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July 2017

June 24, 2017

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

What a month it has been. How should we as Christians view and react to what has been going on? There have been the dreadful attacks in London and Manchester and the fire tragedy in London. The United Kingdom general election saw the biggest swing to Labour since 1944, Liberal Democrats increasing their seats by 50% and the decimation of UKIP yet we still have a Conservative government. During the campaign many politicians vilified their opponents and those who did not made a big impact. Parts of the media mercilessly hounded and trashed some politicians and Tim Farron felt compelled to resign because of his treatment by the press as a Christian leader of a liberal party. Some of the things said by Christians about both fellow Christians and members of other faiths are nothing short of sinful.

In Pauls first letter to the Thessalonians he says Therefore encourage one another and build each other up’ (I Thessalonians 5:11). Jesus told us to turn the other cheek but we too easily buy into the culture that seeks to appoint blame and is willing to ridicule those we disagree with. Something has to change. It is time to stand up and be counted. We must act and speak in accordance with our Christian faith. We need consistency in our lifestyle and in government policies.

So where does this take us? I am a great supporter of free speech but that free speech cannot be used as an excuse for vilifying others and producing newspaper headlines like those in some newspapers on election day. As Christians we believe in a caring society and we must call to account politicians who cut our social welfare to the most vulnerable members of society, who enforce budget controls that weaken the NHS and cause cuts to the Police and Fire services.

We cannot lay all the blame at the door of politicians and media. We have to take responsibility ourselves. We are only ones who can alter ourselves, yes others can influence us but ultimately we decide what we do, what we say, what we think. Showing our Christian care impacts everything we think, say and do. It affects the way we speak about people and how we interact with them, both those we agree with and those we disagree with. It affects how we use our resources, what we buy, what we save, what we give away and to whom we give it.

By taking a lead we can help to bring about that prayer we pray so regularly ‘Thy kingdom come’. God’s kingdom won’t just happen, mind you the second coming of Jesus will. In praying that prayer we are committing ourselves to working with Jesus to bring that kingdom into being now. In the past we talked about the social gospel as if it was something different to the gospel. That is fundamentally flowed theology. It is the gospel that drives us as Christians to seek social change and thus improve society. It matters what we say, think and do more than we can ever know, society is changed for better or for worse by us.

Ian

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