27 March 2012
Calling, culture-shaping and ‘everything’
Author and social critic Os Guinness called for “a new Christian renaissance” at the Everything Conference this month.
Speaking to nearly 700 people gathered at the Mermaid Theatre, London, on 17 March to be inspired and challenged about being salt and light in every sphere of culture and society, he urged Christians to follow their callings.
He urged Christians not to withdraw from the secular world, but to flourish within it, to be the best at whatever it is they are called to.
“In order to change culture, we do it from the centre, rather than the periphery,” he said. “Because when the Church is truly in but not of the world, there’s a creative tension which leads to culture-shaping.” He stressed, however, that “changing culture is a by-product and not a goal”.
Based on the verse in Psalm 24, which reads “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”, the annual conference run by Newfrontiers aims to encourage Christians with an interest in the arts and media, politics, science, technology and business.
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, joined Elizabeth Hunter, director of Theos think-tank, on stage to share their experience of communicating as leaders of Christian organisations within public life.
“As we engage in the public space, we have got to be able to argue well but we have to also make sure that we have got our vocabulary right,” Steve said.
“We have got to find the language which connects. We have got to find the stories that connect because the story always checkmates the abstract.”
The conference also included a range of interviews with Christians doing great things in their work life and in their communities. Interviewees included Lavinia Brennan and Natasha Rufus Isaacs, who own ethical fashion label Beulah London; and comedian Paul Kerensa, who writes hit BBC sitcom Miranda.
David Stroud, who leads the Newfrontiers UK team, said: “The Everything Conference is hugely important because it’s crucial that while our lives must start with engagement with God and relationship with Him, they mustn’t simply stop there; we must allow that life to affect every part of our world.
“If we don’t we’ll find that the societies we live in are stunted and lose the very things that we as Christians are called to contribute. Our societies should be flourishing societies because the Bible is not simply true but it’s also good.
“If we can get this as Christians and understand this theme, our nation and our world will be a whole load better off as a result. I think that’s the way that God wants it.”