Like so much of Rob Bell’s work, What We Talk About When We Talk About God is really a sort of sermon: accessible, full of anecdotes, and with a clear persuasive thrust. The content, too, is what we might have expected. When We Talk About God shows Bell drawing on his whole back catalogue of tours, films, and books, now synthesising it more explicitly for a post-Christian audience. Bell has spent most of his career dismantling dualism and ‘escapology’ in Christian circles, and he now goes to work on its equivalent in wider Western culture. Read more
Posts tagged ‘Church’
The contention of the ‘Why men hate going to church’ movement is that church has become feminised. From David Murrow’s website:
With the dawning of the industrial revolution, large numbers of men sought work in mines, mills and factories, far from home and familiar parish. Women stayed behind, and began remaking the church in their image. The Victorian era saw the rise of church nurseries, Sunday schools, lay choirs, quilting circles, ladies’ teas, soup kitchens, girls’ societies, potluck dinners, etc.
Modern day church activities are ‘an emotional hothouse’ and focus on being ‘verbal, studious or sensitive’, none of which are ‘natural for men‘. You’d hardly call this science – even social science is a stretch – but much of it seems to resonate with men and so Murrow gives some suggestions for manly church. Laying on hands during prayer is a no-go: men need their space. And you need songs which are about ‘doing’ rather than about intimacy.
Here’s the thing though: neither physical contact nor intimacy are ‘feminine’ in all cultures. For example, Tanzanian men LOVE physical contact, including with other men. (Actually, so did western men not too long ago!) Also, they spontaneously sing, including love songs to Jesus, not just in church but even walking along the street!
Are Tanzanian men just less riddled with testosterone? Or are these propositions about men in church more cultural than innate? Read more
As I blogged here, there’s a range of church experiences in Tanzania. One exercise we did in our intercultural training was to observe without moving to evaluation or explanation. It’s a practice I’ve continued. Here’s some of what I’ve noticed about our church. Read more
Tamie and I work with CMS Australia, a network of people who care about crossing cultures with the message of Jesus. Worldwide, CMS is one of the oldest world mission groups — for other groups in the CMS family, check out NZCMS, CMS Ireland, CMS UK and Crosslinks.
CMS Australia recently launched a new vision for the coming years. Below are some of the highlights for me. I’m particularly excited by the ways in which the vision helps us to use more missiologically astute language.
What stands out to you? Let us know in the comments below. Read more
A friend of mine whom I deeply respect told me a few weeks ago that he thinks I speak of the church with contempt. He said he finds it oppressive and ungracious. How wonderful to have friends who can lovingly rebuke me!
But it’s got me thinking about my attitude to the church. We’ve had discussions on here before about the failure of the church. I’ve said that my experiences of ‘the church’ (and several churches) are pretty negative on both structural and interpersonal levels: abuse, hurt, heresy, poor management, slander, etc. Some days I’m amazed I want to be a Christian, let alone in ministry! (But then there’s a reason we don’t want to be church planters / pastors.) Read more