Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Johnny Vegas and the open opportunity

Johnny Vegas, the laddish comedian known for movies such as Sex Lives of the Potato Men, and Alpha founder Nicky Gumbel shared a sofa on Monday night.

You can see their appearance on BBC's The One Show by watching the video below:

What's fascinating about the exchange is its tone. 

There is a genuine curiosity on the part of the hosts to hear why some people find Christianity compelling.

The fact that Gumbel and Vegas are able to present Christianity in their own terms is even more striking.

In a month where the media has reported ecclesiastical tussles over gay marriage and women bishops, the simple fact remains that fewer and fewer people actually understand the essentials or the attractiveness of Christianity.

It is not really about sexuality or gender (though it speaks to those matters in surprisingly positive ways which one would not guess from watching or reading the news), but instead addresses the core issues of life and begins resolving them in ways which are both experientially and intellectually satisfying.

Some media outlets have hinted that this is terrible blow for the church and the beginning of the end for British Christianity.

But recent surveys suggest that church attendance is steady or even mildly rising in the UK.

The church is not collapsing, but those outside the church are decreasingly self-identifying as Christians.

This allows for Jesus' followers to have honest "what's it all about then?" conversations with the world around them.

It's a nice change from the "leave it... I've heard it all before" conversations which used to happen when the country thought of itself as essentially Christian and therefore assumed awareness of its basic tenets.

The shrinking of nominal Christianity may therefore increasingly open the door for the kind of friendly and substantial conversations seen on The One Show.

1 comment:

  1. That was an interesting interview and good to see something more profound discussed on television, althouh the song about being in the snow at the end made for an odd conclusion!