Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Where have all the Council Estate Christians gone? pt.2 'The Middle Class Dream'

Yesterday I posed the question and gave some quick answers. Today, I'm gonna look at one of the biggest reasons a lot of Christians have left their estate, the Middle Class Dream.

We've all grown up with it, even if we're from the endz. As a kid, I dreamed of moving off my estate. I was gonna buy a house for my mum in the suburbs, and a house for myself somewhere like Putney. The worldview I grew up with was that you need to do well, move out of the estate, and live in a nice house with a nice job. And I think that this is where a good number of our estate Christians have gone, and are going.

Its not automatically wrong to move to a nicer area, but I'd like to challenge the assumption that its automatically good.

Here's 3 very brief reasons:

1) A brief answer from the Bible
The Old Testament law and land system encouraged living close by to relatives, looking after relatives, and helping the poor in your community. The Decalogue tells us to not covet. The New Testament encourages us to use our station in life to glorify God. Acts outlines God using people's cultural backgrounds to reach people closer to those backgrounds. Now the Bible does also give exceptions but in general it points away from the British middle class dream.

2) A brief answer from missionary experience
Local people have a 'missionary power' that outsiders don't have, especially on estates. If you look at Paul, God used his Greek background to help him reach out to Greeks. Estate culture is suspicious of outsiders, so we badly need many of our insiders to stay to reach out to the lost.

3) A brief answer from common street knowledge
Remember how we used to look down on rappers who didn't live in the hood anymore, but we looked up to the rappers who still lived in their neighbourhood and supported it. There's something in us that just gets how good it is to support the empoverished tribe you're from. After a talk I did on reaching estates, a lady came up to me crying saying she deeply regretted leaving her estate years ago after becoming a Christian.

Where are you? Will some of you come back to reach the estates? Will the rest of us sell-out to a dream that falls so far short of God's glory? I know there are godly exceptions, but I'm heart broken over the lack of people staying.

pt3 tomorrow...