Coupla tings

Brain gradually readjusting to the idea that of a return to work, so nothing profound for my first post of 2008, sorry. Instead, a couple of things that made me smile today

The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones has ‘predicted’ what next Decembers technology roundups will read like… amusement for all those geeks and tend-watchers out there! (bemusement for everyone else).

TallSkinnyKiwi posted his favourite Christmas card of 2007 for the general wonderment of us all… It was funny, profound and controversial enough to want reprint here:

JesusInBarn

[Originally sent (and presumably designed) by Becky Garrison – credit where credits due! (ie, complain to her or TSK if you don’t like it!)]

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Facebook Traffik

Right back at the beginning of this blogs short life I wrote a post called Traffik Problems, about the work of the Stop The Traffik (STT) Campaign. STT is a coalition of many charitable organisations from all over the world who have joined together to try and halt the spread of human trafficking. It’s a noble cause, and one that won’t just go away on its own.

The BBC news site is running a series of articles on “slavery in modern England”, which is largely about young women sold into sex slavery. They are worth a read if you want to understand why this is an issue. Believe me, it is. One of the leaders of City Gates has spent the last 15 years visiting prostitutes in Soho, trying to love them and minister Jesus to them. She tells me that a few years ago the background of the girls changed; they are now largely from Eastern Europe, very scared, and there against their wills.

Andrew Jones has promoted a group called The Truth Isn’t Sexy, who are trying to raise awareness of this issue in pubs and clubs, trying to get under the skin of the usual clientele…

Why am I telling you all this? Well, this is a real issue. It is a global issue. It is an issue that demands a compassionate response from all people of faith, in the same way that the 1st campaign to defeat slavery did, 200 years ago. Stop The Traffik are trying to get a petition of one million signatures to present to the United Nations in February, to drive the politicians to do something about this worldwide trade in people. What can you do?

STOP THE TRAFFIK

Click on the button, go to their site and read the stories. Go to The Truth Isn’t Sexy’s site, or the Poppy Project’s site and read the stories there. Sign the STT petition.

I’m not a fan of facebook, and I’m not a member. But if you are, then you can help by joining Stop The Traffik’s petition group. And by getting all your friends to too…

Go sign up.

Emerging Perspective

Wow.
Well, I seem to have been included in the Emergent Village blog round-up of the latest Mark Driscoll furore (see my post here), mainly thanks to this post of Grace’s, (which obviously got a lot more traffic than its 36 comments suggests!). I guess that brings me much more fully into the ‘emerging conversation’ than I thought I was, which probably warrants some clarification…

So far I’ve seem myself as a spectator on the whole emerging church thing; standing on the outside, looking in critically (in the positive sense of that word). I’m part of the New Church stream here in the UK, which is not exactly mainstream, but is definitely not emerging either (although I believe Andrew Jones considers the UK charismatic church as a precursor to emerging stuff over here). My upbringing is in the Anglican church.

I see the emerging conversation as broadly positive. It seems to me to be part of a wider move within the Western churches to reassess themselves and their position and purpose, which has to be a good thing. The driver for this particular movement (although I’m not sure it can be called that – movements tend to be led, and this one definitely doesn’t seem to be) is the desire to be Relevant (it does seem to need to be capitalised for some reason) to post-modern society. I don’t entirely agree with that perspective, but I that’s because I see post-modernism to be almost solely the proviso of media-savvy educated white middle class people; I’m not sure that the characteristics of post-modernism extend beyond that sector of society yet.

I can understand a desire to be Relevant, I just think that people make their own relevance when the message is challenging enough. What we need is not Relevant, but Authentic.

Like I said in my last post, I’ve not read Brian McLaren’s “Everything must Change yet, but from what I can gather I think the book is part of an honest attempt to critically re-evaluate our faith; to try and discern how the 1st Century message of Jesus translates into our 21st Century context. What would Jesus have to say to us about how we follow him, about how we express our faith to the world? I’ve not worked it out yet, but I’m pretty sure it would have a lot to do with ‘widows and orphans’.

Anything that drives us to reconsider ‘how should we then live?’ is positive, in my opinion, which is why I see the emerging conversation as positive. I’m not sure that I would always reach the same conclusions, but it is at least a genuine question: “how do we love? How do we reach out to those that don’t know Jesus? How do we minister to the poor, the rejected?”

To me, the question ringing in my ears is, if I were there, walking in 1st Century Palestine, would my current faith put me with the hungry followers of Jesus or the indignant Pharisees? I think for too many of us here in the West, if we are truthful with ourselves we would find ourselves with the religious establishment of the day decrying the radical who dared to claim he had a better understanding of God… At least within this conversation are those who are critically asking themselves this, and working out how to change direction.

Godspeed to them, I say.