Friday, 18 December 2009

Decade Horribilis?

An insightful commentary on Britain over the last decade from Mark Greene, Executive Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. His version of the beatitudes is particularly incisive.

Decade Horribilis

In December 1999, Britons voted John Lennon's 'Imagine' as the song of the millennium ? reflecting, perhaps, our tentative hope that the 21st century might herald a better world. It hasn't. A decade ago most of us hadn't heard of Al-Qaeda and had never lived through a financial meltdown that threatened the economy of the world. We now have. And the conditions and ideologies that led to them have certainly not been addressed.

Here in Britain, we now have the unhappiest children in the G20 (UNICEF) and the most miserable adults in Europe (WHO). And only 6.3% of us go to church monthly. I do not despair for the church - Jesus will build his church - I ache for our nation.

In Romans 1 Paul posits that the further a culture moves away from the truth about God the more decadent it becomes. In today's Britain:
  • Blessed are the brazen for they will be applauded.
  • Blessed are the beautiful of body for they will be adored.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for fame for theirs is the kingdom of Cowell.
  • Blessed are the selfish and the individualists for their ends will justify their means. Blessed are those who don't strictly believe in anything for they can dance to any tune.
  • Blessed are the drug-dealers, dream-weavers, make-over mavens and jingle-writers who help us forget our fractured hearts and our clipped wings and the echoing chasms of our souls. 
In such a culture, we have no reason to be ashamed of the gospel. In a culture of salvation by works, the good news is that God loves you - whatever. In a culture where everyone is thirsting for transformation, the good news is that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation - reborn once and for all - with the minute-by-minute provision of the Holy Spirit to help live his deeper life minute by minute.

So then we - prayerfully, humbly, determinedly, lovingly - can do no better than seek our Master's voice for how we are to live and share this life day by day, place by place with those we have been called to serve.

After all, on the threshold of a new decade, has anyone really got a better offer than Jesus' invitation: 'Come to me all ye...'?

Mark Greene

The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity
St Peter's, Vere St, London, W1G 0DQ (t) 020 7399 9555

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