Three (unrelated) links of interest to me, from the past few days:
1 : Vote for Policies
Is a site where, as we approach a General Election in the UK, you can compare and ‘vote for’ the manifesto promises of six political parties, relating to (your choice of a minimum of four, a maximum of nine) issues.
So far, over 9,500 people have voted. Currently, the Green Party not only has the biggest overall vote, it has the biggest share of the vote (by varying amounts) in all nine policy areas.
This is interesting to me, in what we like to think of as a democracy. In reality, we don’t vote for the party whose policies the population most support, but for the parties with the greatest media presence. In fact, TV, radio and the printed press as forms all shape us to make emotional responses to personalities, and work against us considering policy. The very nature of television as a media form undermines even content which purports to provide ‘in-depth analysis,’ such as Newsnight.
2 : Barna Group Poll on ‘How Different Generations View and Engage with Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity’
The most interesting thing here, in my opinion, is the very high percentage of respondents, of all generations, who view the Holy Spirit as a symbol of the power of God, not a Person of the Trinity. This suggests that how we have ‘done’ church, for some time, has in practice reflected a binarian view of God (Father and Son; as opposed to Trinitarian – Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
The absence of the Holy Spirit as a Person has serious implications for orthodoxy (right belief) and orthopraxy (right action). We need to address this in our discipleship. Missional communities need to introduce people to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It seems to me that the distancing of charismatic evangelicals from liturgy, including the Creeds of the Church, in order to ‘be more relevant’ to people is part of the problem here; and that a rediscovery of these witnesses has a key place in addressing the situation we find ourselves in...
3 : Mike Breen blog
My friend, and Senior Guardian of The Order of Mission, has recently started a blog. The content is really useful stuff - practical wisdom, grounded application of Lifeshapes to all kinds of situations we face in our communities, such as raising kids, singles in the church, inter-generational relationships...
But the thing that I am most excited about is not the content, but that the content (whatever the topic) is carried in a dialogue, a conversation between Mike and a church pastor identified as Aidan. It is like coaching, that we get to listen in on. Which reminds me of the sermon on the mount.
I keep an eye on quite a few blogs with good content, but this is the only one I've come across that is a conversation. And that is incredibly significant, for the way in which we are called to disciple people. I was reflecting just the other day that Lifeshapes is a language that, once learnt, allows us to have all kinds of conversations on any topic that matters to us, as opposed to programs that give people the answers to the questions no-one is asking.
If you check it out, I'd encourage you not only to engage with Mike's reflections on things, but also on relationship, on conversation, on discipleship itself.