I come from a Christian base longing to seeing the church truly mobilised in actively engaging in bringing God’s kingdom to earth: ie social justice and faith. In my view all of humanity has a responsibility to bring justice to the world, which inevitably requires sacrifice, and putting others before ourselves. I struggled to define the aim of the group any more closely than that, as I suspect its membership will decide its shape over time. The group is not about academic curiosity, although to move forwards we may need to address some of these issues. The group is not about setting up a website, that is purely a tool which over time is likely to be supplemented by many other forms of communication.
Where I started
Bristol has huge social justice issues, not least the gap between the rich and the poor, which cannot be just and brings about high levels of mental illness to both the rich and the poor.
There are around 30/40K Christians in Bristol, that is a formidable ‘work force’.
The primary role of Christians (Kingdom People) is to bring God’s Kingdom to Earth, via Social Justice and walking with others sharing their faith. This is a task for all Christians, not just the institution of the church. The church is its membership not its structures, organic rather than organisational.
Many Christians are doing brilliant work in Bristol to bring about social justice, but many more could be involved, and there is much to be done.
So, where I started was to see this group as a catalyst (there are many others) for mobilising the church in Bristol. Basically, a grass roots, bottom-up approach.
This group had as its primary tool a Web offering where people could share their ideas, doubts, questions etc in order to help us move towards bringing the Kingdom to more people in Bristol.
Where I am now
I think this initiative could be very useful, I feel excited about it.
Not sure what my perceived aims for the group are, but here are some thoughts:
This is a brilliant group comprised of special people who I resonate with. Have rarely been part of such a group. If we were to continue as the small group it currently is, I think it would become something quite remarkable. However, that is not our vision.
What it isn’t:
- A group to discuss theology/philosophy for its own sake.
What it is:
- A group that will seek to bring about wholeness to our communities.
- That includes us, as we all carry wounds and questions, we are all on a journey, this group could enable all of us to move towards wholeness, so that we each become more complete as people.
- A mutual support group, to encourage each other.
- A place for sharing ideas, including how to handle specific situations.
I wonder if the group will appeal to a relatively small proportion of people we may like to connect with, eg those with IT skills, high functioning cognitive skills who have time to engage with this activity?
Not sure about this, but the group as it stands is within a Christian setting. That may or may not be ideal, but it would probably be good to resolve this fairly quickly as it is one of the building blocks of the initiative.
That it will become an ‘exclusive’ group for people with a high level of cognitive skills who have a wonderful time playing mental games with complex problems. There is a place for that, not sure this is that place.
The offering as it stands at its core is for a social media website for people to interact via the written word, to the group as a whole, made of people they have never met. Despite my pretty good IT skills, I have not engaged in social media, (apart from WhatsApp) except that I recently, for the first time entered something on a website, and then wondered what was the point? My contribution was swamped by others, I wondered if anyone ever read it. There are many of my generation that fall generally into this category.
Concerned that this activity will be largely limited to people disaffected with church life, I think it could have much to give to people across the board.
There is a danger that we will have stimulating dialogue that stays ‘within the box’ and doesn’t flow out to the wider world.
It maybe that the ‘take up’ will be the tip of the iceberg, those who engage may be encouraged to inspire others.
6 April 2021