Alas, I was unable to go to Soul Survivor this year (yes, I’m still talking about 2011 – how old school am I?) but for Christmas (Merry Christmas, by the way) I managed to get a copy of the album, having decided that Christian music is not a total write-off.
I should probably explain what Soul Survivor is. It’s a Christian Youth/Camp/Conference/Worship event held in the summer. Lots of youth-type Christians (there are far too many of us) turn up and spend five days screaming their heads off at live worship bands (OMG TIM HUGHES IS SO HOT CHRISTIANLY) and generally learning about the finer points of religion. It’s Richard Dawkins’ worst nightmare – children willingly volunteering to be brainwashed into some sort of malicious cult. I know, right.
So Tim Hughes, who is probably the Christian equivalent of the Beatles, but more popular (we’re only slightly smaller than Jesus!) wrote a song entitled We are the Free. It’s quite good actually, with clear hip-hop influences, and a good sense of fun.
But the interesting line, and the purpose of this post, is the line ‘we are the free, the freedom generation’. Which is trite, but has intriguing connotations.
Revolution seems to have become a recurring theme in Christianity recently. Let’s face it, we’ve dedicated our lives to becoming more like a man who, on a trip to the local temple, decides to destroy the local market stall. However, it does seem to be growing stronger. Recently, a speaker at the Christian festival ‘Spring Harvest‘ proclaimed to the youth that he imagined us to be the start of something big and new in the Christian faith. For Spring Harvest, that’s quite a big proclamation. Equally, we find words like revolution and generation are picking up – the unashamedly dance track ‘Dancing Generation‘ springs to mind.
And this is honestly the first year where the world outside of Christianity seems to have picked up the call of revolution. The Arab Spring has been the biggest news of the year, closely followed by the economic crisis. On top of this, revolutions have been occuring everywhere from eReader technology to anti-capitalist protestations. Even the Big Society will be coming back, according to my sources.
I know that the end of the year is traditionally a time to talk about revolutions and change, but I don’t really remember quite this much excitement as 2010 closed. Indeed, if you told yourself then everything that was going to happen in 2011, I strongly suspect you’d have been met with a lot of cynicism. We do seem to be standing much closer to the brink of something new than we have stood for at least a decade.
So I’m going to ask: Is this a good thing? It’s an odd question, but humans aren’t very good at change. Someone famous once said ‘people hate any sort of change that doesn’t clink in their pockets’. So we have to decide objectively if, perhaps, this sort of change is good. And if so, we need to try and forget our inhibitions and go for it, wholeheartedly.
The question has many parts to it, but perhaps the most formost issue should be if this change is going to work. When the people of Egypt rose up, there was much rejoicing in the streets, but already the people are rising up again to protest against the government that was put in place after the previous regime. Even in Libya there is not yet peace. If we look at the Occupy movement, we remember the disasters of some of the American groups. Here in the UK, Occupy London Stock eXchange has stayed around, but I hear repeatedly from my sources within the one percent who they are supposedly targeting that they are coming to nothing. As for the banking crisis forcing any long-term change for the better, well don’t make me laugh. The only revolution we’ve seen is the one that is about to break up the European Union. Indeed, the only revolution that seems to be working is the eBook one, and that’s still meeting ferocious opposition.
But then revolutions were never supposed to be easy. We can look at everything from the other side. In Egypt the people are rising up against the forces of oppression. OLSX has remained, and has many plans for the coming year. The banking crisis has shocked many people. We could well argue that we’ve done the hard bit. We’ve had the actual revolution, we just need to make sure what’s coming out the other side is right.
But when we think about whether the revolution is a good thing, we do have to recognise that a revolution needs the power. So part two of this question is whether there are enough of us taking part to make this work. Maybe that’s a subset of the previous question. Tough, I’m going to approach it seperately. Because this is where I’m going to link that religious nonsense at the start of this post with the revolutionary nonsense at the end of this post. You see, there are a large number of Christians in the world. A smaller percentage than there once was, perhaps, but I believe Christianity is still the largest religion in the world. No imagine all of those people supporting the revolutions. We are technically meant to be quite good at revolting. We’re also meant to be quite good at helping others. So let us, as the worldwide family of Christ, look at what we have been called to do. Help revolting people. That may not have come out right. Rather, we should help other people who are taking part in revolutions.
Alternatively we could just ignore the differences in religion, and compare the numbers of religious people in the world to the numbers of people who aren’t religious. That’s over half of the population of the world. If all of those people were working for change, we’d have a majority, which is a good thing. Go democracy.
Indeed, if you’ll bear with me for a moment, why leave it there? So extend our grouping to all those who are in the least bit spiritual. Indeed, being spiritual is a bit of a harsh cut-off point. What about those people who just haven’t thought about it enough to form a direct opinion? They’re practically religious. Indeed, if we’re going to invite them, why not just go the whole hog and invite all the avowed atheists. Yes, even Richard Dawkins is allowed to join in our revolution. And we won’t even send him to Soul Survivor. Well, maybe once. But only in the spirit of fun. And we’ll show him the back door so that he can escape.
I think, in terms of religion, we’ve just about covered everybody. And, what with there being seven billion people in the world, that’s a lot of people who are helping each other to revolt.
I suppose, when it comes down to it, whether the revolution is a good thing is up to you. Personally, I really don’t like money, so I’m not desperately enamoured by the economic turmoil that is happening. Even OLSX leaves me cold sometimes.
But there are some things which do excite me. Freedom for thousands of people in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Climate Change. And it might not be desperately loved as a tool of the political revolutions, but there are some quite exciting things happening in physics at the moment.
I remember someone, probably a youth worker of some description, told me that God places a burden for something on everyone’s heart. In non-Christianspeak, this means that we each get something to be passionate about, we get the tools to be passionate about it with, and all we’ve got to do is be passionate. It doesn’t translate over well to the secular world, which is a shame, because it’s a nice idea, but I would like to think that you understand what I’m on about. Some things are important to certain people, other things are important to others. So what I want you, my loyal followers, to do is to find your revolution. Then decide, is this revolution right? Is it a revolution that will succeed? Is there enough of a volume to make it happen? And will the results be worth the fight? And if so, loyal followers (I feel like I’m leading a cult now. Johz for next North Korean leader!) then take up that fight. Let 2012 be the year that the world changes.
Happy New Year!