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'Christians in the World' - an article for Outlook magazine

Monday 17th June 2013

The latest issue of Canterbury Diocese's Outlook magazine is focused on how Christians put their faith into action. In this introductory column, Archbishop Justin writes that following the economic crisis Christians have "a great opportunity" to demonstrate the love of Christ in their daily lives

How do we find what is good in our society? How do we nurture it? How do we protect it from our inevitable human failures? These are always key questions for Christians – especially at this time of Pentecost, when we remember that the Holy Spirit thrusts us into the world to live out our faith. But after the economic and social upheaval of the last few years, there is new urgency – and extraordinary new potential – in the question of how Christians demonstrate the love of Christ. 

So I am delighted to introduce this collection of articles, which challenge us to consider afresh what it means to be Christians in the world. 
Christine Robinson and Russell Anderson’s accounts of being Christians in secular jobs show how powerful it can be to bring your faith to your workplace. It starts with the simple, private question: ‘What would Jesus do?’ But the possibilities opened up by that radical question are little short of revolutionary, both for ourselves and for those around us. 
Meanwhile, Bishop Trevor highlights God’s challenge that his people be ‘a light to lighten the nations’. This enormous commission from God – which calls us to be involved in all aspects of human life – means we must fully engage in the current debate about what sort of society we need for everyone to flourish, rather than just some of us. 
Rev Matthew Reed from the Children’s Society writes that the Church of England, which is so deeply embedded in our communities, could be the ‘transformational agency’ in our nation. As a church we are incredibly well-equipped to help change not just the lives of children living in poverty, but the society which currently prevents so many children from flourishing. ‘This is our time,’ he writes; I share this conviction. 
For me, two things are now needed. First, we must be confident in our faith that Christ is the source of all goodness. So it’s necessary for us to develop our own personal spirituality, as well as our communal spirituality, so that this encounter with Jesus is driving our understanding of what is right and good. 
The other is that we need to be confident, but also gracious and wise in how we share that knowledge – so that we influence society in a way that people can hear, rather by the succumbing to the (all too human) temptation to try convincing people with our words alone, rather than our actions.
I am more optimistic about the Church than I have been at any other time in my life. Something is shifting; a spiritual hunger is starting to emerge. In so many ways this is an extremely difficult time for us as a society. But is it also a great opportunity to show people who Jesus is by how we live our lives. 

How do we find what is good in our society? How do we nurture it? How do we protect it from our inevitable human failures? These are always key questions for Christians – especially at this time of Pentecost, when we remember that the Holy Spirit thrusts us into the world to live out our faith. But after the economic and social upheaval of the last few years, there is new urgency – and extraordinary new potential – in the question of how Christians demonstrate the love of Christ. 

So I am delighted to introduce this collection of articles, which challenge us to consider afresh what it means to be Christians in the world. Christine Robinson and Russell Anderson’s accounts of being Christians in secular jobs show how powerful it can be to bring your faith to your workplace. It starts with the simple, private question: ‘What would Jesus do?’ But the possibilities opened up by that radical question are little short of revolutionary, both for ourselves and for those around us. 

Meanwhile, Bishop Trevor highlights God’s challenge that his people be ‘a light to lighten the nations’. This enormous commission from God – which calls us to be involved in all aspects of human life – means we must fully engage in the current debate about what sort of society we need for everyone to flourish, rather than just some of us. 

Rev Matthew Reed from the Children’s Society writes that the Church of England, which is so deeply embedded in our communities, could be the ‘transformational agency’ in our nation. As a church we are incredibly well-equipped to help change not just the lives of children living in poverty, but the society which currently prevents so many children from flourishing. ‘This is our time,’ he writes; I share this conviction. 

For me, two things are now needed. First, we must be confident in our faith that Christ is the source of all goodness. So it’s necessary for us to develop our own personal spirituality, as well as our communal spirituality, so that this encounter with Jesus is driving our understanding of what is right and good. The other is that we need to be confident, but also gracious and wise in how we share that knowledge – so that we influence society in a way that people can hear, rather by the succumbing to the (all too human) temptation to try convincing people with our words alone, rather than our actions.

I am more optimistic about the Church than I have been at any other time in my life. Something is shifting; a spiritual hunger is starting to emerge. In so many ways this is an extremely difficult time for us as a society. But is it also a great opportunity to show people who Jesus is by how we live our lives. 

Read the summer issue of Outlook magazine [PDF]

 


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