John Walker's Electronic House

Tag: Christianity

Rob Bell: Universalist, Or Man Who Thinks About Things?

by on Feb.27, 2011, under The Rest

Goodness me, I get back from a peculiar day of splendid time with friends, and the miserable destruction of my car, to find that the internet (well, Twitter) is alight with anger and confusion about Rob Bell. Because he said… well, nothing whatsoever.

Rob Bell is the leader of Mars Hill church in Grand Rapids, Michigan – an enormous church that is often described as being part of the “emerging church” movement, although never uses that description of itself. He has become an enormously popular figure in the modern church, recognised both for his fervent evangelical approach to the Bible combined with a consciousness of the real world and living in reality. His book Velvet Elvis was a phenomenon amongst Christians, breathing exciting ideas and stirring up entertaining controversy. Despite its awful name, it’s a superb book. His NOOMA video series made his name even more widely known. A strangely modest man, he has yet to visibly demonstrate any of the diva attitudes of so-called Christian celebrities, and he has this odd tendency not to to demand everybody’s money for a yacht-based ministry. Seeing him speak last year on his Drop Likes Stars tour, it was odd that it took place in a medium-sized church building, rather than a large theatre or perhaps even arena. Afterward he sat at a small table, saying hello to those who wanted to chat, like a stand-up comic at the end of a gig.

And with all this popularity came the obvious backlashes. Any of his ideas that are either complex, confusing, or perhaps just simply wrong, are hailed as the proof that he’s a false prophet, the devil in disguise. He upsets two sides of the church: the traditionalists who worship their religion rather than their God, and the megachurch-leading televangelists, who fear his popularity combined with his lack of money-grabbing. People are hunting for reasons to shoot him down, to deflate his rise.

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Back To Church Sunday?

by on Aug.04, 2010, under The Rest

Sore back? Flaky skin? Difficulty sleeping at night? Why not try church?!

For a few years now there’s been a project called Back To Church Sunday. It’s the peculiar name for a day that encourages people to attend church on that one occasion (that isn’t Christmas or Easter), with the assumption implicit in the title that they simply must have been before. (Apparently, when it began, it was intended to encourage those who have left to return, but now its remit has expanded. Unfortunately its name has not.) Presumably the intention is if you can encourage people to come along just this once they’ll realise what they’re missing out on, and choose to stick around.

However, the somewhat awkwardly arrogant name is not the real issue about the campaign. That real issue would be that almost nowhere on their website or promotional materials do they make any mention of God or Jesus, or anything that Christianity is about. Instead they’re trying to sell you your local church as a quality spa day for you and your best friends.

The clearest example of this is their radio advert, which I’ve streamed below. Just hit the play button.


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The BNP And The Traditional Christian

by on Apr.05, 2010, under The Rest

This weekend, over Easter, leader of the BNP Nick Griffin put out a statement explaining that the BNP is the only party fighting for traditional Christian values. It is part of the BNP’s attempt to redraw its battle lines, recognising that the exposed hatred of other races is not winning them votes, but instead tapping into the increasing fear that our country (whatever that phrase may mean) is being changed, subverted, made not what it once was. And it seems that part of this is to reclaim Britain for the “traditional” Christian. This needs to be unpacked.

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