Skip to main content

Time to Talk of God

Do we spend too much time analysing the mission of the Church and trying to work out how to do it better? Perhaps that's inevitable in a culture where organised religion – and especially organised Christianity – is in decline. Most of us have seen mission initiatives come and go, often without any sustained impact. We are bound to start asking ourselves, 'Where are we going wrong and how can we do it right?'
The Methodist Conference report, 'Time to Talk of God' spends a whole chapter looking at how we can get back into conversation with the dominant culture of our time. It concludes that Christians need to be talking to their neighbours and colleagues about the things which really matter to them.
What then are these pressing issues that we should be prepared to talk about? They are things like: how to help people feel they belong to something or someone in an increasingly fragmented society; work / life balance; spirituality as opposed to religion; the difference between right and wrong in an age of uncertainty. All of these issues – and many more – can give us a way into conversation with people about the things of God.
So is this where we have been going wrong? Can the Church's persistent decline in the West be blamed squarely on our failure to talk to people outside the Church about the right issues, the issues that really interest them? The writers would say that, up to a point, the answer is 'Yes!' Often, Christians talk only to one another, and only about things which don't seem to matter to anyone else.
But, in fairness, the report isn't all about analysis. Like the parables in this week's lectionary[1], it also leaves room for the Spirit. Our task is to get into meaningful conversation, to go deep and get real, to make ourselves vulnerable by sharing what we honestly think and feel about some of the big issues facing us and our world. We are like the sower who goes out to sow the seed not knowing how – or even whether – it will germinate and grow, but ready to nurture it if it takes root, and to gather in the harvest.
And who can foretell how big the harvest might be if we really got into conversation with our friends and neighbours about the important things in life, and left trivialities behind? Some tiny seeds, planted in the right soil, can grow as big as a tree.
[1] Mark 4.26—34

Comments

Vickie said…
I think I agree - I see more of God's fruits when I'm talking about things that are close to my heart, and close to the heart of people around me.

I spoke to a 20 year old woman today who'd left the church after her brother died and is now into Buddhism. I didn't say much except that the reason I was a Christian was because it was real and true, and that I'd met Christ personally and could never deny it. Then her flood gates opened... she was very vulnerable.

I pray seeds were planted.
I am sure that, by being honest, you will have allowed some seeds to be planted - but they may take a long time to grow and mature and it may happen in ways we wouldn't expect.

Popular posts from this blog

I don't believe in an interventionist God

Matthew 28.1-10, 1 Corinthians 15.1-11 I like Nick Cave’s song because of its audacious first line: ‘I don’t believe in an interventionist God’. What an unlikely way to begin a love song! He once explained that he wrote the song while sitting at the back of an Anglican church where he had gone with his wife Susie, who presumably does believe in an interventionist God - at least that’s what the song says. Actually Cave has always been very interested in religion. Sometimes he calls himself a Christian, sometimes he doesn’t, depending on how the mood takes him. He once said, ‘I believe in God in spite of religion, not because of it.’ But his lyrics often include religious themes and he has also said that any true love song is a song for God. So maybe it’s no coincidence that he began this song in such an unlikely way, although he says the inspiration came to him during the sermon. The vicar was droning on about something when the first line of the song just popped into his head. I suspect …

True Love

Mark 12:28-34 In 1981 Prince Charles was put on the spot during a television interview with Lady Diana Spencer, his new fiancee. The interviewer asked them if they were in love. Lady Diana’s instant response was , ‘Of course!,’ but Prince Charles replied, ‘Whatever “in love” means.’ Now in case you think Prince Charles is just a bit of a cold fish, on National Poetry Day 2015 he read a poem on Radio 4, ‘My love is like a red, red rose’ by Robbie Burns. I thought, ‘This is going to be a bit wooden,’ but I was wrong. He read the poem so movingly that Clarence House has made it available on YouTube and Twitter. Listening to him it was impossible to escape the conclusion that he now knows what being “in love” means. O my Love is like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June: O my Love is like the melody, That's sweetly played in tune. As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in love am I; And I will love thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry. But what does being “in …

Why are good people tempted to do wrong?

Deuteronomy 30.15-20, Psalm 119.1-8, 1 Corinthians 3.1-4, Matthew 5.21-37 Why are good people tempted to do wrong? Sometimes we just fall from the straight and narrow and do mean, selfish or spiteful things. But sometimes we convince ourselves that we’re still good people even though we’re doing something wrong. We tell ourselves that there are some people whose motives are totally wicked or self-regarding: criminals, liars, cheats, two-timers, fraudsters, and so on, but we are not that kind of person. We’re basically good people who just indulge in an occasional misdemeanour. So, for example, there’s Noble Cause Corruption, a phrase first coined apparently in 1992 to explain why police officers, judges, politicians, managers, teachers, social workers and so on sometimes get sucked into justifying actions which are really totally wrong, but on the grounds that they are doing them for a very good reason. A famous instance of noble cause corruption is the statement, by the late Lord Denni…