If you listen to the media, you may think that Christians are a bit weird or radical. Some people in the media don’t even give Christian points of view or make them out to be strange or irrelevant for today. But that’s not true. Around the world, faith in God is growing and a very large number of these people are children and young people!
(Loads of studies have shown that being a Christian and going to church is good for your health, your emotional well-being, builds friendships and is good for mental health – see for example the study by Barna, ‘The Connected Generation‘ – link checked 22 January 2020).
But when we talk about ‘faith’, we often think this means people believe something without evidence. But that isn’t true at all. We all have faith in something! In fact, studies, archaeology and science shows there is a huge amount of evidence for God (for example think about the complexity of the design of our world and universe). It’s not about lack of evidence, but what you believe about the evidence.
But whether we believe all this God-stuff or not, what is it actually all about?
Here’s a 3:30min video that may help, with the aid of a jigsaw!
God created us unique, special and amazing
But we thought we knew better than God
And started re-arranging the pieces of our lives
We made a mess of humanity and creation
This caused suffering and pain
But God didn’t reject us – he offered to restore us
All we have to do is ask for God’s help
When we ask God, he starts to put us back together
God doesn’t want to control you
But to free you to be all he made you to be
God puts the pieces of our lives back together
It can take time – but it is worth the wait
To let God turn us the right way up!
It may feel slow, like nothing is changing
But then… suddenly…
Things begin to fit back into place
And what was broken gets put back together
God fills in the missing pieces as we work with him
God re-makes us
To be everything that he made us to be
Amazing, unique, special
Why bother to think about all this?
In 2019 the travel firm ‘Thomas Cook’ went out of business, costing many people their jobs and many other people couldn’t go on holiday or were stuck in other countries. (Another great company called ‘Hays Travel’ took over some of the old Thomas Cook premises and even employed some of the ex Thomas Cook workers, good news!)
Thomas Cook was the name of the person who started the business. He was a church-going man who believed in God. His faith meant that he had a passion to do tourism to help people escape from alcohol addiction. He started organising days out, starting on 5 July 1841, the date that the travel industry traces its origin to. By the time of Cook’s death in 1892, his company had changed the lives of thousands of people.
A historian called Dr Peter Shepherd says, “His motivation was primarily social and spiritual rather than commercial… his spiritual, moral and social ambitions created commercial problems for him from time to time, but perhaps in the long run, far from hindering his success, they actually contributed to it… Stronger moral and social ideals, alongside commercial acumen, of the kind Cook would recognise, would probably have led to a different outcome for the company (Thomas Cook) today.”
Faith makes a huge difference in the life of the person who believes and in the lives of others. Yes, there have been mistakes and bad things happen but that is true across all of society. Actually if we lived the kind of lives that Thomas Cook led, our world would be a much better place. Faith is definitely not just a weird idea but a very real and practical tool that helps people, families, business and the world. It’s been at the centre of the UK in our law, history, belief, science, trade, hospitals, helping the poor and bringing hope.
That is why we should be bothered about what Christians believe. It makes a massive difference to all of us. And in a world where we have many choices and seek to promote equality and diversity, the Christian faith deserves to be heard.