Jo branding the church - helps or hinders?

“I'm not really a churchy person although I do think Jesus was a good bloke." says Jo Brand. 
Okay - that's a start, I suppose. 

It all reminds her of her childhood in a small Kent village. Billy Graham recovered latent and dormant faith for people in the 1970s. We could be onto something here. 

She describes how there are many people who are not regular churchgoers but who get along to a traditional Christmas service. So this is certainly a time for seed-planting and subtle ish evangelism.

...so the church of England website is using Jo Brand to promote its new Find a Christmas Service site

Emm - to what extent do we use the kudos of celebrity to promote the church? 

Perhaps we do. We are to speak creatively into contemporary life and engage with it rather than ignore it. 

I wonder if her backing helps the cause.

I am interested in how at times we borrow from the world for the sake of the Kingdom, so that as our churches begin to strive for excellence and quality and even a little glamour, we might do so to point people to the only excellence that will ever really be found - along the difficult road to discipleship and amongst the struggles and sharings of humanity, with eyes fixed on an otherness and a sense of completeness that can only be found in God.

Pete Ward in Gods Behaving Badly: Media, religion and celebrity culture, describes how we judge and we adore and I wonder if when we exalt and glory in celeb life, our fascination reveals that we are searching out the grandest, gospel meta-narrative, one that we have lost and need to recover. 

As I read Ward I spin off with my own thoughts. We are choosing insecure gods and creating gods out of ourselves rather than locating ourselves in a grander and much more excellent narrative. Ward looks at our obsession with Michael Jackson in chapter one and the hysterical reactions to the death of Diana.

I once articulated an idea for what happened at the cross using Jade Goody and how in some ways she served to tell us about something else entirely. You will remember this young woman counted as nothing and reviled due to her behaviour on Big Brother. She suffered a horrible death through cervical cancer at 27 years old and invited the world to watch her decline. Through it being photographed, she would be able to provide financially for her children. She also attained a kind of glory in her dying, giving life to others as many young women were drawn to her and inspired by her openness to go for tests for cervical cancer so they might secure life and be released from potential death. 

God rebuked us all I think for our judgmentalism; our voyerism but then transformed all that sin by revealing it in Jade and bringing it to a new life as we watched her exaltation through the courageous and life-giving way she dealt with her own imminent death.

...so perhaps celeb life can point to and away from the gospel and perhaps at times quite literally as Jo Brand describes how she will do church this Christmas.

What do you think?


Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

I think you have it the wrong way around. The potential exists for everyone in certain circumstances to turn tragedy and being maligned into good. There are people presently using their experiences at the hands of the press to make good for others. It is this that the Christian myth taps into in its central story, rather than as if all derives from the Christian myth. The truth of the myth is in this ability, not as some sort of handed down revelation.

Suem said...

Is she preaching the sermon?

Rach said...


I am beginning to get used to this approach - my liberal Catholic friends work from the same end. The Christian 'myth' explains human behaviour. For me revelation of Jesus Christ teaches me about humanity. We are just approaching things from opposite ends - Karl Barth's approach for me - religious anthropology and philosophy for others.

Sue - would like to see that.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

What about a Roma Catholic view that Karl Barth's theology does not allow the world to be affirmed and redeeemed? In other words, Karl Barth has overplayed his hand.

Rach said...

Temper Karl Barth with one part D'Costa and take three times a day - and we are getting somewhere.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

And there was me thinking D'Costa was a brand of coffee into which the Karl Barth tablets had been dissolved.


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