A Loyal Subject …

May 27, 2009

I’ve just decided that I’m a ‘brand’ man … what do I mean by that? Well, it means that I find a brand that I like – and stick with it (probably to the detriment of other brands which are better).

Let me give you a few examples: My mobile phone has always been a Nokia – and there have been a succession of them since 1994. Of course, there have been better phones on the market at the times I was looking to replace my old handset but, despite that, it’s always been a Nokia that has ended up on the contract.

For digital cameras I’ve always gone for Fujifilm. Mind you, I’ve only ever had 4 digital compact cameras so that’s not as bad as my mobile phone track record but, still .. and for digital video cameras it has to be Sony. Don’t ask me why, it just does.

And I’ve been with the same Building Society since before I was married (coming up to 25 years next month!)

There must be something about getting comfortable with a brand, having an idea of how it will work, where the controls are and what they’ll do .. and, because I’ve never had a bad experience of shoddy workmanship or dependability with Nokia, Fujifilm or Sony I suppose I’ve come to trust the brands.

So why isn’t aren’t local churches packed to the rafters every Sunday? I mean, people have ‘used the product’ for years, often since they were children. They know what happens, when it happens (some even know why it happens!) so where is the loyalty?

Could it be that there is no longer the trust there? Or, maybe, the product is no longer relevant to the lifestyles? Or maybe people have had a poor experience of a church. After all, if you’ve steadfastly been with the RAC for years and then, when you call them out they take 3 hours to get to you and can’t fix the problem are you really going to renew your subscription?

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Maybe church attendance is a bit like breakdown cover – you’re only glad you kept up the policy when you breakdown.

Maybe the Church needs to find a way of explaining that a church, like a dog, is for life – not just for Christmas.

And, on the subject of ‘loyal subject’ I see that Nick Griffin (Leader of the British Nationalist Party has decided not to attend a Royal Garden Party on the grounds that he doesn’t “wish to embarrass her Majesty”. A bit late for that I reckon. And once again, the BNP and it’s rascist excuse for a leader has managed to grab headlines.

The Church has, at last, spoken out against this man and the policies espoused by his so-called ‘political party’. Maybe if the Church was still seen as relevant by more people its words would have some effect. But I fear it won’t. And I fear that Britain may just be on the cusp of electing fascists …

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Cricket ‘n’ God

May 21, 2009
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I’ve always thought of myself as something of a purist in cricketing terms: test matches are the game in its purest form, the 4 day version (county championship) is merely there to prepare people for test matches and limited over games are for the great unwashed who don’t really ‘get it’.

But then along came Twenty20 with a great fanfare and, all of a sudden, new people were coming to grounds to watch something that, at first glance, looks like cricket.

Ant THEN along came the Indian Premier League and, whisper it quietly, I’m a convert.

I support the Kings XI Punjab for a number of reasons, perhaps the most important is that my future wife (the appropriately named Preity Zinta) is the team owner (and if she turns me down, any of the cheerleaders will do).

I love the razamatazz, the colour, the excitement, the speed, the crowd involvement … it’s fantastic entertainment. But, ultimately, that’s what it is, entertainment of a specific kind for a (mostly) specific audience. I wonder how many of the totally enthusiastic crowds will be buying tickets for Test matches? I shouldn’t think that many will. T20 gives a quick, superficial, cricket fix.

Now, I don’t know a great deal about evangelical churches. To my shame I’ve not been to many but it strikes me that they offer a Twenty20 faith. Yes, it’s full of razzamatazz, congregational involvement, good music and happy feelings – but does it actually grow or develop faith? Does it maintain people at a certain level without challenging them to face harder questions or a deeper personal relationship with God?

If I’m correct in my thinking, what do we do to move people on? to get them involved in the test match version of faith? Or is it ok for them to be where they are?

And, if I’m wrong, feel free to tell me!