As if anyone was still uncertain, the last few weeks have highlighted that in much of Western Europe we are living in a state of ‘post-Christendom’. In the UK perhaps this has been best exemplified in the last 48 hours by the media hounding that the new Lib Dem leader, ‘publicly-out’ Christian Tim Farron, has received for his faith. For what it’s worth, Timmy Brister has written a stimulating piece stateside on how the church should approach our new situation: “All cultural assumptions are now gone. Nominalism is dying off, because Christianity now only has value to those who value Christ above all things. Moralism is dying off, because Christians are returning to the message of Christianity (the gospel).”
For a slightly exaggerated-for-comic-effect example of the challenges and opportunities of ministering in this context, particularly as part of the ‘established’ Church, just watch the first episode of Series 2 of People Just Do Nothing. If you haven’t come across it before, PJDN is an Office-style mockumentary following the exploits of west London-based pirate radio station, Kurupt FM. (It’s generally very funny, in a despair/cringe-inducing way, with some great characters. The pilot episode was the most shared iPlayer programme in July 2012, and since then two series have been commissioned.) In this episode, MC Grindah is going to get his ‘daughter’ Angel baptised, or “Christianed” as he calls it. This means a contest to choose the best “Godfather”, as well as dance routines and souvenir t-shirts for the big day.
Check it out for the next thirty days here (FYI, there is a strong language warning).