On the Not Ashamed Campaign

I am so ashamed, so very very ashamed of the not ashamed campaign song.

Since The Office, cringe factor comedy has been a big part of the laughter making subculture. Now with Sarah Palins Alaska documentary and with Christian Concern’s latest campaign theme song (see below for video) which they are trying to promote to Christmas number 1 in the UK, comedians are out of a job because the people they might want to lampoon are producing “cringe comedy” themselves.

But there is more that needs saying about the Not Ashamed Campaign.

My parents work in eastern and central Europe. It involves meeting interesting people, thinking people who have had experienced Christianity and often have been disillusioned by aspects of it. These people sometimes doubt their faith, have serious questions around doctrine or simply want to learn how the Gospel can impact society, whether in politics, art, in film or any other sphere of life. Given that faith was a very private thing under communism, there is lots to explore about how Christianity relates to society and what opportunity exists for Christians to impact their society with the good news of redemption.

Sometimes the people who my parents meet don’t have a theological problem but rather its a problem with Christian subculture, and church life. One such man, whose name I do not know, and whose story is infinitely more complex than what I have heard or what I can write about in a blog post, serves to remind me of the feeling I had when I first heard the song that Christian Concern are promoting as part of their Not Ashamed campaign. I am utterly ashamed of being in any way associated with it.

This young man my Dad worked with, after some weeks of debate and apologetic work, finally became a believer. But he also said: “Marsh, I don’t want to be known as a Christian” (pregnant pause for effect and to illustrate the point) “I want to be a man of God.” Now apart from the fact that the comment has connotations to being a good person embodying the values that God stands for, the reason he didn’t want to be known as a Christian was because he was ashamed at the subculture associated with Christianity and a lot of the “baggage” that comes with being associated with people and practices that are what makes up our “global” Christian subculture.

I also don’t want to be associated with the Not Ashamed Campaign, not because of what it stands for (I am not ashamed of being a Christian ‘rightly defined’), but I don’t want to be associated with some of the baggage that comes with the “program” of Not Ashamed.

Have a quick listen to the song. If you like it don’t bring this blog post up in conversation with me.

One comment on The Church Mouse blog got it exactly right:

The problem lies, not in being ashamed of the Gospel but in the shame of trite and musically unimaginative ‘christian’ music. Now a campaign to get ‘Mumford & Sons to No1 I could back …
“Love that will not dismay, betray or enslave you, it will set you free, be more like the man you were made to be” “there is a design, an alignment a cry of my heart to see the beauty of love as it was made to be”… (from Parish Giving)

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10 Responses to On the Not Ashamed Campaign

  1. Pingback: I am so ashamed, so very very ashamed of the not ashamed campaign song. | eChurch Christian Blog

  2. Phil C says:

    Thanks for this. I felt pretty much the same way about the campaign, even before this song.

    Do you still feel “so very, very ashamed” now that you’ve made so clear that you’re not supporting the campaign?

    (To be fair to them, it’s not that this is some officially commissioned campaign song – by the look of it, some guy did a video, and they thought it would be nice to encourage him and get it into the charts (not number one, btw). So I might cut them a bit of slack!)

    • Lauri Moyle says:

      That’s an interesting question about still feeling ashamed. Psychologically on the one hand it feels good to get something off your chest. But am I still ashamed? Yes overall for two reasons. More people will hear that song and equate it with my faith than will read my blogpost and two my identity is a part of the body of Christ, which means that I have a corporate identity which is shared with those that promote a Christian subculture that goes beyond this song (hence the Palin comment) and which is simply worthy of shame.

      No slack cutting. Who ever designed this campaign should know better. It would not surprise me if somebody really savvy at PR was running the campaign and the Minichello dumped this piece of %$*& on the campaign. Either way, its being used by the campaign, whether or not its written by them or was an after thought…

      To be fair, this has made national news. You dump, you have to scoop it up. Its harsh but I think its true.

  3. Lord Karth of Milhous says:

    Religion is truly pointless; you’ll find something to be ashamed of for everyone in religion.
    “The Gospel” has been discussed for hundreds of years and there are as many definitions of it as there are denominations. The Fundies have one version; the shrinking Mainline Protestants have “Jesus-as-Che Guevara”. Too stupid to be believed.

  4. Lauri
    Am I therefore to assume that you’re so ashamed of the ‘I’m Not Ashamed’ agenda that you’ll be launching an ‘I’m ashamed of I’m not ashamed’ just to undermine what they’re trying to do? It’s important to be clear where you stand!
    On the song it’s worth saying that it’s slightly less bad on second hearing but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s growing on me.
    Have you read the Lord Carey pamphlet? ‘ve read it through at a pace and thought it was really good.

    • Lauri Moyle says:

      I am not sure I follow the logic in your first line. It does not follow that I should start a campaign. If you did not see what I stand for from this post that I must have failed in communicating that. Please note, I don’t define this blog as a campaign tool.

      I am quite clear on where I stand. Is it not clear to you where I stand?

      I have not read pamphlet yet. Though I will now that you mention it. The above post is not really about the campaign, its about the song. I mention that I personally don’t want to be associated with the campaign because I don’t want to be associated with the work of CC and some of what they stand for. I did not elucidate on this for reasons I have told you previously in private conversations.

      I think the discussion about “mode” and “content/reason” and “direction” of and for the campaign are important to distinguish. Its something that we fudge far too often (though they are very similar and can contain elements of each other.)

      • Lauri Moyle says:

        I have now read the pamphlet. Most of it is good, some of it is rather romantic, but by and large that’s ok. I like the patriotic outlook. I think there is an important distinction to make however between being Ashamed of the Gospel and being Ashamed of being a Christian and I am not sure that the two are the same. Theologically I would like to hear from you how the two things might be different Perks, and I look forward to that if you have time.

  5. Lauri Moyle says:

    An article that is worth reading on the difference between the mode of CC and what I am concerned about with regard to what I think most of us agree are concerned about in relation to the law in the UK is here:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100066322/lord-carey-says-christianity-is-being-airbrushed-i-would-say-freedom-is/

    Freedom and Liberty vs wanting to have some Christians define what Christian values should be applied at the state level, which is incidentally what Not Ashamed is about. I would ask whose values and how do you decide which ones need to be implement and how they should be implemented? Its not that simple.

  6. Pingback: Not Ashamed: Evaluating the Campaign | Fiction and the Reading Public

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