Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Understanding the world we live in...

Do you ever have trouble discerning what exactly makes some of your friends so apathetic about life? Do you ever wonder how they can think that there's no need for them to take the claims of Jesus seriously?  Without knowing it, we are saturated in a culture that has been well and truly affected by 'postmodernism': the call to reject truth claims, external authority and meaning, and to start living how we want.

There are some really useful resources out there to help us think through the persuasive and deceptive call of postmodernism.  If you're at art school at the moment, you are no doubt saturated with postmodern attitudes without even realising it.  Let's not be blinded by the lies it throws at us: why not spend some time delving into it from a Christian perspective to help you stand firm at college this week.

Mark Meynell is a minister at All Soul's, London.  He loves Christ.  He loves culture.  Listen to these three really useful talks for an overview into postmodernism and a fauré into our current culture's mindset.

Even better than the real thing  - a day seminar seeking to understand Postmodernism and how it affects Christians (recorded 2006)

Marcus Honeysett used to be UCCF's London team leader.  He's had much insight into the student world and has written a very helpful book: Meltdown: Making sense of a culture in Crisis.  Marcus goes through the various academic theories that have underpinned postmodernism, and how they have been translated into wider society.  Each chapter takes a theory at a time (sometimes it's quite heavy going, but worth reading if you really want to grapple with the issue).  He then gives really helpful case studies at the end of each section, challenging us to think through the implications of believing, or not believing the postmodernist claims.  A brilliant book to read in a group and discuss together.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

It all starts with the mind...

When Jesus is asked what the most important commandment is in Mark's gospel, here is how he responds in Chapter 12:
'The most important one', answered Jesus, 'is this: "Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Jesus has taken the most famous commandment in the book of Deuteronomy (chapter 6) but he's actually added something: Love the Lord with all your mind.

To love God with all our minds is to be 
engaged with what He thinks about the world.   
grappling with what He thinks about art.  
taking seriously His views on how we live life at art college 
and standing up as someone who follows their convictions.   

Being a Christian means integrating your faith with every part of life.  Everything we do, say, think and act upon stems from our minds.  Having the right thinking will impact every part of your life.  

In Romans chapter 12 Paul follows up on the importance of our minds with the following:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
These are deeply challenging words aren't they? In view of God's mercy, in view of the glorious gospel, the extravagant love that has been showered on us through Christ,  we are called 'not to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.'

What's the pattern of the world of art college? What do you notice about the way people live, and think about the world?  The only way that you will live, and want to live, any differently is by renewing your mind and bathing in the sunshine of the gospel.  

As we spend time with the Lord, as we dwell on the riches of the gospel and his many mercies to us each and every day, we will be loving the Lord with our minds.  It's not a pie in the sky kind of faith we have.  It's a deeply intentional desire to be renewing our minds with truth, with love, with Christ.
And the overflow of loving the Lord with our minds will be a deep desire to integrate every part of our lives with our faith - to be loving him in the way that we make art work, to be seeking to honour him in the way that we don't gossip in the studio, and to be sharing the hope that we have with others as we engage in conversation.

So as you go into college today, be a thinking Christian.