Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What will they make of us?

Pete Ward wrote, in Growing Up Evangelical (SPCK 1996) that you could tell the issues that preoccupied Christians in any particular decade by the titles of the songs they penned. He charted the evangelical ten year obsessions, I recall, with conquering evil (1970s), claiming the ground (1980s) and telling God how we felt (1990s). It was fascinating stuff and I commend the book.

Interesting conversations today with two or three people led me to ponder what people of the future will make of the church in the early part of this millennium based on the titles chosen for populist Christian books. My thesis was that titles swayed between the words driven and grace - a balance which has been a struggle for many people since the days of the New Testament. John Ortberg's The Me I Want To Be ( I recently finished it) typifed the problem with his sub-title Becoming God's Best Version of You. I fear that God's best version of me isn't the me I want to be. I quite like the lazy, good-for-nothing waster I want to be. It's the me I ought or need to be who is a challenge.

Another insight, provided by one of my colleagues, was the predominance of the word me we will find in contemporary writing. What will they make of our ego-ecenticity? We spoke of cross-carrying but wanted everyone to understand how fully and utterly surrendered we were with some amazing purity of motive. What happened to us.

How do you like your grace? Amazingly, I don't take mine purpose driven.

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