Friday, December 15, 2006

Why is Christmas so busy...?

Christmas is coming and the work is piling up. It doesn't seem to matter how carefully I plan my Christmas preparations, I always seem to run out of time.

This year I want to explore what Christmas says to and about families. What's the significance of the fact that God entrusted his Son to human parents - a teenage(?) mum and a carpenter dad - and what does that tell us about God's commitment to families in today's world?

There's been a lot of talk about families recently - notably the huge Ian Duncan-Smith report that's just come out defending the traditional conservative view that marriage is the best basis for family life and that government should invest in marriage - through tax incentives - and bolster families through various forms of help.

It's always wonderful to see the conversion of politicians late in the day - and usually long after they have any chance of actually doing anything through holding public office (enter Al Gore as the primary witness here)!

I'm not sure IDS has all the answers but 300,000 words worth of analysis and policy ideas ought to be taken very seriously. Clearly something is wrong with the way families are nurtured and supported in Britain today.

I think Christmas is an opportunity to ask what God thinks about families and what resources he makes available for them.

I am also reworking Why Bother with Church for Authentic Media with a view to it being republished next March in time for Spring Harvest. As I've worked my way through the chapters, I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's stood the test of time - many of its arguments still seem fresh and the issues it addresses are still all too pertinent.

If I was starting the book from scratch, I wouldn't write it the way it's written, but I think one more reprint is worthwhile. I'm pondering turning my reflections on Philippians and McWorld into a book at some stage. I've tested the thinking out over the past three years at various church conferences and might well preach on it at home late next year.

Still loving the new Iona album, The Circling Hour and Beirut's Gulag Orkestar - an album of rare beauty and creativity.

1 comment:

Stuart Blythe said...

Hi Simon

Glad that 'Why Bother with Church' is going to get a further outing.

Re families. this is such a tricky area. Not least with respect to the issue - biblical (in its variety) and cultural (in its variety) of what constitutes a 'family'. It is also very unclear as to how one talks about supporting 'families' without alienating those who for a variety of reasons are not in one.

Is a 'family' a thing of a particular shape and form (e.g. mum, dad, kids)- or is it a pattern of behaviour - a set of practices - that result in something that can be called 'family'? What do you think? Is it a 'genetic' bond (blood is thicker than water) a particular sexual combination (male and female) or essentially a relational unity?

You do not need to answer any of these before Christmas or at all - just my own wondering on your blog.