Connecting with Culture
Our blog reflecting on weekly news, trends, innovation, and the arts...
Hugs were allowed, we had a proper Christmas, and restriction-free gigs, sporting events, and weddings resumed.
But whilst it wasn’t Covid-19 dominating our news channels this year, there were plenty of other history-worthy events that left us feeling more than a little bewildered. From our nation’s identity crisis when the Queen passed to getting through three PMs, from eye-watering energy prices to strikes galore. It’s been quite the ride.
According to the YouVersion Bible App, the most popular verse among global users in 2022 was Isaiah 41:10: ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’
If this is the verse we’ve been sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting the most, it seems we’re still acutely aware of our need for God’s strength to equip us on our frontlines, wherever they may be. However you’re feeling as the year draws to a close, we can take courage that God is present in our lives and the world around us.
With every twist and turn, LICC’s Connecting with Culture has tackled the topics we’ve all had on our minds, each time offering a biblical perspective on how we can live as Christians in our increasingly challenging world, and helping us engage with what’s on our screens, pages, and playlists.
So, as we look back on another trip around the sun, here are five articles that sum up where we’ve been – and will, we pray, inspire and spur you on as you seek to live out your faith on your frontline in 2023.
Frontline Ministry in War-Torn Ukraine
At 5am on 24 February the world watched with heavy hearts as Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine. Overnight, innocent Ukrainian civilians adopted frontlines that were quite literally a matter of life and death.
In his poignant article, Joshua T. Searle of Dnipro Hope Mission shared testimonies of ordinary Ukrainian Christians doing extraordinary things to support their local, war-torn communities.
Challenging us to consider what we can do on our own frontlines, he wrote: ‘Although we might not find ourselves literally on the frontline in Ukraine, all of us are still called to join in God’s mission to transform the world into the image of his kingdom.’
Love Island is a Bit of Me
Love Island: a bit like marmite, isn’t it? Maybe you were one of the 1.5 million people glued to your screen at 9pm each night, or maybe you stayed well clear of it. But whether we like it or not, the British dating show has its part to play in society’s attitude towards love and relationships.
Self-confessed Love Island superfan Annie Adams explored how its contestants embark ‘on a journey from comparison to commitment’, mirroring glimpses of God’s faithful and forgiving heart towards us as they learn to extend and receive grace and forgiveness to each other. How can we do the same amongst those we encounter on our frontlines?
Obituary: Queen Elizabeth II, Beacon of Grace
Just a few months after we’d packed away the bunting and polished off the last of the trifle in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee, the much-loved Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September aged 96, ending her remarkable
In his obituary (our most-read article of the year) Mark Greene paid tribute to her devotion to God on her very public frontline. He wrote: ‘The Queen was “gracious” and “noble” and “victorious” in the things that really matter – hope and faith in Christ, love of God and of the people she’s been empowered to serve.’ May we follow her example as we interact with the people God has placed us alongside, right where we are.
Why We Urgently Need to Rediscover Hospitality
What comes to mind when I say ‘hospitality’? Hours of cooking? An immaculate house? Dusting off your best crockery? As A Rocha’s Jo Swinney put it, we already have some cultural baggage around hospitality that can leave us feeling like we’d better opt out.
But in her words, ‘hospitality is a profound and practical demonstration of how things work in the kingdom of God.’
As well as combatting loneliness, hospitality is becoming crucial for many amidst the cost-of-living crisis. With a third of UK households facing fuel poverty this winter, how can our hospitality help meet basic needs for food, warmth, and community of those on our frontlines? Perhaps it’s sharing your oven with neighbours, inviting a student to work at your house if you’ve got the heating on, or offering to do laundry for a young family you know are struggling to make ends meet.
Things Fall Apart
Where do we start when it came to politics in 2022? We witnessed not one but two prime ministerial resignations, with Liz Truss making history as the shortest-serving PM ever. The endless U-turns on budgets and policies had us all feeling dizzy – and that’s not to mention that we’re onto our fourth chancellor of the year. Sigh.
In October, our CEO Paul Woolley reflected on the political turbulence of the last 12 months, helping us shape our own response. He encouraged us to consider how we can engage in redemptive action on our frontlines, whilst praying for God’s perfect kingdom to come, here on earth as it is in heaven.
‘We should not be fearful… Ultimately, our significance and security are located in the God who has created us and revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ.’
As we head into 2023, may we carry this hope with confidence to those on our frontlines.
Happy new year!
Supporter Communications Manager