by Andrew Jewell
What can I say, Whovians everywhere have been shaken to the core with the recent announcement of the first female Dr. Who! Not since Starbuck was replaced with a girl on the latest incarnation of Battlestar Galactica has there been such a stir. Is this the end of the Sci-fi world as we know it? Is there no end to the travesty as our favorite mainstays are taken over, changed and bent to the will of this changeling millennium?
To many of this dedicated fan-base it might well be early signs of end times and the coming apocalypse. I ask myself ‘what does it all mean?’
Moreover, what does this mean for us in the Church if end times are so near?
Luckily there are always things we as Christians and the Church can learn from changes in the world at large so lets have a good look at 3 Amazing And Powerful Things About Church And The New ‘Dr’
It has been said that the famous last words of the Church may well be – ‘ We never did it that way before’. We are often frightened to change what we know lest we plunge headlong into the abyss.
I wonder if the BBC had thought the same thing in adversity to change would there indeed be anything to discuss about the Galifreyan icon. The reality is the Church is well placed to learn from the competitive media market. One thing that big business, and particularly the media understand is that change, shock and awe is a very effective marketing tactic.
When is the last time the Church did the same- excepting perhaps the radical ideal of the newly born hellinistic Church?
That is not to say that we throw the baby out with the bath water and totally undo how we do things, but there is room to advance. Do we use the Media to its full advantage in advancing the Kingdom of God? And if so are we sending the right messages in the right ways?
Radicalize the Love.
One thing that producers and directors do well is innovate. Likewise we can do the same with our spread of the Gospel. New Themes, new platforms but with the same message of hope, grace and love. Radicalize the Love.
One of the things I hear most from teenagers and even up to younger middle aged adults is that they feel the Church can offer them little. They have lost the message of a radical, life changing, life affirming faith. We need new incarnations of the old message that reaches us where we live. Dr Who is up to incarnation number 13, I wonder then if the Church is brave enough to reinvent itself also?
I would imagine that the release of such ground breaking news to the Whovian population as we witnessed recently was greeted by some with wailing and gnashing of teeth as it shook the Time- lord tradition to its knees. However, boldly venturing forth into the new, the new Dr was born. Heralded as a new beginning, much like the word of the coming Messiah spread through the ancient World over two thousand years ago.
And we are still talking about it today.
Often it seems in an effort to become ‘relevant’, the Church bends to the Spiritual dangers of societal pressure in an effort to be popular among men. However I would argue that the Church’s purpose is not to try and fit in, but rather rattle the cages wildly of the worldly and comfortable. In many ways the Church should be unpopular simply because it stands for everything the World is not. Rather than preaching the importance of being the best above the next person we preach humility. Rather than the glory of money and possessions we focus on the Spiritual riches to be found in Christ. And rather than glorifying the pride of revenge and ‘getting back’ at others we are called to model forgiveness.
Jesus never asked us to go forth and be popular. He simply asked us to go forth and make disciples. And that as many of us know often rattles cages. Why? Because we are contrary… A beautiful conundrum of how living in God’s will brings success in life. Because if we have that love that surpasses all understanding, and that flows through our very lives, we are rich indeed. Successful beyond measure and heirs to the Kingdom.
The new developments to our best loved Sci-Fi series rattles cages, is the Church, and indeed us as individuals brave enough to do the same?
Producers of successful TV and movie franchises understand that change is important to keep things fresh and interesting. Often that may be a gamble, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but they have to take chances. They understand that culture changes with subtlety but you need to stay ahead of it. To ride the wave headlong into where it can take you.
The Church is the same in many ways. In order to stay in the game we need to understand that things change with generations and what is happening in the world. We don’t live in a vacuum. Does that mean we abandon our Christian principles or doctrines? Certainly not. But it does mean that what worked for worshipers as a platform 50 or even 20 years ago may not work as well now. The world is different, more connected, more immediacy, more technology and our communication style has changed. Now we may speak with people all over the world with a few strokes of a key.
The Church could ask itself then what this might mean to how we worship, how we teach others about God and how we commune and come together. Embrace the current wave. Once we work out what that is new experiences new ways and new forms of coming close to God through Jesus Christ will present themselves.
God built Creation to be ever changing, evolving in his Grace so that we might learn and experience as much of Him as possible. Theology even by definition is an active learning about God. Why then do we struggle to embrace new applications for worship, evangelism and Church growth?
A new Dr Who teaches us of the importance of embracing new incarnations. That change is a good thing and that moreover it is important to rock the boat from time to time. The reason we can see 3 amazing and powerful things about church and the new Dr may just be that we still have things to learn about embracing change.
The question remains what to we want to do about it?