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Get the helmets and body armour out!! An intriguing thought...

An initial (traditional) response is that to be in the marketplace is one thing, but to provide a platform for the others is quite another...

An initial (emerging)response...intriguing...!!!

I agree Jem... I have the same internal debate raging... but... just maybe...

Forget who is "hosting" it for the moment and imagine it happening and the good Lord visiting, which stalls would he stop at, who would he talk to, where would he find love - just at the Christian stalls - I doubt it - if we really believe we are part of the mission of God then in the end we have to believe that he works through all things - then imagine what a self confident message it gives out about the Church - get the Bishop on board brother and go for it!

Tom has some real words of wisdom for you there Mark- suggest you pop over to Phil Johnsons site and read a few of his posts- we must remain distinctive and not be consumed by the culture... if you are going along the lines of the spirit of life festival then what is and what is not admissable- are you then at the cutting edge?-
do not sell out, nor should we simply become part of the spiritual froth- but if you sense this is a way ahead then carefully consider what the church is hosting!

For some it may be the case that organising a M.B.S. event is a step too far. It certainly isnt a straighforward issue - for which you will most certainly get criticised - and I guess the only question really is, by hosting it are you inadvertently saying that you support everything that appears there? My view is that the answer is no because I dont think that the 'usual' organisers will be in total agreement with everything that would normally appear either. I made this comment on another blog the other day in reference to a question that was asked..."Putting Jesus in the spirituality marketplace gives an opportunity we have almost prevented Him from having before. If Jesus is who He says He is then in competition with other 'gods' in an open marketplace, He will win out. Surely this doesn't degrade Jesus in anyway but actually gives Him the opportunity to 'prove' to each of us and all the other 'spirituality consumers' exactly who and what He is?" For me, if we are going to put Jesus in the 'marketplace' then why not have a say in how the 'marketplace' operates?

If you want a Biblical example of the tensions you feel over "to do or not to do", please reflect on the story of Daniel. Daniel is in exile and brought into the very centre of Babylonian power at Nebuchadnezzar's court. In Daniel's story we see the twin tensions in operation: "do not compromise" and "opportunity for witness".

In Daniel's story we see how he is inducted into Nebuchadnezzar's court. The problem was the mysterious dream that no-one could either recite let alone interpret. Daniel is brought in. Daniel indicates that nobody could reveal the mystery dream save God alone. Daniel then recites the dream and gives its interpretation.

Read carefully over chapter two. Notice that Nebuchadnezzar's advisors were (to put it cheekily and anachronistically) various exhibitors from the Babylonian Mind Body Spirit festival (Babylon was multi-cultural and multi-religious). So the astrologers and fortune tellers and Magi were there but unable to help. When Daniel speaks Nebuchadnezzar's response is confession that Daniel's God is a high and mighty one; and then rewards Daniel with authority over 2/3rds of the kingdom and he is made "chief of the Magi".

The Magi were Zoroastrian priests and astrologers. So Daniel is made their CEO. So there is the tremendous opportunity for influence and witness. And note that Matthew 2 indirectly points to Daniel's influence: Magi show up asking for the Christ-child.

However, note also in the remainder of Daniel's story how he engages in civil disobedience (Lion's den and fiery furnace event). So when the prohibition on prayer is given Daniel snubs his nose at that. Here he won't compromise.

It is an interesting thought Mark, and it is one that I have thought over. I have incorporated my thoughts about Daniel and today's fstivals in my training seminars on festival outreach. We look at Daniel and then I ask "suppose the owner of MBS approached you and said I want you to be CEO of MBS, would you take the job?"

A key point is in Daniel's story is that God ultimately takes the initiative by imparting to Nebuchadnezzar the strange visionary dream. In human dynamics though Nebuchadnezzar summons Daniel, and as an outcome Daniel is appointed CEO of the Babylonian MBS festival.

In your musing here the human dynamic seems to be different in that you wonder is it appropriate to take the initiative and convene a festival? There are tension points that have no easy answers. But I'd give serious attention to ruminating over Daniel before deciding one way or the other.

I think it would be good to get the official report of our Spirit of Life festival before going any further - so you can avoid making the same mistakes. I felt that overall the organisers were unsympathetic to those who didn't catch the vision, and didn't give enough time or effort to winning them over, or apologetics for the project. It is a great thing to do but only with a lot of unity and support.

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