climate change Fresh Expressions Lent Mission Uncategorized


Today’s lent thinking revolves around Jesus praying in Gethsemane. The story describes him feeling powerful emotions as he anticipates where his path will lead him.

Most people avoid fear and anger and the situations where we may experience these emotional states. There is a tradition of “Via Negitiva” though. I react badly to (hate?) Disney for the decisions they have made to edit out tragedy from old stories, or redress them to promote a simplistic and conservative vision of the USA. I think stories can, and should, help us encounter feelings we hope we will never experience for real and that this will help us handle the times when we have to walk a dark path.

When I was a teenager I was trained to take the good news to my friends. One of my teachers, in particular, combined music and visual imagery. Using a cassette tape and a film projector with actual reels! To help us imaginatively engage with the meaning. The song he chose was “The sound of silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. The experience of frustration has been reinterpreted and expressed by “Disturbed” more recently.

This freedom and adaption to a changing world was a rarity though. Many had a desire to take the gospel relevantly to every generation. Their underlying agenda was to bring people to their vision of Church however. With the best of intentions, it seemed like they would bait activities with fun, reduce their dogma to soundbites, and then expect new recruits to settle down into established church patterns. Young people who were devoted to the Way would be burdened by their elders perceived failures to succeed. Issues like consumerism, climate change and the persecution of people because of their gender and sexuality were badly handled by a culture finding it difficult enough to understand the ethics of vegetarianism.

This song and video helped me work though some of that experience.

I started with a pop/folk song covered by a metal band. A while ago I was intrigued to discover that a metal track composed by “Nine Inch Nails” had become popular in Church circles. The new version was recorded by Johnny Cash towards the end of his life. Hindsight, nostalgia, these are powerful emotions.

What are the consequences of addiction to social order experienced by national churches? To denomination by those trained in that path? All humans need safe spaces to nourish a strong sense of identity in relationship – but how many “little deaths” have young people been forced to make in order to fit in? Where has the support for them been, when they leave the mother ship to establish safe spaces for outcasts and those who question the status quo?

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