Tuesday, 23 December 2014

'It's because we don't believe in God'

Below is a blog post from my friend Sam over at Elizaphanian. Whilst he is speaking about the Church of England, I am fully convinced that what he is saying applies more generally to the Christian church in the West. This is the time of year when we see the church engaged in a whole variety of evangelistic endeavours and, I think, highlights the malaise and predicament Sam is blogging about.

He has kindly let me repost it on my blog in full. God check his blog out for yourselves.

'I am more and more persuaded that the problems that we face in the Church of England stem from a collapse of faith. We no longer believe in God, we no longer know what we do believe in, and so we chase desperately after idols, hoping that one or other of them can fill the gap.

This will never happen. Between the idol and the Living God is an incommensurable distance.

Which idols am I thinking of? Here are some.

The idol of public acceptability, leading the Church to marry the spirit of the age, leading to inevitable widowhood.

The idol of ‘family’ as if the worth of the church can be measured by how far it can compete with Go Bananas.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Love Thy Neighbour

'It is easy to love the idealized figure of a poor, helpless neighbour, the starving African or Indian, for example; in other words, it is easy to love one’s neighbour as long as he stays far enough from us, as long as there is a proper distance separating us. The problem arises at the moment when he comes too near us, when we start to feel his suffocating proximity – at this moment when the neighbour exposes himself to us too much, love can suddenly turn into hatred.' (Enjoy Your Symptom!: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out, Slavoj Žižek, p.8, 2001).

It is preferable for us nowadays to avoid 'the Real', that is, to adopt a sterilised or sentimental version of events in order to anaesthetise us from any given reality. Christmas is a prime example of this phenomenon. Take this recent advert,

Whilst the advert seeks to simply yet profoundly declare what Christmas is really all about, what it actually does is reiterate the nostalgic, sentimental and sterilised desires within us. The couple are typically white, middle class, the baby quiet, clean and happy. The home starts middle class, and ends in a stable scene, that is, a middle class version. Without doubt there would have been 'great joy' at the birth of Christ, but that joy would also have been accompanied with pain, blood, sweat, tears, fear and uncertainty. What the advert does is once again enable us to avoid 'the Real' and embrace nostalgia. This advert, like much within our church services over this Advent period have little to do with the Incarnation. Christmas 'evangelism' and church services feed off nostalgia and sentimentality, a sentimentality that pulls us away from the God who became flesh in the stench, shit and sin.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Why Black Friday Is Good For The Soul

In Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight we are confronted with the madness of the Joker. He is a character that deeply unsettles us because of his truthfulness. Take the following clip,

"I'm a man of my word."

The power of the scene is that we know the Joker is telling the truth. The Dark Knight is a film filled with lies where everyone except the Joker hides behind lies. The Joker is like a falling into an icy lake, shocking us into reality, recognising that things are bad, that we may not get out of this situation alive. Because the Joker tells us the truth he highlights our need for transformation, the stripping away of masks.

'This is how crazy Batman has made Gotham.'

A moment of madness exposes the reality.