Living differently

We live in an apparently divided and competitive world. Our leaders are vulnerable human beings within a prevailing culture which separates the winners from the losers, the strong from the weak.

We build our towers as high as we can. We build so that we can impress our neighbours not in order to serve them; upwards not outwards.

The world economy is one in which we compete to influence what people think, feel and believe. It is a tough and often brutal economy of ideas.

The important trading routes are no longer international shipping lanes but the optic fibres and satellites uploading and downloading ideas; each trying to corner the market.

God has given us a different reality. It is not a product that can be bought or sold, not a lifestyle choice or the next big idea. You can’t buy shares in the God’s reality. God’s reality is the world made as he/she intended. And it is here, if we look for it. Surprisingly nearby.

God’s world is one in which we are able to live together, share ideas and work towards communities without fear, free from poverty and injustice; where all people are valued for who they are and have a place at the table. It is not a divided world and doesn’t separate the winners from the losers.

This world is the real world because God came to make it real.

Jesus was and is a real person who engages with people at a personal and intimate level. He is the everyday messiah. He is divine and yet takes an interest in people as they go about their daily lives without favouritism. He brings hope to the worst of us. The early church with its examples of hospitality and community living has endured and is important to us now.

How can we choose God’s vision in the everydayness of our lives? What does it mean to model God’s reality in the way we live and work together? Is it enough to trade ideas and win arguments – or do we first need to quietly and modestly become the idea? Living differently.

The following are some initial ideas for thinking about how a small group or organisation can reflect on the way it might do things.  If the answers to these questions are in line with the vision we can then begin to form an action plan. That’s the theory anyway. I might edit this once I’ve pondered.


  • What does God want for us?

Then in what ways does our faith and God’s vision inform the way we build our community and carry out business?


  • How do we connect with and relate to each other?
  • What kind of conversations do we have with one another?
  • What new people and ideas can we bring to the conversations we have?
  • Who influences the way we do things?
  • How does each individual contribute?
  • What kind of spaces do we need to create?
  • How does God move among us?


  • Who will speak for us?
  • How will we know the right direction?
  • What do we want to be famous for?
  • Who can we trust?


  • What do we have to offer?
  • Who are we offering it to?
  • What do we expect from others?
  • Who are our partners?
  • Who are our supporters?

Published by Mark

Mark Waddington is a former BBC broadcaster and producer. He now works for the Diocese of Leeds as Urban Mission Officer. If you would like to get in touch email

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