Monday, February 11, 2008

Short and to the point

There was an invitation in my in-box over the weekend from the Cardiff grass-roots community education organisation called 'Women Connect First', which works with black and ethnic minority women. It's also been the recipient of CDF funding this past year, and I've met Soad Hamdi, its dynamic Egyptian director, on several occasions. The invitation, to speak at an inter-faith women's conference in City Hall next month, and give a 20 minute introduction to the Christian faith to people who are unlikely to know much about Christianity at all, given their diverse backgrounds. What a challenge!

When I worked with U.S.P.G. back in the eighties I recall someone in some conference or other posing the challenging question: 'Imagine you're in a life-threatening situation, on a sinking ship or a plane that has 5 minutes to flying time before it crashes. Somebody turns to you and asks what you faith has to offer you in this moment of terminal crisis. What do you say to them? How do you sum up the whole of the Gospel for them in the time you have left?' Well, that's an extreme scenario. It reminds us to ask ourselves, what are the essentials of the faith I profess? Does reciting, even briefly explaining a Creed do it justice?

BBC Radio Four's Today programme at the moment is asking listeners to contribute a six word autobiographical summary. It's the same kind of thought provoking challenge to be concise. My offering so far is "Miner's son, city Vicar, proud grandfather."

Twenty minutes to present Christianity afresh to a new audience is a luxury by comparison. I'm looking forward to it.

No comments: