CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED by booksellers responding to Andy Twilley’s comments about plans to “de-Christianise” Living Oasis shop windows, reported yesterday by Victoria Gallagher in the Bookseller, Nationwide Christian Trust puts faith in former Wesley Owen stores:
Revd Andy Twilley, director of Christian Life & Ministry at the Nationwide Christian Trust, said: “The shop window will be a coffee shop, it will be a de-Christianised shop window and there won’t be Christian paraphernalia. We want it to be totally accessible to people, irrespective of faith.”
Responses left on the Bookseller report include questions about whether or not this approach is “selling out” on the idea of a Christian presence on the high street:
What is the point of moving the shops to the High Street if nobody can tell it’s a Christian bookshop!!! It does raise the question of whether this is profit coming before ministry! I will probably get lambasted for this – but why be embarrassed about our faith?
Can we not be Christian and open and receptive to all anyway without need or want to make them be like us or for us to be any less than we are? Places of warm hospitality and reception for all and any but that wear our colours plainly and in so doing show how different from others perceptions of us we really are?
That’s what I try with my shop – being Christian is nothing special, it doesnt make me any different to anyone else, all the same things everyone else likes are liked by Christians, done by Christians and by being normal joe it’s easier to come alongside others where they are and in turn reflect the glory of His presence for them to find and embrace at their choice and in His time I think, however it’s also not something I should feel the need to hide or gloss over either because if I do tht what sort of witness is that in the end, what reflection does that case? a question for each to ponder but I do think at the end of the Day they are probably just trying to do the best they can to keep themselves going and that’s a fair thing for them to do – after all if they can’t run at a pofit then they are unlikely to be there for long and the question then is which action is the worst?
The Living Oasis vision is:
To provide a Christian presence on our High Streets, connecting with Christians and non Christians, fulfilling a mission objective, and providing a resource for Churches as they seek to impact their local communities.
- Can such a vision be realised by “de-Christianising” the storefronts?
- As Christians, should we seek to be distinctive or to blend in?
- If mission is the objective, is it right to effectively lure people in with coffee without letting them know they’re entering a Christian mission zone?
- If you entered a “de-Islamicised” Muslim bookstore only to discover it was a ‘front’ for the local mosques, how would that make you feel?