuwhof says:
A church that has a white-hot sense of mission will almost always have the resources it needs to do what the church is called to do. But churches who want to prop up what used to sort of work, won’t.
How are our churches adapting? Indeed, are they adapting?
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral by Luc B on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
We’re probably all aware of the massive social changes in recent decades. The church has often been left bemused by them, rejecting of them, or uncritically accepting of them.
But one thing is clear: for Christian institutions to have an effective mission in the newer contexts, we have to recognise these trends, understand them, and consider how we are going to react or adapt to them.
L Gregory Jones and Nathan Jones have written an article that identifies seven key social trends. Their context is North America, but most of what they say applies to the UK and Europe. There is the occasional use of jargon (if you don’t know what a ‘mulitnodal world’ is, read the first two paragraphs of that section). But it is well worth reading their analysis. You can find the article here.
That is the easy part, though! The next thing to do is work out how we respond. What do you think?
Kodak by Insomnia Cured Here on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Could the church be having a ‘Kodak moment’ in all the wrong ways? Thom Schultz thinks so. Is he right? What should we do in order to change?
Who do people outside the church think Jesus is or was? It’s important to know what people think so that we may respond appropriately. Sometimes we answer questions that our society is not asking.
Slum Abercrombie by Karl Hans on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Several years ago, we were on holiday at a farm where another couple wore the most achingly hip clothes, even when knee deep in mud and other farm-related substances. We nicknamed them Mr Abercrombie and Mrs Fitch, after the clothing brand that thinks it is only for cool, attractive people. (Indeed, note the company’s refusal to cater for overweight women.) The Christian surely reads of this practice and concludes that idolatry is at work: idolatry of body image (which has terrifying consequences for many), and idolatry of consumerism, amongst others.
So how intriguing was it to read of the #FitchTheHomeless campaign. One man who was so incensed by the company policy has gone to charity shops, bought up any stock of A & F clothing he can find, and donated it to the homeless. After all, A & F themselves apparently refuse to donate clothing to those in need, say, when there is a natural disaster. As one former manager put it,
Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing. Only people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name.
Whether the campaign will have unintended consequences, such as people assuming that homeless people are not truly poor, remains to be seen. I also have no idea whether the person in question, a writer named Greg Karber, is a man of faith, but it does raise the question of whether Christians could or should be involved in prophetic acts against the idols of our society. The wider world has given us Adbusters: what can the church contribute?