So, this is an interesting experience. Because of #TFBLoggers trip to Uganda, I missed the first 2 weeks of #BigRead13 at housegroup, but they seem to have been enjoying it (particularly because it gives a lot of scope for the leader to pick & choose)…. although they did say that the videos are a bit quiet, and that they hadn’t worked out how to download the book chapters – so considerations for another time with that I think!
Anyway, last night we did Week 3: Not a Tame Lion – unlike my previous housegroup I didn’t take notes in the sessions, just participated! I’m still keen to try and online housegroup via Google + or some such – maybe I’ll try that first later in the year with some material that I’ve not written… (though to be fair, it’s a while a go that these were written, so in some ways like coming at it new – though I’m leading next week!)
“Discuss what injustices have made you angry this week, or angry for a long-time. We’re thinking of local and global happenings, rather than a moan-fest about your job, or your family!”
Suzie provided newspapers to help us think about what’s in the news, and we discussed Huhne, footballer’s pay, University fees, ‘the cult of celebrity’, the NHS, the overuse of antibiotics meaning there are things that are uncurable, and Bishop Justin leading the campaign on benefits, etc.. we thought about what made us angry, and how we react to that – do we just “write a nice letter to the Independent” rather than getting actively involved?
Luke 19:45-48, The Lion’s World pages 57-60
We then discussed Alan Wilson’s reflection – although the thought of Jesus in a bathrobe distracted us for a while! We spent some time discussing the different worship styles, and how we engage differently, and how we react when we feel that others are intruding upon our worship space, or voicing their dissastisfaction – are they ‘a pain’ or are they ‘prophets’ – with me – always up to date with the film references – the story of Sarah Connor in The Terminator – she was warning about a ‘real’ future, but was put away as mad… We spent quite some time talking about the meaning of the words ‘nice’, ‘safe’ and ‘tame’, and what they mean for us – are all Christians too ‘nice’ – but actually simmering inside – do we have to find some more healthy ways of letting people know if something is affecting us (in the coaching “you make me feel” way?) – rather than waiting til we’re so angry that we just ‘burst’ out in the wrong time/space/context, or take it in on ourselves and become ill with frustration… And what is the good side of ‘nice’ … what does it mean to describe someone as ‘nice’ – does it mean that we’ve got no other word to describe that person?
We discussed for so long (some not appropriate to share here) that we finished with “What would a more honest and emotionally engaged way of life look like? What is stopping you engaging in this?” as we talked through some of the things we’d said made us angry and how we could tackle things, and move beyond superficial engagements – understanding that we may upset people in the process … including the balance between giving people space to participate (even if not super-skilled) in church – and the over-professionalisation of e.g. music groups – as if church is a concert?
To finish with: “Lord, we pray that we would be prepared to take risky steps in pursuit of faith, and that we would seek to turn our anger into something positive.”
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.