Thursday, 8 April 2010
Jesus in Disneyland
I remember some while ago reading a book called 'Jesus in Disneyland' by David Lyon. It began with the authors experience of attending a Spring Harvest type event and commenting on the fact that there seemed to be a culture of media, consumerism and celebrity surrounding all that went on. David Lyon, from a sociological perspective was commenting on how we as Christ Followers are seeking to live out and communicate the Gospel within a Post Christian consumer oriented and 'theme park' culture. His final chapter on how we seek to be authentic to Jesus in doing this, is probably where he struggles most - which in itself says a lot - aren't we all!
So the big question is how do we do the Jesus thing now? (Answers on a post card..)
Sheryl and I have been helping to 'person' the Spring Harvest French site stand at Minehead. It has been great fun being in 'Disneyland' - and yes Jesus was there!
I realised that we were among a number of stands, some of which were seeking to encourage people to go to such places as Haiti, Kenya or China to make a difference. Our task was to encourage people to consider spending money on a holiday in France. Slight touch of the 'guilties' but then for many of us times of relationship, family, recreation, inspiration, fun and sheer 'slobbing out' (in the Lord of course) keep us on track and in 'the Way'. (Guilties now subdued)
Opposite our stand was a Christian music display. One afternoon a long queue formed of children and parents to have their CD purchases signed by three young women who together form a Christian equivalent of what looked like the Spice girls. Immaculately dressed and made up, they greeted and smiled at their adoring audience. I was left reflecting - what is this all about? Is this about providing 'Christian' role models, is it possible exploitation (albeit by Christians) or honestly seeking to make the Gospel relevant to young people in their cultures.... please let me have your thoughts. One rumour that came to us was that the group had just split up - (that explains the absence of the fourth woman seen on the CD cover) - obvioulsy more Christian than we thought!
Pete Greig - left us with a 7 point list which for him are the marks of being more human, in Christ, 'in the neighbourhood'.
I reflected afterwards that the Word became a human being not a Christian! (Discuss)
Friendship (Jesus liked being with people, parties, listening etc)
Humility. (Jesus saw the extraordianry in the ordinary 'out there'. 'If only I had time....')
Pace (Sabbathing in a cash rich but time poor society)
Place (Jesus OF Nazareth)
Skill (The value of work - 7 day faith)
Learning (Jesus only answered 3 of the 183 questions put to him)
Fun (Pain is inevitable - joy has to be worked at - so let's make it a discipline or does that spoil it already?)
Some may say yes but how: Pray (get God's eyes), People (see what God sees), Places (see where God is). My summary but would encourage you to get the CDs to get the full, more eloquent and coherent picture.
'Jesus did not come to make us Christian; Jesus came to make us fully human'. (Hans Rookmaaker).
Having said all that please, (if you can fit us in), say one for us as we continue to seek God's way forward.