a few thoughts on ‘church labels’ and ’18-30’s’

Help!

What am I? (apart from weird)

Am I a fundamentalist? Er, no for sure!

Liberal? Yeah most probably …

Evangelical? Whats one of them?

So most of you following my twitter feed/facebook and who read my last blog yesterday will probably have worked out that I am at a Christian Conference.

Spring Harvest to be precise … check out www.springharvest.org if you have never heard of it, or would like to know more, even better want to come in 2013.

Anyway, so yeah, here I am at Spring Harvest, again, after coming last year and being really surprised. Surprised at the week itself, and surprised at how challenged my own attitude was. And that’s not always easy to say is it? Not many people go round with a placard saying ‘I’ve got a bad attitude’. Neither did I, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t mean particularly, I just wanted to come and have a fight. Try and annoy people. Be sceptical. And if anything was said or talked about that did not fit into ‘my view’ that obviously it was wrong. Somehow God really challenged my attitude of being intolerant of intolerance. It took a while to realise I was just as bad as those I disliked for being intolerant because I was intolerant towards them.

So here I am again. Spring Harvest 2012. I had planned on going to some stuff today, and trying to write something reasonably spiritual, intellectual and interesting as a blog, then I realised that isn’t me really is it. I’m not especially clever, and my knowledge of God and the bible is pretty lame compared to the amazing people I am surrounded by, and in total awe of.

I decided I needed a rest day today (I know I know, its only the second full day, but I’m knackered!) and it’s been brilliant. I had breakfast, another nap, a chat on the phone with some friends, and coffee. Time to think and more hot chocolate/drinks/time to think and write. ( I am going to have to buy some if not all the talks, as I think I have missed a few I would quite liked to have been to, plus apparently there was a really interesting lecture this afternoon that I missed on woman in leadership – another thing I really like about SH is its apparent commitment to equality in church leadership. The main preach in the morning is by Ness Wilson, a church a leader, and there are many awesome woman involved in running Spring Harvest, and doing the teaching/talks)

One of the things I have been thinking about is the huge array of people here this week. The huge array of people I have met so far. I don’t know if it is just me, or the friendliness of the people here, but I just seem to end up in conversation with people (don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining). There are a huge variety of folk who have all come away for a week, most of whom want to learn more about God and spend time with other Christians. And that’s great … really great.

But that has made me wonder how many denominations there are here? I have no idea. I don’t know if Spring Harvest would know either. So far in the short few days I have been here I have heard or met people from the Church of Scotland, Church of England, a Pentecostal church, Nondenominational, United Reformed and Baptist church.

I am sure there must be more too.

I don’t know if Spring Harvest is a particular denomination or not, I don’t think it is. But then I got thinking about the terms fundamental, evangelical, and liberal.

They get used a lot to describe people don’t they ?

I’ve often heard people say ‘oh I’m an evangelical Christian’ or ‘ I go to a fundamentalist church’ (that kind of thing anyway, its fair to say I have not met many/know many fundamentalists).

I have spent some wondering today whether it matters or not? After all, there are folk who would say that it does not matter, and the only important thing is that you believe in God and would call yourself a Christian.

I kind of get that … but actually reality is that it doesn’t work that way does it, because otherwise we would all ‘just be Christians’ and there would be no denominations at all – maybe that would be a good thing? I don’t know?

So, how do you know ‘what you are’? How do I know ‘what I am’?

Answers on a post card please – alternatively just use the comment box – i’ve had to put ‘moderation’ on due to some really vile comments coming through but I always approve normal comments, even ones that disagree with me 🙂

The other thing I have been thinking about, and plan on spending some more time thinking on and writing about is the 18-30 things.

Spring Harvest has an ’18-30’ venue going on this year (I think they had it last year too) and over the last year or so it has become increasingly apparent, well to me anyway, that doing 18-30 stuff is becoming the ‘thing to do’. I’m experiencing this in the church I am involved in too – they have a passion/desire to try and reach out/create something that includes and involves and is 18 to 30 relevant.

Whenever I talk/tweet about this, it is not just about SH or criticising anything they are doing specifically. Its trying to think about it all in the wider ‘big church umbrella context’.

Now some of you are probably wondering why it has anything to do with me. I’m not a church leader. I’m not a leader of anything. I don’t have any sway, and I am not really able to back up my thoughts with anything solid other than them being just that, my thoughts, and the thoughts of some other people I chat to.

The reason why I am writing about it though, and thinking that it has a little bit to do with me is because I fit into that age group. But the end of that age range. As a nearly 28 year old, I am supposed to ‘fit in’ to the 18-30 group.

But do I? And do the other people who are my age? Do we fit into something that is trying to focus on an 18 year old, just leaving school, maybe going to Uni, maybe just starting work, maybe going on a gap year or on one. Do we fit into the group that is trying to focus on 18 to 22 year old somethings who are students and who are at University? Who are studying and struggling with life choices, careers paths, where next and all of the other things that come along with that life (not that I would know about any of it, having not been to uni).

Do we fit? And should we?

Or does there come a time when we have to admit adulthood and engage with mainstream adult programmes when it comes to events and church life?

Anyway, just a few thoughts from today … just noticed the time, ironically have to dash other wise I’ll be very late for the 18-30 Function event that I’m head to this evening – already late as I should be there now, ops!)

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2 thoughts on “a few thoughts on ‘church labels’ and ’18-30’s’

  1. The willingness to concentrate on a person’s ability not their gender is what attracts me to SH harvest too. Women lead in their own right – not as wives of leaders.
    As an older person I can’t comment on 18-30, but agree it may be too broad an age band – and maybe of us single, older people would have more in common with some of them than all the married couples and families we tend to get banded in with?

  2. With the age group, I think this covers so many people especially in the Christian community – students, married couples, career people. I think some things are good grouped by age for example children, young people, young adults and adults but I think placing age restrictions like 18-30 is a bit open.
    As for the denomination thing I guess you go with what church you go to – and that’s where your community, your fellowship is on a regular basis but I honestly do not think it matters in the slightest – church leaders are (mostly) great but who you really need to me talking to is God – what does God mean by this part in the bible, what is the truth of this part of the bible? These are things you turn to God for, when every different person has a different opinion on it.

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