Archive for Culture

life in the hoods | nakedpastor

Posted in From others... with tags , , on August 3, 2011 by johnfom

Fine observation, this. I can see myself chewing over it for a few days, if not weeks. I’m particularly interested in what answers come for his final question :


We live in a world of hoods: Childhood. Parenthood. Motherhood. Fatherhood. Brotherhood. Sisterhood. Neighborhood. Manhood. Womanhood. Falsehood. Priesthood. Sainthood. Statehood. Nationhood. Unlikelihood. Victimhood.

It is important to know that…

most people live, mostly unquestioning, within some of these hoods;

these hoods mean different things at different times in different places to different people;

these hoods all possess unspoken assumptions we call common sense;

those who challenge these unspoken assumptions are considered crazy or dangerous.

 What happens if you or someone else challenges the common sense of these hoods?

via life in the hoods | nakedpastor.



A wise man once said….

Posted in Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on August 28, 2009 by johnfom

These are the two quotes I’m using for my email autosignature at the moment.  I chose these to remind me of some competing thoughts I need to keep at the back of my mind while I try to find answers to the questions I posed in the last post here.

A lot of people never use thier initiative because nobody told them to. – Banksy

I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid. –  G. K. Chesterton

New church?

Posted in Rants with tags , , on August 15, 2009 by johnfom

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about church and how the present young generation, and the next generation, are going to express their faith. I have a feeling that the big questions in theology are going to be in the area of ecclesiology.

More recently my haphazard mental wanderings have started going focussing on two partially related points of interest: Urban ecclesiolocy, and Churchless ecclesiology.

The following is a boring rambling of thought that might give you an idea of where I’m at with this…

***Warning! Ramble alert!!!!

In the first thread of thought, urban, I’m trying to imagine what a church born exclusively out of the city would look like. So far there isn’t, to my knowledge, a church which is completely originally ‘city’. The cultures in new cities are usually adaptations of village cultures, small pockets within the larger geographic area of the city. In the old cities I’ve looked at there seems to be an underlying ‘feel’ of the village worldview, but that seems to be breaking down as new(ish) technology impacts the culture.

Geographical boundaries are heading towards becoming meaningless, as are some time boundaries. In terms of travel, for example, most of Scotland can be viewed, with public transport and the proliferation of cars, etc., in a similar way today as a trip of 20 miles 100 years ago. That is to say, about a day’s travel away. People come from every corner of the surrounding areas to cities to work and play. While most church systems are built around local churches catering for local people, ‘local’ is becoming meaningless.

Distance becomes more meaningless when communications technology is factored in. When I was a lad…(Damn! I’ve become one of the four yorkshiremen. The apocalypse is surely nigh.) Anyway, when I was a lad, we used to have to wait for a parent was ready to ferry us around if we wanted to play with our friends. I’ve heard stories, and seen it myself, of how kids are using IM technology and Massively Multiplayer Online Games to play with their friends when transport (Mum’s taxi) isn’t available. Not as a replacement for, but in addition to, regular face to face playground interaction.

So, what would a church, built from the ground up in a culture where geography is largely meaningless, with few or no ties to historic forms, look like? What would the church of a ‘net-native’ look like? What current church forms would need to be kept/imitated to allow a person in relationship with God to recognise this new kind of church as a part of the body of Christ?

***Warning! Rant alert!!!!

This then leads into the other area of thought I’ve been following: Churchless church.

One statistic I’ve seen suggests that the net loss in church attendance in the US is 57000 per year. The article I read that in points out that the US troops lost in the whole Vietnam was was 58000. The situation in Europe is more dire from some accounts I’ve read. Its a largely meaningless comparison but brings a bit of perspective I suppose. More telling for me is the criteria for church attendance used for that statistic. To qualify as a church attendee you only had to turn up at a church once every year. If that’s church attendance, then I should really start claiming for frequent flyer status as I fly about once a year and I watch planes go over head almost every day.

The thing is that many of those leaving the church aren’t leaving faith, just the church. Personally I’ve heard lots of reasons to leave churches but the top of my anecdotal experience are a) churches have no connection to the rest of peoples lives b) some churches have been abusive in their wielding of power, c) many churches have become separated institutions where the people are reduced to being merely life support for that institution, and my personal experience of d) it’s easier to conduct ministry outside the church than inside the church.

Now, a man I consider to be wise (Les Ball) pointed out that any ‘movement’, if it is to survive beyond those who set it up, needs to have structure. I agree. If something is merely held together on the personality of an individual it will die once that individual does. The more I read about the churchless church the more I agree with the ideals of the rapidly growing movement. I also recognise that there are many christians out there in the world craving unrestricted, intelligent gatherings with other christians which don’t include those harmful elements of most institutional churches.

So I’ve been wondering, is there a way to set up a heirachicless, un-institutional ‘church’ which is flexible enough to change with culture and doesn’t encroach on the freedoms of it’s members?

I have some ideas involving ‘cyberspace internet tech in conjunction with real life ‘meatspace’ expressions, but I’d be interested in what you think.  What ideas you might have and also what misgivings.

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