This week I started an Alpha course and it's the first time I have ever done alpha or anything like it. I've always been a little bit sceptical of them but I'm going in with an open mind. My first three initial reactions to the introduction session are
- Nicky Gumbell is a complete dag. That's not a bad thing as he does not try to be otherwise, in fact it makes him kind of pretty ordinary or normal which is probably quite a good thing seeing this alpha is appealing to such a mainstream audience.
- The first presentation was really similar to the "Burn Your Plastic Jesus" seminar a friend and I used to do in high schools. Our presentation has video, live music and discussion groups half way through but none the less I think both presentations looked at the question of wether Xy is irrelevant, boring and untrue. Nicky had his anecdotes and we had the video and music and compared quotes of Kurt Cobain & Marilyn Manson favourably with Jesus and quotes by Fred Nile favourably with the Pharisees. So kind of different but kind of similar.
- The whole gist of the presentation was very much like the "God Shaped Hole" talk that one of my youth group leaders used to do when I was young. The message was that like the famous toy (see below) he had a God shaped hole in his life and no matter how he tried to fill it with cars, work, sport or girl friends none of them would fit and he needed God to be complete. I realise this is how a lot of suburban people probably think so I might learn something about reaching out to people in my new suburb, but most of the non An people I've known are already aware of the God shaped hole in their life and are trying to fill it with other spiritual things. So, I hope these kind of people get addressed eventually.
Anyway, more reflections in the future I'm sure.