If we ever needed to be reminder of the power of our words, this week was a stark reminder. If people are told that an election was rigged and that people need to show strength, don’t be surprised if they break into the seat of power in the Capitol. And even if you condemn these actions later, you can’t undo the damage that your words caused.
So he was silenced by Twitter. Did you agree with that decision? After all, he was inciting violence, wasn’t he?
Last year J.K. Rowling caused a storm when she raised some concerns about the transgender cause. Voices raged that she had no right to speak and called for her publishers to stop working with her. They wanted to ‘cancel’ her.
Did you agree with them? Or were you pleased to see other well-known authors supporting her?
The lazy answer that I recognise in myself, is that when loud voices are supporting my opinion, I am in favour of it, when they don’t, I’m against it.
Reading the account of Paul being held in custody in Acts 24-26 is a reminder that attempts to silence people is no modern concept. Paul’s opponents wanted to stop him speaking – permanently. The ultimate in a cancel culture. But Paul couldn’t be bought (24:26) and he couldn’t be silenced. His views were at odds with everyone, but he refused to back down.
Nick Cave, a musician wrote about this recently, identifying cancel culture as bad religion:
As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world.
Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) – moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.Nick Cave
I think he’s right. But what can we do?
It takes courage to speak when you know that your views will be at odds with the prevailing culture. It’s hard to put your head above the parapet. I think it might become more normal for us to be shamed publicly for the views we hold. We might need to be ready to be unpopular.
We can make sure we don’t get swept along with the crowd – whatever that crowd is.
We can guard against emotion sweeping us to silence those we disagree with.
We can listen – especially to those we disagree with.
We can try hard not to demonise those who are not demons.
We can pray that change will happen.
We can pray for the kingdom to come.
We can choose to be brave.
We can choose to speak.
We can be ready to pay the price.
We can trust that in the mess God is still at work.
If you want to read more about JK Rowling’s experience, go here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-53330105
If you’re interested to read what Nick Cave wrote in full, go here: https://www.theredhandfiles.com/what-is-mercy-for-you/
Nina is a Health Visitor in Blackley. And she’s part of our church. Listen to he talk about how her life and faith come together in these difficult days.
We are getting to the point where we need people to be willing to be interviewed – either again if it was a while ago, or for the first time. Let Neil know if you are willing to give it a go. Thanks
1. Coffee Morning: Wednesday at 10.30am.
A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz.
2. Home Groups: Thursday at 7.30pm on Zoom
Please note the new time.
This will be a great time to come along if you are not part of a small group yet. We will be having a moment to take stock – recognise what is working really well for us, and what we can do to make sure we all keep on growing well together. If this is the year you are going to get involved – come to this evening!
If you are part of a group at the moment, you will have received an email with the link for the meeting. If joining a small group is one of your new year’s resolutions, this week is an ideal time to join us. Contact Neil and he will send you the link.
3. Prayer Meeting: Friday
Contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.
4. Sunday Service
Zoom Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/836810848
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
And on Salford Elim Church’s YouTube page.
And at 10am, led by Hannah:
If you would love the privilege of praying for our Sunday morning service, then we need you! Log on to the Sunday morning Zoom at 10am and we’ll go into a break out room for 15-20mins, to pray together for those involved in the service, as well as for the service itself.
I’d love to see you there xxx
5. Quiz Night: Friday 5th February, 7.30-9.30pm
We’ve really enjoyed the last few Quiz Nights and so we thought we’d do another!
You can come on your own and will be teamed up on the night or you might want gather a team beforehand – there might be folks in church that you want to team up with but it’s also a chance to extend an invitation to those who don’t come to church with you regularly.
If you know that you want to be in a team with friends and family you can form a team of up to 5 screens. But you must register that team with Ian by Thursday the 4th of February.
He needs to know the names of who will be in your team (the name that will appear on each person’s Zoom screen would be very helpful!) and the team captain’s mobile number (the team captain will also need to have WhatsApp installed on their phone in order to send and receive questions and answers).
If you don’t have a team beforehand, come along and we will create teams on the night – no one will be alone. But please turn up on time!
It should be a fun night 🙂
Here is the link to use: https://zoom.us/j/99180747057?pwd=TUxwMTNsdHNYZ0c1aDFpL1ltSXc1dz09
If in doubt
All the links to the meetings are in Church Suite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website: http://www.salfordelimchurch.org/events/
You’re not alone
If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058.
It’s important to remember that the Christian faith is not a ‘leap in the dark’ but is built on real places, with real people, experiencing real events. Archaeology helps with this. You might this article outlining the 10 most significant discoveries in 2020 interesting:
This is a site that has been helpful for people gaining fresh insights into the Bible: https://eyewitnessbible.org/
Some people I find really helpful to follow on Twitter (there are loads to be honest!):
- https://twitter.com/AJWTheology – great on theological insights
- https://twitter.com/marcushoneysett – helpful to bridge the gap with culture around us
- https://twitter.com/Stoxo – good on music and the arts
- https://twitter.com/ShaneClaiborne – good on radical social justice
- https://twitter.com/BethMooreLPM – American leader speaking sense
- https://twitter.com/KSPrior – Karen Prior, Professor in English and Religion
- https://twitter.com/jenniferwilkin – writer