The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Never miss a thing!

The blog posts you’ve loved most. The topics we’ve had on repeat. And lots more. 

It’s time to revisit the headline themes of 2023. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look back on what 12 months of Connecting with Culture have taught us about the world we’re in and the people we’re with – by examining music, films, news events, and more.

First up, that opening sentence was unashamedly inspired by Spotify. And so, it seems fitting to begin by focusing on the chart-topping and Tik-Tok-trending releases from Lewis Capaldi, the Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones, and the Oh Hellos.

What have we learned from the lyrics of these tracks? Well, fundamentally, we’ve seen that our culture exalts individualism yet laments the isolation that comes from lost or missing friendships. What’s more, it rejects faith but turns to the Bible when it wants words that’ll convey real power and meaning. When we strip back the layers, we find a society crying out for identity, purpose, connection, community, and truth. And that’s no surprise, because, as human beings, we’re created in the image of our relational, truth-speaking God.

Next, in the words of an insightful BBC news report, ‘few social figures have reached the heights of Barbie and Taylor Swift in 2023.’ And no surprises here; we covered both.

Sam Brown challenged us to question whether our devotion to Jesus was as all-in as the T-Swizzle fanbase. Because, just as the Swifties’ love of Taylor goes beyond the gig, so too must our love of Christ go beyond Sunday services, into every sphere of our lives. Then Tim Yearsley unpacked how the two major film releases of the year, Barbie and Oppenheimer, challenge us to wrestle with unsettling questions about our human nature whilst practising the self-sacrifice that marks us out as disciples of Jesus.

As well as these landmark cultural moments, we addressed the big, the bad, and the ugly – everything from the strikes (oh, so many strikes!) to the Israel-Gaza conflict and policy surrounding asylum seekers. We were continually reminded to embody God’s just and compassionate nature by identifying and meeting the needs of those around us through advocacy, hospitality, and radical love.

AI also hit the news time and time again in 2023. So, Josh Hinton used a chatbot to help him write this blog post. Workplace laziness aside, as the line between reality and fiction is becoming increasingly indistinguishable and AI starts to talk like a human, how do we establish the authentic relationships God’s created us for?

Finally, in keeping with the zeitgeist of 2023, our lovely Instagram followers  told us they wanted to hear about dating and relationships. It seems we’re all looking not just for friendships, but love, too. Within a few weeks, we explored how to mould the culture of dating apps to be more kingdom-like, one swipe at a time.

It’s time to start drawing our thoughts together. So, in typical 2023 style, we asked a chatbot what linked Lewis Capaldi, Tinder, and AI. Its answer:

‘Lewis Capaldi is a popular singer-songwriter known for his emotional and soulful voice. While he has made a name for himself in the music industry, there is no direct connection between him and the topics of Tinder and AI.’

Well, we’d beg to differ. This year’s song lyrics, dating dramas, and technological developments have all revealed that we, and those around us, are craving companionship, aching for acceptance, and longing for peace to replace division. As we begin 2024, here’s to a year filled with new, deepened, and continued relationships that lead to individuals and communities flourishing – all for the glory of God and the good of those around us.

Sophie Sanders
Marketing & Communications Lead, LICC

Comments

  1. An excellent piece which sums up the spirit of the age. These themes fascinate me, reminding us what people are looking for and thereby what they might listen to, watch, read etc. An opportunity for Christian creatives to focus their efforts and bring flavours of the good news of Jesus into their work. Thank you.

    By Deborah Jenkins  -  5 Jan 2024

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