Tag Archives: contemporary culture

What the shopping riots show us about the UK’s post-secular culture

LondonRiots 2011

I have just put up a blog on the Moot Community’s Website about the link between what happened in the UKs first shopping riots and the bleak side of our emerging post-secular culture.  I think in the UK we face serious issues – and these have an impact on how we the Church respond in mission to this increasingly unhealthy and unjust situation.  To see the blog – please click here

The Re-sacralization of culture

One of the most important books I have read this year, is Barry Taylor’s “Entertainment Theology”.  This book really engages with context, exploring the developing new forms of mysticism.  I like what he says a great deal.  One of the key ideas, is the re-sacralisation of culture.  That religious symbolism has been reapprproated into culture, but where its meaning is subverted to the new world of mysticism.  Rightly Taylor states that we the church need to catch up with what is going on, and that is that the challenge to faih is not atheism and agnosticism as it was within modernity.  No, the new challenge is that people believe something else, an alternative spirituality, where religion is seen as outdated and controlling , where spirituality is perceived as the new freedom.

So the challenge then is for us to rise the challenge of seeking an alternative imagination, seeking to live and point to a God that is increasingly difficult to discern in our complex world.  The challenge is for us to seek this more artistic approach to mission, to seek God in the complexity of a world driven by new forms of mysticism.  The Emerging Church has been somewhat involved in this contextual endeavour.  The truth is, we are not quite sure where all this ls leading!!

Beyond Guilt and Shame

Over the last week, I have encountered a number of people exploring spirituality, who have used that well known mantra, “I am spiritual, not religious”.  I have had some quite profound conversations with a number of people that had relgious experience in their youth.  Words that keep appearing in these conversations are GUILT and SHAMING.  It seems that these foundational experiences often in more convervative catholic and protestant forms of church, centred on a strong narrative of guilt and shame.  One guy talked to me of his Sunday school being about filling people with fear.   In such a climate it is not surprising that people reject such forms of church as irrelevant and dehumanising.  I have been reflecting that such an approach to church devoid of love, envisioning and the power of God’s grace, is certainly not Good News, and most definately needs to be avoided.

It is therefore imperative that the emerging church be a real welcoming place, of hope, of envisionment and rest, and not attempt to control people emotionally in any form.  This must be a mission strategy in all that we do, if we are really to engage with contemporary culture, where, whether we like it or not, some of the church has retreated into fundamentalist and fanaticism, and often appears very angry to ordinary people.  We need to live another way of being church and being a follower of Christ, who are not obsessed with who is in and who is out, and about human sexuality….