Sunday, October 28, 2012

Driving mad

Here is another way in which I suspect I am abnormal.

The smallest of unfamiliar or pressing tasks relating to vehicles and driving REALLY stress me out.

When driving, the fear is accompanied with a kind of bull-at-a-gate, let's-get-this-over-with approach that I own is entirely destructive. Unknown rural road, looking out for a left turn to get me to a meeting for which I am late, with a car quite close behind me = DRIVE REALLY FAST!!! Dark night on roads of a strange city = DRIVE REALLY FAST!!! New car that I'm not yet confident in = DRIVE REALLY FAST!!!

The vehicle stuff is a different malfunction. The prospect of going for the first time to check air-pressure in the tyres = sleepless night. The knowledge one of my reverse lights is out and I need to sort it = sheer terror.

Not sure what to do about the driving issue. I mean, I haven't ever crashed the car or anything. I drive a lot for work - about 500 miles a month - so am not a novice. Why, therefore, can I not remain calm and just DO the driving, rather than leaping onto a "Quick, get it over with!" treadmill. Some tasks benefit from added gusto. But not this.

The vehicle maintenance issues I put down to some sort of inherent sexism in myself and society. Jon usually does car stuff. Just because. I am sure that if Jon can do it, I can. And yet, I am actually sweating at the prospect of trying to use that little air machine for the tyres, just in case I can't do it and look like an idiot woman in front of the next person. Does one fix one's own reverse light or get someone else to do it?

(Incidentally, I will work this out for myself via conversations or Google, so please don't get in touch telling me the answer! I am just sharing, you know?)

I once spoke to a policeman who had been on a course intended to tackle sexism and his force's failure to take domestic violence seriously. When I asked him how it had changed his attitude to women, he said he no longer assumed every accident involving a woman driver was her fault. I laughed, at the time. But now I wonder if getting over that hurdle is a huge step forward in becoming a more equal society?

Anyone for a lift?!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

No artificial additives?

We are reading a book called Evangelism without Additives at housegroup. (Housegroups are invaluable and much more important than Sunday services - but some of the stuff you end up reading together is kind of bizarre!) The book is commendable in that it makes a brave attempt to shave away some of the crud that has piled on top of the notion of 'sharing one's faith'.

But the fact that the author, Jim Henderson, finds it necessary to remind churches that talking about Jesus is not a case of 'sealing a deal' to get someone into heaven is really quite remarkably depressing. Depressing because he's right - we do need reminding! 

Our churches (at their worst) have bought into consumerist, PR / marketing stance when it comes to 'selling' their product to those outside. They fret about how to create the right evangelistic event, how to explain Christian faith in the way most likely to win someone over, how to engineer the maximum number of scenarios and relationships in which to 'witness'. In other words, how to optimise the brand and number of sales calls. We call this love for non-believers (how incredibly patronising) but really, let's face it, it's about making ourselves feel superior, believe that we're doing the job right. And it must be awfully off-putting.

Did Jesus 'evangelise' in the sense of trying to get someone from the outside, into the club? No. He spoke honestly about heavenly and earthly things, about his relationship with God. He spoke in this way to all those he came into contact with, some of them religious Jews, some of them not. He recommended a life of liberating action and relationship with God, not of following a particular doctrine. He told his followers to make disciples, not get people to 'say the magic prayer' that gets them into heaven. 'Hell' (as we talk about it) wasn't on his agenda at all.

He tells his follwers not to concern themselves with someone else's immortal status but to pick up their own cross and follow. Leave the spiritual status of others to them and to God - the only one qualified to judge.

Evangelism without additives? Evangelism is an additive. Please can we move on?!