The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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2018: A Year of Connecting with Culture

For the past 51 weeks, we’ve been dropping by your inbox every Friday seeking to deliver short, insightful cultural reflections.

We’ve tried, through ‘double listening’ – to the Word and to the world – to draw attention to and reflect on what we as Christians can affirm, the situations or artefacts we need to constructively criticise, and the items that merit attention because they’ve caught the public’s eye… all in just 400 words.

Some weeks have been harder than others, but as I look back over this year’s Connecting with Culture pieces, I am pleased to see the breadth and depth of the topics we’ve engaged with, and the comments that some of the pieces have provoked. Here’s a roundup of our top five pieces of 2018…

We kicked off the year with Mark Greene’s encouraging reflection on Star Wars’ latest offering, as he considered how the series has constantly recognised the transcendent; one of the few blockbuster franchises to do so.

Then, in our most read piece of the year, Jo Swinney considered the ‘problem’ of unprecedented numbers of millennials shunning sex, and what it might say about this generation’s values, concerns, and inhibitions.

The day after England exited the world cup, Neil Hudson continued to celebrate BBC Coach of the Year Gareth Southgate’s remarkable ability to create a team and draw the best out of people with ‘Leadership Lessons in a Waistcoat’.

The amount of secondary media generated by ITV2’s Love Island meant that it was an obvious topic for a Friday email – and instead of offering the critique you might expect, we tried to say something a little different. You can read my reflections on it here.

And finally, in October, Professor John Wyatt wrote us an impassioned and pastoral plea for a return to a way of dying that avoids over-medicalisation. He argued – in line with his latest book, Dying Well – that today’s western culture has a problem with the way we deal with death. This piece includes a link to download his talk from our event in October.

2018 has included much to mourn and much to pray for, but also much to celebrate, much to thank God for, and much to learn from. We hope and pray that this year’s Connecting with Culture pieces have helped you do just that… and 2019’s will seek to do the same.

Nell Goddard
Writer, LICC

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Nell Goddard


  1. Thanks Nell and all at LICC I have really appreciated each reflection as I work and undertake ministry training part time.

    By Graham Christopher  -  4 Jan 2019
  2. We have really enjoyed the Friday comments. Thank you. We hope they will continue.

    By Jan and Ruth  -  4 Jan 2019
  3. I really enjoy these insightful reflections on the culture. Though my culture and context is completely different from yours, the basic premise of human is same and our yearnings, our ills and our highs are similar. I am form Kingdom of Bhutan. I look forward to this year’s weekly insights as well.

    By Jit Tshering  -  4 Jan 2019
  4. Thanks for all the inspiring, helpful and challenging messages. God bless and continue to inspire you.

    By Margaret Buergi-Guthrie  -  4 Jan 2019
  5. Thank you, Nell – as always your pieces are very helpful. Please send me the link to Prof Wyatt’s ‘Dying Well’

    With warm wishes for all of 2019


    By Ralph O. Cobham  -  4 Jan 2019
    • Hi Ralph,

      Thanks for your comment. You can find the ‘Dying Well’ piece & recording here.

      All the best

      By Nell Goddard  -  4 Jan 2019
  6. Having worked in 9 African countries 1952-1994 with MAF and ASM, the weekly insights about cultural shifts have been very helpful.
    Alastair Macdonald, and for Margaret who was called home last November after 65 years married together.

    By A.J. Macdonald  -  4 Jan 2019
  7. I remember reading those articles and them making an impression. Thank you for all the articles from LICC. I forward them on to friends.

    By Philip Hamilton  -  4 Jan 2019
  8. Hi Nell

    Aren’t there a few issues relevant to Christianity bubbling away in our culture at the moment that ‘Connecting with Culture’ is overlooking to connect with? I’m thinking of things like the constant promotion of unbiblical forms of sexual relationship, transgenderism, declining religious freedom and freedom of speech, undermining of marriage and family stability, and so on.

    Am I right in thinking LICC was founded by John Stott to address precisely these kinds of contemporary issues that impinge upon biblical truth? Perhaps in 2019 Connecting with Culture will be able to broach some more of these important subjects and not confine itself to what might be thought ‘safer’ ones.

    By Will Jones  -  4 Jan 2019
  9. I have found Connecting with Culture informative, challenging and refreshing. Thank you. You take me out of my ‘silo’. Your desire to put Christ first in our thinking and to recognise the value of all humanity is the way to go.

    By Paul Perini  -  4 Jan 2019
  10. I am a Korean reader. Though it is hard to read the articles as a different language(and culture) user…..after struggling with a dictuionary:)….. I always say “worth it!!!!”

    By Yejin  -  5 Jan 2019
  11. A big THANK YOU from a Dutch reader!

    By Bart  -  7 Jan 2019

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