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
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"?