Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Jason Clark on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. I thought you should know about this new Doctor of Ministry program Jason is leading at George Fox Seminary. Take a moment to read about it. Jason’s local newspaper in London is The Times. Here is Jason Clark on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

Bad news has flowed almost daily for the last few months. An unremitting parade of graphs, numbers, interviews, headlines, all showing the inexorable slide into recession and economic crises. Radio chat shows, news programs, breakfast TV, reality TV, even non new programs, all having to make reference to the credit crunch. It’s bad and it’s going to get worse, with the numbers attached to the bad news being so large, we have ceased to be able to comprehend them.

So many of the headlines seem to speak of the greed that led to credit crunch and the fear that has ensued after the consumer binge, passing into general conversation. It’s the ’greedy’ who have caused the fears the rest of us face.

And living on the edge of London, which lies at the epicenter of this financial earthquake, it’s hard not to be caught up in the fear and panic, on the lips of everyone, everywhere. How bad will it be, when will it end, will I get through this?

How do we navigate times like this, buoyed along by media saturated resources titled ’How to survive a recession’? In a world where the market is taken for granted as the reality of everyday life, maybe we take to heart, practice and find comfort from Warren Buffet’s axiom ’…be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful’.

But is our world a closed system of limited resources that we have to fight over, in competition with each other, where only the fittest will survive? Are life, time, and relationships all a commodities to trade, or hedge against the ups and downs of the market? Is there more to human life than this cycle of fear and greed?

Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus, was and is news to our city. Christians call this story, The Gospel, which literally means ’Good News’. Does the Good News of Jesus look different to our ’bad news’?

The heart of the Easter Good News story, is that there is a God, who is beyond the limits of the markets, and our finite resources, who interrupts and enters into our world. He enters our world in person, as Jesus, to deal with this very cycle of fear and greed.

His death and resurrection, reveal a different economy, where the response to fear isn’t greed, and greed the response to fear. But Jesus reveals that the giving ourselves to God and one another, opens the doors to a new economy and way of life with limitless resources.

Maybe that’s some Good News we could explore together this Easter season.

Jason just turned 40, celebrated his mid life crises with buying a motorbike. Married with three teenage kids, he is a church planter on the SW edge of London at Vineyard Church Sutton, having previously spent 8 years in the City of London as an investment adviser. He holds a doctor of ministry degree in theology and leadership, and is currently in the middle of a theology PhD at Kings College London, researching the impact of Consumerism and Secularism on Church and Christian identity formation. He travels internationally to speak, lecture, and teach in areas of Church and Culture, and this year sees two chapters of his writing published in a book by Baker Academic. An avid blogger, you can find him at Jason Clark, Deep Church and Reflective Practice.


6 Responses to Jason Clark on The Good News

  1. Dustin James says:

    Jason, I really like how you worded “the new economy”. In God’s kingdom the new bottom line would be love and not $. Thanks for your post.

  2. Josh says:

    Jason, I liked your emphasis on ‘unlimited resources’ and ‘interruption’ as expressed in Jesus’ life and resurrection. Truly, a new way of contending with the fear of scarcity.

  3. JR Woodward says:

    Jason,

    I appreciate how you go right to the heart of many people’s concern, and remind us in the midst of the bad news that there is good news. That not only is there a God who is beyond our “finite resources” but this God has shown us his generosity in many ways and in particular through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The church in Acts seemed to understand and live in this new economy where no one among them had need and people who had much were able to help those who didn’t have enough. This kind of economics is challenging to me. What is your sense on how we live this out in today’s world? What resources have you found to be most helpful?

  4. Jason Clark says:

    Dustin: thank you :-)

  5. Jason Clark says:

    Josh: Scarcity is at the heart of the human condition, in our break from relationship with God and each other. We then so often organise life around that reality, the social contract of the modern world, when Jesus brings a new economy, of the Kingdom into experience…at least in part.

    Glad it was helpful.

  6. Jason Clark says:

    JR: hi mate. In one sense the resources of the world are limited, and creation is running down, and in need of re-creation with the return of Jesus. That doesn’t happen after we die, but we get to participate with the inbreaking of that economy now.

    The ordering of our daily lives around that reality instead of the consumer market reality is one place we might start. Do we believe life is about buying a house, living somewhere cool, achieving certain experiences, and then expect church, and faith to support that mission, and economy?

    Or do we invest, our lives, time, energy and money in the new economy. We see the early church do just that, in the new economy of the Kingdom. In practice calling communities to practice rules of faith, such as stability, availability, instead of giving what we have left of ourselves, and abandoning all relational and local commitments for the opportunities of jobs and experiences, might be a start.

    How we live not as a sect, and not co-opted by the state/market, as pilgrims in this world, is something we need to get back to, I think.

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