July Letter from Mat

‘Everyone’s a Pagan now’ read the headline in the Guardian’s G2 on Monday 22nd June. According to the article there are a quarter of a million registered pagans in the UK now. That’s more than the Buddhist’s and nearly as many as the number of Jews. There are also thought to be many more ‘un-registered’ pagans. Surprising? Not really when you consider what you need to believe to be a Pagan. According to the Pagan Federation all you need to believe is that each one of us has the right to follow our own path (as long as it harms no one else); that the higher power (or powers) exists; and that nature is to be venerated. I know many people who would say ‘yes’ to those.

For me this article brings home the individualistic climate that we live in. This climate also reflects the context in which the early church thrived, which is encouraging. The story of Paul in the Areopagus in Acts 17Open Link in New Window springs to mind as well as the background to many of the letters to the churches.

As we think about communicating the good news that the Creator of the natural world is the One who, because of His great love for us, seeks relationship with us through the death and resurrection of Christ, we need to engage with the culture and understand the depth of individualism in ourselves and others. What response do we have to the Pagan belief system; both thought out and lived out?

On the recently completed Christianity from Scratch course the questions being asked weren’t questions of intellectual truth they were questions like; what is my purpose; why am I here; how can I live a better life? The search for meaning in the midst of individualism and consumerism were at the core. And these questions were inspired by the way of living witnessed to by other Christians. There is something different about those of us who live for God, who share in community, who know who we worship. So let’s live it as individuals and as the community of the church.

The wonderful events that we run like the Party in the Garden, Saturday Morning Playtime, Playgroup and our social events as well as the generosity of our community shown through Kingsdown Homegrown all speak of the giving generous love of God which is counter cultural. Let’s pray that God uses these and each of us in our own walks of life to speak the truth of the good news heralded and bought through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mat

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