Snippets from the interweb (10th September 2017)

Urban Idolatry

Dave Williams has a good word for those of us working in deprived areas. ‘In church terms, we risk buying into… idolatry when we look and wait for the outside rescuers to come and save us. When will the big wealthy churches start sending money and people to our urban estates? When will one or more of our national leaders start speaking out more consistently about these issues.’

The knives are out for Labour Leave and Socialist Brexiteers

As one who is often called a Socialist, voted for Brexit, finds one’s political home with Labour, sits comfortably with the Bennites and belongs to the Christian founding tradition of the Labour Party, I felt this one pretty deeply.

The selfishness of the Religious Right in America

On a similar note, this was a really interesting and insightful article. ‘Many people who became personally successful by embracing the prosperity gospel’s message were attracted to a conservative Republican philosophy of self-help that blamed the poor for their poverty and asserted that the wealthy deserve a tax break and should keep their hard-earned money. The Republican Party’s economic philosophy may have been a far cry from the original message of Jesus… but it wasn’t far removed from the prosperity gospel of late 20th-century evangelicalism.’

Religion is on the decline – yet our society is underpinned by faith

An interesting article in the Spectator. ‘While fewer of us call ourselves Christian, we remain a country steeped in Christian values. Moral relativists will argue that they are just human values shared by all societies. Yet that ignores the extraordinary close fit between the parables, the commandments and so much contemporary public debate.’

When kids will not bow to your idols

I can only admit that I was deeply convicted by this one. ‘The most profound parenting quote I’ve ever heard is from Dan Allender: “One of the biggest sources of conflict between you and your kids is when they refuse to bow down to your idols”.’

Being offended is not (necessarily) the issue

Mark Meynell offers insights into the tactic of claiming to be offended. ‘This derives from one of the key insights of postmodern thinkers: namely that the power of the powerful has prevented them from acknowledging, let alone hearing, the voices of the weak. Thus there is a moral imperative to correct this imbalance, often through being sceptical of the viewpoints of the powerful precisely because of their power. This has now become a crude tool for bludgeoning opponents into silence, especially when they advocate something politically incorrect.’

From the archive: On the ‘Stand up and greet time’

‘What is the purpose of the stand up and greet time? If it is to be welcoming – yet makes everyone uncomfortable – then it seems to have failed. If it is to build up believers, one is unclear how a forced handshake and contrived greeting (or, in worse cases, hugs and literal renderings of “holy kiss”) do anything of the sort. It also begs the question, what is the point of being greeted at the door (and, in some cases, over coffee pre-service by several others) if we’re all going to be forced to do it again mid-service?’