I have a funny relationship with the Loose Canon (Giles Fraser). There is something simultaneously annoying and irresistible about his reflections. I once told a friend they were a little like having a mouth ulcer; irritating yet you still can’t help but rub your tongue up against it. So it is with Giles’ weekly offering. But today, I thought he was spot on.
In making the case against assisted dying (NOT THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG – I HAVEN’T MADE MY MIND UP EITHER WAY) he stressed that Christianity is not so much concerned with individual autonomy as the entering into of a romantic relationship where ‘at their initiative without you having to dance or impress for it, they tell you you are cared for and loved in ways that you do not actually believe (at a given moment in time – my addition) to be true.’ Furthermore, Fraser suggests, ‘Christianity is about making peace with a fundamental dependency.’
This is radical stuff – for one of the great, and untrue myths, of modern culture is that we are all autonomous and, achieve our highest level of being when we achieve independence. This is not only untrue, it’s out and out deception. We find our truest selves only in relationship, with others, and above all with God. This truth is not only temporal, its eternal.
So if we want to be a true missionary church, maybe we need to throw away ideas of independence. Maybe we need to stop being impressed by the veneer of success and autonomy and, perhaps, with Jesus we need to say to a desperately hurting world: ‘Come unto me all you who labour……’ You never know there may be more people suffering under the pretence of autonomy, independence and individualism than we can possibly count. We must reject all forms of muscular Christianity – let’s recapture a sense of ‘meekness.’
Do you and your church welcome all who labour (unconditionally)? What are you, and your church, impressed by? Is the spirit of romance alive and well in your church?