“A Creative Minority is a Christian community in a web of stubbornly loyal relationships, knotted together in a living network of persons who are committed to practicing the way of Jesus together for the renewal of the world (p.12)
We need a vision that is not based on a fear of a godless future, or a longing for an idealized past, but a rich presence in our own time that inspires the beauty and possibility of Christ’s church (p.12)
Christians, Power and Destructive Minorites: because Christians have been pushed out of the public square in the advance of secular values in US, fear can lead to a reactionary and even violent backlash. We must not react in fear, or instead of being seen as bearers of good news we will be seen as ideological warriors. We must be careful that our rhetoric doesn’t create a kind of Christian ISIS trying to force a Christian theocracy upon society.
An Alternative Response to Our Cultural Moment: Jews in the time of Jesus felt pushed out by the Romans and there were different fear-based responses from the Sadducees (accommodation), Pharisees (religious separation), Essenes (mystical withdrawal) and Zealots (violent reaction). Jesus would not follow any of these reactions and frustrated them all. His response was that of what has been called a creative minority. That is, a committed group of people who neither try to control or abandon the world but engage in it as ‘redemptive participation’. The church has had a great impact on culture in many challenging times before and we can do so again it if we follow this example of Jesus. We do not need to lament being a minority and we need to learn humbly from other minority groups, acknowledging the wrong attitudes that have accompanied being part of the dominant culture previously.
The cultural experience in the UK is not quite the same as in the US (the cultural wars are not as intense, though the advance of secularism is probably greater) but the principles of the creative minority still apply. As a minority in a secular world, we can learn not to try to control the world or to abandon the world, but engage with the world as a creative minority, a committed group following the way of Jesus and influencing the world.
The transcript of the lecture by Jonathan Sacks which the authors refer to can be found here (it’s long but very good). Be aware he writes as a Jew, not a Christian; he values the Judeo-Christian heritage and his words are very wise and insightful.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How have you felt and how do you sometimes react when you feel that you live in a world that does not hold to Christian values?
- How are reactions which come out of fear sometimes manifested among Christians?
- How do you see Jesus responding to a world which did not accept him and his teachings?
- What would it look like for us to be a creative minority, engaging with our world in everyday life?
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below
Next week we will be introduced to the six defining marks of a creative minority, and look at the first one: covenant.