Month: January 2011

Literally | A Fresh Expression of Wedding

A few colleagues were talking about weddings the other day.  They discussed things that they had been asked to do and whether they were prepared to incorporate them into the day.  It was a bit of one-upmanship.  Who had the most crazy request?  One said that they had been asked if they could wear reenactment outfits.  I said “what period”?  The conversation continued and I was told “They wanted to have a guard of honour at the door of the church when they left”.  “What period?” say I, “What type of reenactment?”.  It turned out to be Viking and Saxon reenactment.

I guess they weren’t expecting me to say “I used to do Viking Saxon reenactment and I was in a guard of honour at a wedding.  I also have a friend who married in a rifleman’s uniform AKA Sharpe’s rifles”.  When I say these kinds of things people often don’t know how to react.  In the last two days, all the old photos have started to appear on Facebook.  That is literally how I came to share with you this video that @revdrach sent me!

There are legal ramifications to a wedding and much of what is done is prescribed by law.  If I had a pound for every person who has asked me if they can “write their own vows” because they have seen it on Home and Away I could retire at 32.  Never the less, we live in a world that is looking for meaningful personalised experiences in all sorts of different ways.  When they turn to the church to have them, how do we respond?  61 million people have seen that video but how many would put their foot down and say no? 

My experience as a groom was that we walked out of church to this.  We looked at the congregation.  The metalheads were looking at each other and going “is it”?  I looked at Mrs Changingworship and an unspoken thing happened.  We ran.  The emotion was so overwhelming that we were now husband and wife that we ran down the aisle and left them to it in all of its punk glory!  We went to snog behind the church.  We were wedded.  We were now one.  And it was all about the three of us, me, her and God.

So what does it mean to be real with people as “The Church” when we come together for a couple’s wedding?  What can we do to convey the message that it is about the couple and God?  What facilitates their celebration of their love for one another in the presence of their creator?

I was fortunate:  I married the vicars daughter – literally.

7 Billion | Worship Idea

I just had this video link sent to me.  I am staggered.

Thanks to @madeupstats for the occasional real one.

The Church Brand | Time to Re-Christianise

There is a lot of talk in the UK press about whether we can be ‘overtly Christian’.  People want to wear a cross around their neck, a ring on their finger, a bracelet around their wrist and a t-shirt that trades upon the branding of the latest must have item.  It is what Jesus would do – “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, for you have a WWJD bracelet”.  For those who buy in to the Christian brand these are must have items and those who do not buy in are seen as “de-christianising” and are therefore vilified.  People must be ‘overtly’ Christian or they are “ashamed of the gospel” and are removing our Christian presence. 

There is an episode of Friends where Joey finds the keys to a Porsche and uses this to spend time with the ladies.  At one point he no longer has the car but wants people to recognise that he is a Porsche owner.  To achieve this he is wearing all of the Porsche gear.  Hat, jacket, keyring… if they make it he has it.  When his friends see him the response is 

“What happened Joey? It looks like a Porsche threw up on you!”

Personally, I ride a motorbike.  There seems to be a broad consensus among bikers about the Harley Davidson brand that they market to two different types of people.  There are those for whom the primary focus is the bikes and those who like the logo.  The bike lovers buy a Harley and ride it.  The others buy a t-shirt.  It is a much cheaper option.  You do get the warm fuzzy feeling of brand loyalty without actually having to do anything about it.  The added benefit is that you don’t get cold or wet as when the weather is bad as you don’t actually ride a bike.  This type of merchandising is concerned with one thing, making money from people who can’t or won’t make the bigger sacrifice and buy the bike. 

So how does this play out for the church?  I agree that it is time for people to stop being “ashamed of the gospel” and to “re-christianise”.  However, I suspect that merchandising is not the best way that the church can show that it is not ashamed.  May I humbly suggest that “re-christianising” does not involve buying a t-shirt but by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison.  This is the mission the church has been sent on.  As Emil Brunner said,

“The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission there is no church”.

You can tell a Harley a mile away because it oozes Harley from every pore.  If we focussed upon following the way then we will have a real christian presence in our communities.  Our “Christianity” will ooze Christ from every pore.