I’m tired. Not of life, I quite like life at the moment, it’s spring, the daffodils are looking lovely and I’m enjoying pottering along. I’m tired of somethings though. I’m tired of English Christians grabbing anything they can get from American Christians. I’m tired of courses that are written in the same language but to a completely different cultural background, I’m tired of stereotypes for men and women that are completely unrelated to how me and my friends live, I’m tired of Christian turf wars over there becoming our turf wars here and I’m tired of people not paying attention to what we need to think about in English Christianity.
I want a cultural voice that speaks to where I live, to the struggles of being a Christian in a deeply secular society, I want other voices to help me think about living credibly as a Christian in a city that laughs at me for believing in something so fundamentally offensive to everything it values. I want someone to help me think about living out faith and belief in God here in England in 2011. I know that we think we have the same culture as America, we speak a similar language, we watch the same films, we have similar celebrities but that doesn’t mean we are the same culturally. I want someone to notice the differences, to enjoy the differences and to know that lazily transporting a course or two from America to England doesn’t work, to know that what the big names are fighting about this time in America might not be the things we need to care about over here today.
Who are these voices? Who will help me figure out how I can relate to God in Brighton today? Who will stop looking to the Americans for all the lead and speak out here and now about the state of Christianity in England today? Who will look and see and speak truth into our country? Internet Monk does the job brilliantly of thinking about different strands of evangelicalism over in the States but I’m not sure much of it is culturally transferable. The US definitions of words and tribal lines are very different to ours. Eugene Peterson speaks powerfully to the mega church, market driven, pastors being more than CEOs North American church scene but who speaks to our scene? Who is seeing our cultural weaknesses and challenging the way we are church in this country?
Where is our prophetic voice calling us back to the ways of Jesus in the UK? Or are we just soaking up what we can get from America without questioning and are we heading for the same mistakes? I’m all for listening to how others do things but are we really listening to voices across the world? Are we learning from the persecuted church? Are we seeking to learn from the developing world as well as those nations we consider more advanced?
I am part of a small church, I love my family, I love that we think about some of these questions together, I love that we love our city but I’d love to know where we can draw more inspiration from, where we can join with others in similar situations and where we can think and be moved together to walk as Jesus did in our specific cultural context. Any ideas?