Saturday, 2 July 2011

Expressing yourself

I was faintly bemused at a meeting a couple of weeks ago when B, a key proponent of certain new manifestations of how you might express Christianity, said "I don't ever want to hear the phrase 'Fresh expressions' again"
He was particularly referring to a recent conference in our Diocese that had been pursuing this idea.
My understanding is that the "fresh expressions movement" is challenging Christians to offer the Gospel in ways that might be more readily understood by the 21st century woman and man.
This idea has much to commend it but also needs to be carefully critiqued.
Not a few people have been expressing to me in the last few weeks a certain disquiet about this idea of "fresh expression"
Not the least of which is the whole idea of what "expressions" might be acceptable.
The sad resignation of openly lesbian priest Ali Wurm who has had a powerful and confronting ministry at Semaphore leads us to wonder what on earth we are on about.
I was struck when reading Ali's statement to her parish a couple of weeks ago about how innovative and fresh her ministry had been ( see an interesting account of Ali's church community engaging with popular culture here).
But, you see, although this is one of a number of powerful examples of how a fine priest has tried to freshly express the Christian faith...the powers that be do not seem to be interested in traversing the area of homosexuality.
No wonder the world find us ridiculous!
Worse than this, the world recognises that for all our talk about "fresh expressions" we actually are only prepared (on an official level) to countenance those things which are already well catered for by the narrowness of our own moral world views!!!