Monday, 20 November 2006

Christian seclusion

Sometimes it's good to withdraw a while from 'the world' - BUECU and Wolverhampton CU both enjoyed houseparties this weekend in the Quinta, with BUECU having clear & challenging talks by Andy Weatherly on Romans 3, 5, 6 & 7-8! While there we got hold of the Saturday Times, and read up on their front page report of our own news, detailed in another report inside, with commentary article... Some temporary seclusion - going as far as almost into Wales(!) for a weekend, can be good. Seclusion from the world of the sort that we are forced out of involvement in a public body though... not so good. Another of their analysts, while rather confusedly aligning CUs who want to be Christian-led, with Islamic fundamentalists recruiting terrorists on campus, decided that persecution helps them flourish. She also acknowledged secularism and atheism as religions in competition with the others.

This kind of thing leads to concerned supporters of CUs advising me to not let the students be distracted from evangelism on campus. This is admirable advice. The BUECU is not being distracted from evangelism on campus - they're encouraging it and doing it in every way possible from chatting with friends and organising small group 'dial-a-crumpet' evenings to subject-specific apologetics talks in departments and events for international students. But being able to book rooms in the Guild regularly (where one can actually have food at a lunchbar) and advertise as a Guild society is a part of evangelism that they're not going to let go of easily. To imagine that such things do not matter is wishful thinking.
I have sought to serve IFES groups where they are banned from religiously secular campuses, and evangelism is jolly difficult! The path is clear - first the groups are banned from Student Union property / affiliation, then from university property - advertising - rooms, then the non-Christian students accept the dogma that Christianity is non-academic & irrational, then Christian students believe the lie that they have nothing much to say - that the gospel doesn't engage with their friends and studies. It doesn't lead to a huge mission just off campus!
We aren't going to accept that we are illegal until we are ruled illegal - exactly as Paul did at every stage of his missionary journeys. He didn't hesitate to plead his citizenship, knowing that the government is God's servant for good. It's not that he started a public campaign to change the blatantly corrupt and anti-Christian government, but he did take every opportunity to show the government that the gospel was legal and that Christ is Lord and God. He did so not to fight for his rights but because Christ is Lord and his gospel is supremely good, not illegal - for Paul to point this out to authorities in court in every country and town he entered was recorded by Luke as being just as much part of his mission as was his synagogue preaching or Areopagus speaking! Therefore while keeping on with evangelism, we will spend some energy on this process, because Christ cries 'mine!' over every square inch of his world, and because his gospel engages with every person at every area of their life and world. (And as with Paul, in the outcome neither a mob-rule otherwise nor an emperor's dictate otherwise won't stop the mission we've been entrusted by the sovereign saving God.)

So yes, pray for the evangelism of these CUs. Pray for Christ's lordship to be proclaimed clearly and not given up as a pietistic offering to the god of non-engagement.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

at times we do need such time away from the 'peak areas'. I once asked for it and God sent me to Sudan (still here) to work. This is the best time that I had, only in terms of spiritual life, where my devotion time has improved tremendously due to no other activities that could interrupt.

mama said...

I can't believe they really call them 'dial-a-crumpet' evenings. That would certainly pull in the student rabble! Who's offering to be the crumpet?

étrangère said...

Er, I think you may be referring to when crumpet was a slang term for something?? Now it's just a... crumpet. They publicise that on a certain evening, anyone in that hall of residence can dial the number of a CU member and get a free crumpet delivered to them with the topping of their choice. On delivery, the CU member will invite them to a future event, and chat or go away if told. I've heard it done before with pancakes and toasties - a creative way of the CU members getting to know more people in that hall and making themselves available for chat if wanted.

mama said...

Check Wikipedia - crumpet's still in use for a sexy female! (Carol Vorderman... 'the thinking man's crumpet' etc.)

étrangère said...

Hm. I doubt they'd thought of that...