Thinking Space - Bramfords Blog
My daughter left home for Uni last summer. I remember when I left home some 30 years previously.
We were warned at school not to lend money and not to discuss politics or religion.
I've pondered the last bit of that sentence quite a lot over the past few years as I've come to grips with what churchy people like to call “their walk with God”. With the election in the UK just around the corner, I've got to thinking about it some more in the light of some of the stuff I've learned.
When I read the following quote by Jim Wallis; “Faith Is Always Personal But Never Private”, I had to take stock. It's so true. My faith affects everything I stand for. It should reflect everything of who I am or claim to be. So it must influence my politics. Now. Having said that I'm not really a political animal but I reckon that the idea that was ingrained into me as a lad that “you don't have a say or a right to complain if you don't vote” is still a very sound idea. We are always reminded of what a true human right it is to have a democratic vote.
I suppose I should be looking at the issues of the day that concern me, both in my work, my faith and where the two overlap – this perhaps I'll call my political conscience. I need to marry my personal and spiritual desires based on the world I live in and how that ties in with the Biblical teaching I've gathered. Certainly my personal views are on display on the Codia web site. I'm interested in community, I'm interested in social justice, I'm interested in the arts. I'm also interested of course whether I can afford to pay my mortgage, keep my daughter on at Uni and carry on supping champers at the weekend!
No doubt somewhere these issues are on all the party's agendas. Now. Although I stated that my faith must dictate my thoughts, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of reality. The church is very “powerful” but it doesn't have the power that government has. Codia's patron Tony Campolo said this:
"We need to get involved in politics. But here's the warning: we must speak to power, but when we think that the only way to bring about change is to hold power ourselves, we make a mistake. The Church does best when it stands up for its biblical principles with purity, and speaks to those who are in power. But understand that people with power have to compromise - politics is the art of compromise".
There is a difference between power and authority. Power is the ability to coerce, but when you speak with authority, people support your positions because they recognise the legitimacy of what you say.
Where does this leave me? On a campaign trail really. To push forward and campaign my local politicians and local governments to take notice of the things that are important to me. It means that I have to promote the causes of Codia and my communities and speak with authority to the government, whom ever the victor may be, on behalf of some of the people in those communities who's voices are not heard. Not with religious righteousness but with the authority that says “This is Right”.
As a follower of Jesus who believes that God is in charge, I must speak up on political issues, and more importantly serve the needs of the poor and the oppressed.
Campolo also said this: “The 'Gospel' is the good news that Jesus came to declare to the poor. And that was sight for the blind and freedom for the captives. Secondly, we mustn't forget that Jesus prayed "Your will be done, Your Kingdom come on the earth." Thirdly, I think that anyone who thinks that social justice is a fad is a heretic. If there are two thousand verses in the Bible that call us to meet the needs of the poor, to negate that reality is to deny the importance of the scriptures”.
So who am I going to vote for on May 6th? I still don't know. But maybe a better question to help me decide might be
“Which party best represents the issues with which you are
passionate”? Or even simply "what's the issue"?
One of the things that attracts me to the Emergent church movement is a concept by one of the leading advocates of Emerging church Brian McLaren. Evangelism (telling folk about what you're interested in), is just a conversation. This occurred to me this morning when I read a post on FaceAche, by one of my daughters friends:
“Treat others how u would want to be treated- where the **** does it get u?! drivin up n dwn country lanes, nearly floodin my engine several times, sittin in a pitch black boat yard, n loosin nearly 2 hours sleep b4 a 9 hour shift all because u care n it gets chucked back in your face. NEVER-THE-**** -AGAGAIN!!!”.
This post really struck home – quite sad, and a reminder that its tough doing the right thing. That the stuff you do, often goes unappreciated – or worse. What do I do? Do I write an essay about the great sacrifice, which my Faith teaches? Or do I start a conversation?
“Don't give up on love Mary (name
changed). Your compassion is what makes you special.
Sunday 4th April. Easter Sunday. By chance it's the official launch of the new Codia web site. By fate or perhaps provenance it seems timely and appropriate.
Easter Sunday – perhaps the most significant day in the Christian calendar. A day when Christian believers celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. That's a big deal by any ones reckoning.
Its a little under a year since I handed over leading a church in Preston ( I was a pretend pastor – I wasn't really that good at it, buts that's for a later Blog).
Anyhow, Spiritually I've basically been walking around for a while. Still certain of my Faith in Jesus, but unsure of how I wanted to express it. You see for years my mantra has been that “Christianity is not a spectator sport”.
So, I sit tight and slowly and surely the answers come to me. The organisation of which I am a director is in need of a rethink. We wanted to get back to our roots of Arts & Social Justice. I'm no genius but it seems a bit of a no brainer that if that's the focus of of Codia then surely we should develop that into a working model.
So here it is on an Easter Sunday. The resurrection of an idea. A vision, a dream, that's been re born to something so much more than was originally thought possible.
Check out this blog for the latest news, views and chunder from the Codia team. More will be coming soon... Pay us a visit again soon and we'll keep you posted.
Over and out.