The Duke of Edinburgh, Engelbert Humperdinck and the Champions of Europe
A regular Friday round-up of articles which I have found interesting / thought-provoking / challenging / amusing during the week, pointing you in the direction of some stuff you might have otherwise missed.
Are there any Christians in Faversham?
It’s a useful question – how would you answer? Hold that thought! Maybe you’d like to know that the question has been prompted by no less a person than the Duke of Edinburgh. To find out why, I recommend you read a post by Simon Jones that has been making me think this week.
In Tales of the Unexpected, Simon Jones tells of his conversation with the Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of the newly refurbished Bromley and Downham youth centre, and how he was caught offguard by the Duke’s leftfield question (‘Are there any Christians in Bromley?’). He explains how he continued to reflect on the question in the light of a bible study on Romans 12.
I can answer the question by saying that there are loads of people who believe in God, seek to follow Jesus, . . . But I wonder how Bromley’s residents would have answered the question . . . would my neighbour wrestling with debt answer so positively or my work colleague trying to keep a drink problem hidden or my friend struggling with anger? Would the homeless man trying to get his life back together, seeking a community where he can be accepted and helped answer in the affirmative?
So, are there any Christians in Faversham? Having read Simon’s article, has the way you answer the question changed?
Tomorrow evening sees the final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. British hopes are pinned to ‘Love Will Set You Free’ by Engelbert Humperdinck (described as a man whose name is an anagram of the first ten pages of the US constitution). All eyes will be on Azerbaijan, which is why some are using the opportunity to highlight the country’s poor human rights record and government limitations on freedom of expression, including harsh religious censorship. As (perhaps) we watch tomorrow, BMS World Mission are encouraging us ‘to spare some time to pray for the nation and the plight of Christians and others there.’
Perhaps you’ll find it a good way of using the interlude.
Others, including Krish Kandiah, are encouraging people to use the Twitter eurovision hashtags during the programme to make a point. Krish’s post, Azerbaijan, Human Rights and how Eurovision can help, has some useful background information on human rights violations, so do read and join in.
In an earlier post, Krish suggests five key challenges for evangelicals and five opportunities (Issues Facing Evangelicals Today). The fourth challenge is: Discipleship Deficit leads to Consumer Christians
As Bishop Graham Cray often points out, our culture is better at discipling us than the church. Because we have not adequately discipled our children, young people, emerging adults, adults and older people – our culture has done the job for us. There are many positive elements in our culture but there are some that are destructive. The Consumer, self-centred side to our culture is having far reaching consequences into the life, worship, teaching and mission of the church. As a result one of the key areas we are seeing catastrophic losses is the missing generation of twenty somethings who are not virtually absent from the life of the church. We are not equipping people to live life in the footsteps of Jesus and so when they get hit by the disciplemaking machine of our culture they have no defences and are blown away. With so many people wiped out of effective Christian life and service we are unable to effectively reach this generation with the gospel. It’s time we rediscovered the church as a disciple making community.
In response, someone has made the comment:
A generation ago, Christians expected to suffer for the gospel. Today, they won’t even run a Sunday School class if it will cause them too much inconvenience.
Our friends in the Church of England have been trying to make sense of what the House of Bishops have been doing with the draft legislation on women bishops. Many have been blogging their thoughts (including Ian Black, the Vicar of Whitkirk in Leeds, previously of Faversham). In the light of this, I came across the Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained. Here are just three of them:
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.
7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.
And finally . . . .
Chelsea – Champions of Europe
. . . finally!