The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

£0.00 0 View Basket

What would you like to explore today?

Donate
Back

Discover something new this Thursday

Never miss a thing!

15.03.2018

A Spring in Our Step? | Connecting with Culture

Did Tuesday’s Spring statement by the Chancellor leave you feeling pumped up? Me neither.

Of course, economic forecasts are important, but there can be something very wearying about them too. Something lacking, if you will. As US Senator Bobby Kennedy once said, ‘The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play… it measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning… it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.’ We need more than GDP and economic progress.

The western world tends to think about human flourishing in terms of wealth and individual achievement. But the biblical concept of human flourishing is much greater and more holistic – not only for individuals but also for communities.

Biblical human flourishing includes physical and mental wellbeing as well as relational harmony, justice, wholeness, and peace. It includes what we cannot achieve by ourselves: the fruit of the Spirit flowing from God’s presence.

The Christian distinctive in flourishing is that Jesus has provided the heart cure and renewal in our souls that enables us to pursue and experience life in all its fullness. Yet there is a yawning gap between this potential and how Christianity is perceived today.

Christians are often thought of as judgmental, against things rather than for things, exclusive and not inclusive, or ‘just a bit weird’. Although biblical human flourishing is good news, Christianity is no longer seen as a public benefit. So it has never been more vital to demonstrate the relevance of the gospel for everyday life.

Of course, heaven cannot be established on earth by human effort, but something of heaven can be revealed by the way we allow Jesus to live and speak through us.

We don’t need to be perfect, or to deny the problems we have, but we can invite the Spirit to inspire us to live more generously, more creatively, and more joyously. We can share more examples of how believers make a positive difference. We can think about new ways to ‘connect the dots’ for people to show how the gospel of grace – which leads to true human flourishing – is in fact vital to making the world a much better place.

The ‘turning point’ the Chancellor referred to was only economic. Our opportunity is to contribute to a turning point in something much bigger.

Paul Valler
Paul is a mentor, author, and speaker and chairs the Board of LICC.

Author

Paul Valler

Comments

  1. Yes, I agree as a Christian there is much more to life than economic well-being but a lot of the things you mention – good education, good health service etc depends on a good economy so let’s not be disparaging about a good economic forecast, especially as we are still about 2 trillion in dept and paying of huge sums in interest payments for this. Rather let’s give thanks for this good news on the economy and be encouraged and thankful we don’t have the high levels of unemployment etc that many countries have.

    By Barry Byles - 16th March 2018
  2. Thank you for a brief comment of great significance. That element of gospel witness which is our living out of Kingdom values in every part of our lives is increasingly important in our secularised, pagan society.

    By Alan J F Fraser - 16th March 2018
  3. A salient reminder Paul and bless you for sharing this. I have spent time ministering in the poorest of poor communities (financially and economically), yet met there some of the richest people spiritually with a deep rooted understanding of what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    By Alan - 16th March 2018
  4. David Cameron started out with a promising message of the “big society” campaign, which felt like an opportunity for communities and churches to pull together and show Jesus’s message of looking after your neighbour. The economy was in such a mess that someone had to be brave and pull back on spending; not a job I would have been up to. But we Christians in our communities were being given the chance at the same time to bring our faith to the fore and make a difference locally. What a shame this opportunity was missed. At least the strong resolve of these economic politicians is baring fruit which will hopefully benefit all in the UK.

    By Liz - 16th March 2018
  5. Sadly, I think we are “thought of as judgemental” because we are judgemental. As an evangelical myself, I’m struck increasingly by the speed and stridency of our moral judgements. It’s odd how people who have benefitted so much from forgiveness can be so condemnatory!

    By Paul New - 17th March 2018
  6. I am being challenged with greater intensity by God about discipleship, what it truly means and how, in turn, it might contribute to a bigger turning point. Much in the UK will change in the next few years. An opportunity to create a new identity as a country. I sense there is a desire by God to see His people step out in faith and step up in courage. Whether we ‘missed the boat’ whilst Cameron was PM or not, I don’t know. We have another chance now. Will I allow the transformation within to ‘deny myself…take up my cross…lose my life for His sake…’?? Dare I believe that in doing so ‘I might find my life….’?? I don’t want to be counted amongst those who are found to be ‘ashamed of Him and His words in this generation…’ Mark 8 v 34-38. That was the path Jesus followed in initiating transformation. Perhaps its ours too.

    By Brian Smith - 23rd March 2018

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss a Thing!

  • Sign up and we'll send you a monthly round-up - our best content direct to your inbox, and occasional personalised emails too. For full email options, see Get Involved.