May 2015

June 9, 2015

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

It can not have escaped anyone’s attention that there is a General Election on 7th May. For a Christian Minister this presents a dilemma. Do I talk about it or not? Whatever I say someone will criticise me as others would if I ignore it. It has long been said that politics and religion do not mix yet Jesus was very political. As a church and as individual Christians we have a responsibility to speak into the political debate. As a church we must be above party politics. Individual Christians may well support a range of political parties but as a church we must not support any of them. Instead we have a duty to compare the policies of all parties with the Christian Gospel and the will of God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. We have a duty to ensure that our political views and our theological views are in step with each other and with God.

In the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples we pray ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. We are, therefore, committed to building heaven on earth, a task which is clearly easier to say than to do. However if we mean what we pray we must do something about it as God chosen to work through His people, the church.

As Christians we believe that God created the world and entrusted it into our care to look after it on his behalf. Therefore as we look at party manifesto’s and rhetoric we need to see what is said about climate change, reduction of pollution, carbon emissions and food waste as well as support for renewable energy.

But it is not just the physical world that is our concern but every individual person on the planet because as Christians we believe that all human beings are created in the image of God and are our brothers and sisters. The Bible places great emphasis on helping the poor, the vulnerable, immigrants and those on the margins of society. Therefore we need to ask what the parties say about protecting the vulnerable, meeting basic needs and controlling payday loans. It is a telling judgement on our social care policies that 1,000,000 people in Britain use foodbanks and we must look for policies that will end this situation. We need to look for policies that will provide a properly funded, resourced and equipped health service and education system free from political interference. Affordable housing and a living wage are basic human rights and we need to look for policies that support this. We need to reduce the gap between the rich and poor and look for policies that support the Christian principle of the rich helping the poor. Of course to support all this will mean increasing tax so as Christians we are looking for parties that will honestly say this and use an equitable system that ensures that those who have most wealth pay most tax.

The Bible gives God’s people a responsibility for caring for foreigners and aliens living amongst them. Therefore as Christians we need to look for policies that are sensitive and fair to immigrants, that build bridges between communities and treat all people with dignity and respect as well as producing stability in other countries and providing overseas aid where it is needed most.

There is a lot more that could be said. Essentially all policies should be tested against the Word of God in Old and New Testament. Then we should vote for the party with the closest fit. Ian