Random and disjointed ponderings on faith, life, culture and professional issues (occasionally).
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The spiritual supermarket
The picture on the right was taken last Friday night in Federation Square in the city. It's a piece of public artwork illuminated to look like the sun. I had no idea what it was until I saw a newspaper advertisement in a newspaper on the way home. I forget the name of it or the artist responsible, but it was erected to commemorate the Winter solstice. Since this was an important pagan festival before Christian times, which may possibly have even been commemorated by some of my ancient Celtic ancestors, it seemed to me that it was a remarkable coincidence that this should be on display on this particular weekend. Every Queen's Birthday long weekend thousands of people flock to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre for the Mind Body Spirit Festival. This is one of the largest spirituality, personal growth and alternative medicine events in the southern hemisphere. Such is its popularity that it is now held twice a year. I've reflected on the reasons for the popular appeal of these events elsewhere, and what I as a Christian make of all this. On the one hand this popularity shows that people are looking for spiritual answers to life's questions. They've found that science, consumerism, sport, and other things that people in the Western world fill their lives with cannot answer these questions. As far as Christianity is concerned, it seems that many people think that Christianity has nothing to offer them. It's not that it doesn't, but perhaps it's fair to say that the church has failed to adequately communicate Jesus to them. It's hard not to feel disheartened about this situation, and to feel almost helpless to change it. I'll leave the question of how to engage new age seekers with Christianity to the experts.