Connecting through culture (@soonguy)

The BBC Radio 4 panel game ‘Just a Minute’ was recorded at the Edinburgh Festival recently. (Respect to programme chair and veteran actor/broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, who at 91 continues to dispense the razor-sharp quick wit that the format demands.)

A one-liner during the show was appreciated by other members of the panel, people of a certain age, but perhaps less so by the audience. It certainly made me laugh:

An example of supposed famous last words: “They say the young master has returned home.” – the fatted calf

Of course, the reason that many, probably mainly younger, people in the audience did not get the reference, is the lack of awareness of Bible stories in our post-Christian secular society.

Of course, there has never been some imagined ‘Christian’ golden age, with committed believers forming even a bare majority of the population, in the West or anywhere else. The situation in first-century Israel was probably not dissimilar to ours – a multi-cultural cosmopolitan mix, with a relatively low percentage of worship attendance or more than passing aquaintence with most of the Bible. And with few recorded exceptions, Jesus mainly ministered to people anywhere else but in a place of worship. And used a story-telling approach, with surely elements of comedy stand-up* and street theatre. And the frequent embedding of elements drawn from the life and culture around them – ways to unblock ‘rusted-up closed minds’.

* See helpful articles about standup and evangelism: Wheaton | IEDay.

It is therefore discouraging to report that a UK ministry using popular culture as a gateway to truth, has closed due to lack of financial support. The Southampton-based Damaris Trust pioneered many aspects of this vital ministry approach. Happily, much of their film-based material has been transferred to a new group Damaris and the schools-based materials to original authors Look for the resources you need at these new locations.

London Conference
Brits, there’s another chance to join a one-day Premier Digital Conference, 14 November in London. A great place to learn many ways to leverage digital in ministry. Why not take the lessons back to your own group or church, put on your own training sessions, and appoint a digital advocate or team.

Photo credit: Steve Chilton

About soonguy

Tony Whittaker is coordinator for Internet Evangelism Day | Team member, SOON Ministries, Derby UK. Contact him here.