A busy and interesting day (and it's not over yet) as our morning service was followed by one of our 'Philosophy Cafe' events as part of the Glasgoow West End festival.
The thrust of my sermon was roughly this... the first eleven chapters of Genesis present an increasing level of dislocation in the created order - between humans and God, humans and the earth, humans and animals, male and female, parents and chldren. siblings, nations, languages - that Revelation presents the vision of a reconciled diversity and that Pentecost was a moment in which that vision was first glimsped. The Holy Spirit came, and comes, to embolden us to live and speak Good News and to model, so far as we are able, the vision of reconciled diversity.
The Philosphy Cafe was, to a degree, leading us to think in a similar way... if the model of Modernity no longer works, if consumerism and materialism and so on no longer work and are not sustainable, what shape might society need to take? What is necessary for the well-being of society? How do complex issue get worked out? Professor Phil Hanlon of Glasgow University spoke in an engaging and fascinating way and had a quiet smile to myself as I found a few (teeny) overlaps with the morning service... I just wondered how many churches had had people talking about ancient and pre-scientific worldviews in one day! You can find more about his work here.
The connection between the two seems to me for churches to model something different, to be communities of grace (whatever that means!) to anticipate the eschaton, to grasp the nettles and grapple with complex issues. I have a feeling that FairTrade, which has its origins in Christians daring to dream a different future is an example of how we can make a difference, but still have a way to go. One issue Phil Hanlon raised was about carbon footprints, which does complicate the FairTarde agenda - yes, it's right to pay fair prices to people, but is it right, for example, to import roses from overseas just so we can have them out of season, even if they are Fairly Traded? Are we just cleaning up western consumerism? And if we take into account the carbon impact, how do we then ensure those who currently grow Fairtrade roses are offered viable alternatives? Thinking globally rather than locally gets more and more important.
This is not a carefully thought through response, it is simply my reaction to what I shared in today. It just seems fitting that as the Spirit of God empowered disciples to speak and be Good News in their age, to we are called to think what that looks like in ours.