As the Party-state attempts to shift from merely “managing” religious affairs to “actively guiding” religion, Christians (and especially church leaders) will have to make difficult choices about how to respond. Some will want to maintain a confrontational stance, while others will seek to function within the space still allowed, even if it may be smaller. Differing opinions regarding these responses may lead to even more division, not just between the registered and unregistered churches, but among house churches as well.
I found this update on Christianity in China helpful
This definitely resonates with my experience as a leader
If we are going to remotely resemble an alternate ethical community in our increasingly secular, non-transcendent world, then assembly is going to be required. It cannot be an optional extra to my private devotional life, whatever that is.
And as a pastor I have noticed that over the past two decades there’s been a general decrease in the number of times per month that the average church goer assembles. Regular attendance used to be three in four, now it’s about two in four.
Numerous factors are at play in the West. We’ve had the loss of any particular rhythm to the week. I’m not a sabbatarian by theological conviction, but gee we seem to have lost something!
Andrew Wilson gives high praise for a new book on spiritual gifts while still disagreeing with it’s fundamental point. If you’re interested in the charismatic/cessationist debate then the next few posts from Andrew should be interesting.
The interesting thing here is not a decision about retail planning but how big brands like Apple are seeking to privatize public spaces. It is the end game in the consumer take over of culture.
The tech giant has sought to set itself up in key public areas across the world’s cities, often taking over previously non-commercial spaces such as, in certain cases, former library and museum sites (more of which in a moment). They then present their store facilities as natural extensions of this public space, even as cultural institutions that provide unique opportunities for social exchange. These are not electronics stores—they are “town squares,” places where, according to Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, “everyone is welcome.”
Number 9 is a favourite and I’m hoping this year the sea freezes so I can invade Denmark.