Here are some things I am pondering at the moment. I don't have many answers yet.
- Is the evangelical identity of the kind of churches I identify with closely connected with being middle-class?
- Does being in a suburban, comparatively affluent area, in a church where a comparatively high percentage are well educated, tend in this direction?
- Does the fact that people with a teritary education tend to design the leadership development mechanisms for confessional, conservative evangelical churches make us tend in this direction (ie is middle-classness institutionally built in as a foundational assumption without which it is impossible to lead in such a church?)
- To what extent do middle-class values determine how a person in such a church perceives their relationship to Christ and their participation in God's purposes? Is it likely to make them more or less radical as a disciple? Is it likely to make them more or less missional? Is it likely to engender a greater or lesser desire for being God's community or God's team? Is it likely to prejudice in favour of the emergence of certain spiritual gifts and not of others?
- To what extent do middle-class values effect preaching / teaching / learning methodology? Or other areas of church practise? If people have come precisely because they appreciate the up-front monologue method, is it possible to change without losing the core constituency? What if the mechanism needs changing but can't be changed without disrupting not biblical values, but class-oriented ones?
- Basically I am asking to what extent confessional evangelical churches in the UK tend to appeal to a certain demography and thereafter become inextricably entwined with the cultural values of that demography to an unchallengable and unchangable degree
- And then the most dangerous question: to what extent is our doctrine - or the methodology with which we derive, handle, teach and apply doctrine - affected by middle-class values? And how would we know?
Anyone got any thoughts?