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November 06, 2006

Comments

Heather

I think that this statement is spot on, as a Christian who also works in an area of deprivation, I see on a day to day basis that society is scared to take responsibility. It is always someone elses issue. Residents feel disempowered and are lethargic in thinking that they are part of the problem let alone part of the solution. The church has often taken on some of these views. Rather than us being a positive influence on society we have gone with the flow and taken on aspects of the world. We don't need a radical Church, we need people who repent and go back to what God wants us of. Love our neighbour and love God's creation. Society has lost it's way and the Church is often weak in pointing it in the right direction. The answer is for the Church to seek and feel God's heart for society and begin to be brave, swim against the tide.

MalcolmDuncan

Heather
Thanks for the comments. What part of the country are you from and what are the challenges you are facing?

James Hudson

Mr Duncan's comments are very inspiring and I would say perfect given the context of today's society. The integration of the church with society should be at the heart of what in essence the church does. Not saying that it should compromise its beliefs, but by being the salt of the earth, to enrichen and bring flavour to the lives of others that are lost. Whether that person is of faith, or of no faith, Christians must seek to reveal the compassion of Jesus in everything they do.

Heather

Hi I live in South Bristol, it is an classed as an area of multiple deprivation as observed by the government. The challenges faced in this area are common as found in council estates, poverty, poor education, high numbers of single parents, lots of anti social behaviour and such like. The Churches are trying their best but they are suffering from low numbers and elderly congregations. Having been a Christian for 23 years I see that the Church has become more excepting of society changes, things we would have viewed as injustice are now excepted as the norm. Society doesnt see Church as offering any chance of change, just a place for weddings and funerals. It is hard then for Church to break the mould and become the mainstay of an area. Church needs to become radical in its thinking showing people the reality of what Christianity can do for them. I agree that Church should be compassionate, Jesus would have loved all. that's what we need to be doing loving them all into the kingdom. People want to see an answer to their chaotic lives.

MalcolmDuncan

Heather

Thanks for the comment. What do you think is the key to helping churches get out of the building and back into the community? Do you think there are specific mindsets that we need to challenge and how would you do it?

Malcolm

MalcolmDuncan

Hi James

Thanks for the comments. I think the challenge is in helping those of Christian faith to understand that in order to be authentically Christian we must engage unconditionally. There is an inherent contradiction in claiming to be loving, yet making that love conditional or based upon a premise, or even a lie. If we love people, we love them. Full stop, end of argument, no more to be said. What do you think?

MalcolmDuncan

Heather

There is a load of goos stuff going on in Bristol, but it doesn't always filter out unfortunately. Have you heard of a group called BCAN? They are a network of churches in Bristol committed to helping Christians make a real difference. Check them out on the web or give my office an email and they will get some info for you. Where abouts in Bristol are you and what are you doing to make a difference in the community?

Malcoln

Heather

Hi Malcolm, I have heard of BCAN, not sure how much you know of Bristol but there is a real south/north divide and the work that they do is mostly based in the inner city or north of the city. I live in South Bristol, Hartcliffe. I was involved in Love Bristol, that took place in the summer, www.lovebristolfest.org. This did help to bring the north and south together but it takes more than one event to truly break down the barriers. I am one of three leaders of a group called The Lighthouse, a fresh expressions group for residents of Hartcliffe and Withywood. The group has been running just over two years and is open to any resident across the area, at present 20,000 so hope they don't all come. Have been involved in Noise projects and prayer walks I know that people believe in God but don't go to Church. The group meet weekly in a house, is ecumenical and we offer a meal and a chance to look at the relevance of Christianity in everyday life. For the last year we have also held a Church service once a month, we have pulled in some Christians from North Bristol to this as well. http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/section.asp?id=1951. We have had at least 80 people involved in the group, although we don't do 'Christian' things, worship, prayer etc we do allow people to ask any questions and we have now some people who are interested in being baptised. I believe that the Church needs to move out of the building and go where the people are, it is about being where they are. I see that Jesus engaged with people in the reality of every day living and that is what brings about change. As mentioned before I also work as a Community Worker on the estate and this has enabled me to understand what prayer needs there are. I was bought up in a non Church, working class family. God found me in the midst of an addiction and being an unmarried mother and over the last 20 years I have become a 'Church' goer, understanding what services are all about and I love the formality of worship, prayer and teaching. However, I do believe that in 2007 lives are chaotic and this style is not suitable for most people. We need to look again at Jesus and fit in with that not mould it to fit in with what we want.

MalcolmDuncan

Thanks for the information Heather. That all sounds fantastic and I assure you of my own prayers and support for you guys over the next few months in particular. I follow quite a celtic spirituality and have a big bowl of pebbles in a prayer corner. I write the names of people I want to pray for on them and every morning after I;ve done something called Lectio Divina I take three or four pebbles from the bowl and pray for the people named on them throughout the day. I will do that for you guys.

Also if there is anything we can do as Faithworks, or I can do as an individual to support and serve you then do let me know.

Your life sounds pretty full of stuff at the minute and your story sounds fantastic! I'd love to hear it 'in the flesh' one day.

My own experience of church leadership and of helping churches is that most urban centres in teh Uk have the equivalent of a North/South divide. Churches that are comfortable or middle class often forget the struggling or poorer churches and don;t realise the richness of experience and opinion and encounter with God that they miss. At the same time churches that are struggling financially miss out on the joy of being supported by wealthier churches and sometimes even resent them. Both need to move to a more Jesus centred approach and see and welcome the Spirit in one another I think. I also have absolutely no doubt that God has a priority for the poor and that the task of every church is to serve and support the poor, the excluded and the marginalised.

I'm talking about that a little bit on a UCB Radio prgramme tonight from 8pm - 10pm if you are interested - probably got far nore important things to do!

Also I love the fresh expression sense of what you are doing and am encouraged to hear about the approacvh to discipleship, mentoring, listening, mutual learning and journeying etc. I think that is much more authentically connected to New Testament spirituality anyway!

Let's leep in touch on this. By the way, have you read Greg Boyd's book, The Myth of a Christian Nation or Tim Chester's book, Good News to the Poor? What do you think of them?

I'm working on another book at the minute called KINGDOM COME, which needs to be finished by the end of MArch foor publication in the Autumn. Maybe I could talk a bit about your community and what you are trying to do? Let me know if you are interested.

Malcolm

Heather

Hi Malcolm, thanks for your message it was very encouraging. In all of the negatives I know that we have a gracious God who knows much more than I do what is needed! I would be happy to be in contact for further discussion.

As I read more of your book I am more encouraged that as people read it they may begin to see a more, 24 hour, practical and real God. I haven't read any of the books that you mention but have read an excellent book Faith in the Poor Bob Holman. At the end of the day we need to be passionate for Christ and in that passion shine for others to see Him. He is the one who will bring people to the point of salvation. I have only just picked up your message, I work on a MAC so can't get UCB online, but hope it went well.

jacqueline

I entered "Little boy" on Morpheus to find a song for a mother/son dance at my son's upcoming wedding. I did so with visions of him in a white terrycloth sunsuit, shiny blonde hair falling about his cherubic face with chubby cheeks and brilliant blue eyes at age two; onto my screen came child molestation sites for seekers of young boys. I, for the first time in a long time, cried. I cried for what my vision is of my son's childhood, compared to the childhood of thousands of others as a result of adults preying on children as they embrace their own depravity. Your site is one of the first to come up as I entered phrases in search of others seeking to heal our world. Let me know if you have more info on your charter for change.

Malcolm Duncan

Jaqueline

What an absolutely horrendous thing to happen to you - and what an indictment of the world in which we live - that such innocence and beauty can be turned to such pain and hurt and loss at the touch of a button. Be assured of my love and prayers. You can contact me diretly if you need to.

Our charter and other information can be found at www.faithworks.info. Building a Better World is available from any good bookshop, priced £7:99.

My thoughts and prayers are with you - and I hope you find a FANTASTIC SONG. I have four children. I sing to both my sons and my daughters (Who allo get embarrassed but I don't care!) They are 12,11,9 and 7 respectively. The boys are the two older, the girls the two younger. I sing Elton John's BLESSED to the boys, and often sing either Paul Simon's FATHER AND DAUGHTER to the girls or a song called BUTTERFLY KISSES.

All the best

Heather

Malcolm, trust that your book is all written and life is quiet for you. Just wanted to share with you that we had 3 baptisms in the front garden of the house where our Lighthouse Group is held. How fantastic, God is on the move on the estates! We are in the process of major changes in leadership and venue yet God still shines through.

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