My 2nd good faith experience last week was watching a DVD from the creator of the Nooma DVDs Rob Bell. It was called The Gods aren’t angry. It’s 90 minute sermon/monologue about humanity discovering that they instinctively live their lives in tune with the rhythm of nature, the sun, the moon, the seasons, and they soon deify these outside influences. When these influences don’t deliver their promises, the rain doesn’t come, the hoped for pregancy doesn’t arrive, then humanity looks for a way of appeasing their particular God. This often ends up by offering a sacrifice to get your God to do the things that you want him or her to do. This practice has led to some of the world’s worst atrocities.
Rob Bell then talks through the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, in which the meaning of Yahweh saying to Abraham, stop, do not sacrifice your son, has profound implications for those of us who profess to have faith. It means that this God doesn;t operate in the same way as the Gods we’ve created. Bell goes on to talk about the sacrifice Jesus made for us, and teh eway that reshapes our faith and reframes our lives.
Then it typically Bell fashion he relates that to how we should live out our faith with honesty, passion and committment.
I’ll be honest , I watched this on a train home from London, and cried. It took me back to the first time in made a Christian step of faith.
I made me realise why I do what I do…thank you God
When I moved to Cumbria nearly 7 years, I sort of knew that finding a church that I could find a home in would be challenging…and boy was I right! I spent a few years between 2 charismatic churches, that I thought were shallow and middle class social clubs , OK, the problem is more likely to be me and my attitude rather than these churches. So by a completely unplanned route I found myself at Carlisle Cathedral, which gives me the sanctuary that I’m looking for.
Also with my job with this lot, I get involved with all expressions of church, the weird, the wonderful and the wacky! This can make me pretty cynical about modern church life, but 2 experiences last week really renewed my faith in today’s church.
Firstly I went to a preview to the latest DVD release from Hillsong London called Hail to the King. Now it’s really easy to get very cynical about folk like this, they are very slick, spend lots of dosh on expensive marketing, and their teaching is often challenged by the traditional church. I sat through the preview and was impressed by the production quality and the music, and had a good evening. They gave us a goodie bag with some of the church literature in it which I read on the tube and in my hotel that night. What really amazed me are the values these guys have, the work they are doing, and their heart for the poor.
They connect with thousands of people each Sunday, have established hubs around London. They articulate clearly that, yes, they spend money on slick advertising, but this is the one way that a highly visual, contemporary society will listen, and seeing the response they get, I’m gonna say….keep it up guys, you are really walking the talk!
They are capital city church, and feel like it, they connect with a vibrant buzzingcentral London!
My second experience I’ll leave for my next post.
I seem to be posting annually! Not good for a blog, so one of my committments whilst on holiday it to really engage with blogging. I started journalling this summer, which is a truly releasing experience, however most of what I wrote is very personal, and isn’t the sort of material that should or will ever be posted online. So I’m going to concentrate on faith, culture, retail and dip into my hobbies of bass playing, books, medieval history, coffee and cathedrals as I choose.
Understanding that writing helps clarify my thinking, this will be good for me.