Monday, November 29, 2004

in the marketplace of ideas...

b.n.d. nov 04
On Saturday I took part in a demo for 'Buy Nothing Day' (see previous post). Just handing out literature about ethical consumerism/fair trade, giving out free cups of tea etc.
I did it for two reasons : i'm looking for contexts where i can build relationships with people outside of church; and i believe in this issue...i happen to think that people of Christian faith have something important to say about these things. I think the first factor without the second factor lacks integrity i.e. i'm only here to try to convert you. So it's important that I can put my hand on my heart and say that this stuff really matters to me.
We've been talking in hOME about how we do mission and one of the phrases that's been used is 'mission in community around activity' i.e. we build relationships with each other and with people outside of church around doing something together. This, I think, is quite similar to some stuff that Pete Ward talked about in Liquid Church, and also the notion of communitas put forward by Hirsch and Frost (may their names live forever!). (communitas being about uniting around a common quest a la 'the fellowship of the ring' sort of thing). So we look for contexts in our locality where we can, with integrity, engage in relationship-building around a common activity like sport, or community action groups (like culture-jammers/buy nothing day etc.)
What was quite funny/intriguing was the amount of groups who were all hitting the streets to promote their 'thing'. So we had church carol singing groups, the Jesus Army, some sort of Parade, Christian Aid etc. I did have a moment of schizophrenia when the Jesus Army band stopped right next to us and decided that would make a good place to sing their songs about the 'blood of the lamb' etc. I was asked by one person whether i was part of the Jesus group and I (quite thankfully) said 'no' and sent them off to a man in a brightly coloured denim jacket and fluroscent cross. I'm just not at all convinced by this idea that singing songs on the street achieves anything at all - judging by the reactions of some of the people walking past the Jesus Army it just got their backs up.

No comments: