Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Soul Survivor

January is the month for 'guest' speakers at church, it seems. Paid staff off, and the on paid staff have run out of talking points, it would seem.

Still, a change is as good as a holiday, and it is not a bad idea to bring different views to the lecturn.

Sunday's effort was Matt Gelding, the NSW Soul Survivor director. He gave what I'd call an 'affect'-based talk. I was braced for this when I saw Matt praying with his hands at his waist level palms open facing upwards as though ready to carry a bag of concrete, mate.

As one of the young people there said to me 'it didn't have much in it'. I was expecting the person to be carried away by the emotional affect of the talk, but was so pleased that was not so; clearly my conversational partner had mind engaged but unsatisfied!

The first point for young Christians is knowledge, learning, not ethereal affect. Sure, part of our response to the indwelling Spirit is emotional, but we confuse 'heart' these days with the 'Hollywood' heart: insubstantial, solipsistic and uncommitted emotion: a feel-good, not a know-good. Admittedly Soul Survivor seeks to do the 'do good' part, but a quick look at its website tells me that the 'know-good' is probably not there, dealing more with affect than knowledge, or 'heart' as the whole person; which is more its usage in ancient times.

Then the name: Soul Survivor. It seems negative, off-putting, even, despite the obvious play on words. Just a 'survivor', and not a thriver? You need help, do you? Inadequate eh? Only one of you? It reminds me of the euphemistic names of social work organisations in mental health. Not a good connection. I don't like the name Salvation Army either, as an example from another direction. Its connotation is wrong as well.

I would think a positive, confident, assertive name would be better (that is, if it is an organisation that promotes a positive, confident, assertive, informed, self-aware, and world-aware, high content faith). Maybe something like Soul Squad? Not brilliant, but you get the point. Actually, any name that detracts from the full humanity that God created: body and soul, mind and emotion, is that little bit of betrayal of God's creation of us in his image.

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