Tag Archives: politics

Love Trump Encountering his Politics

For those of us who have not been following the US buildup to the Presidential election, we may be wondering, “Who is Donald Trump?”  We might wonder why he matters. He is a self-made billionaire who is self-funding his campaign.  A businessman who was to have built a golf course in Scotland, which has now been rejected because of some of the inflammatory things he has been saying – about Muslims, amongst other things.

Increasingly it does look as if the Republican Party might nominate Mr. Trump to be their Presidential candidate.  If this happens he will be running against the Democrat candidate, Hilary Clinton, seeking to become the next president of America!  This is particularly worrying as the Republicans currently have majorities in both the US Senate and House of Representatives, meaning that the Democrat party has a lot of work to do!

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Election 2015: Will the Church Please Stand Up.

The band played loudly, and victoriously, the preacher inspired us, built us up, ready to go out and serve the Lord where ever we might find ourselves. There was an air of optimism and hopefulness in the crowd of worshippers, that nothing was impossible for God.

Except I didn’t connect with the outpouring of the exuberant optimism, I didn’t share the smiles on their faces, or hands held aloft in worship. It wasn’t that I didn’t sense a of the move of the spirit, as everyone else was.

It’s just the spirit was telling me something else. That for me my journey would be a rougher road. Rather than a sense of optimism, I felt I was entering into a season of struggle, instead of feeling hopeful and full of faith, I wondered if my faith was strong enough to overcome.

I was struck by the assumption from the band that everybody would be feeling uplifted and exuberant, I longed to join in, instead fell silent. Seeking God in the midst of the cacophony of beautiful music, seeking God for the road ahead, for the unseen difficulty and struggle. I didn’t know what it meant, or if I had misunderstood what the Lord saying.

It seems to me and within this country there are those, who will be exuberantly rejoicing at the Conservatives being re-elected, and also those for whom such news is perhaps as bad as it gets. There is a need for sensitivity in recognising our neighbour may feel very differently to ourselves.

But also as I sat in that auditorium filled with worship of the living God, there is a need to be reminded, that this living God, understands the human condition, the nature of joy, as well as the long road of suffering. For Gods son, knows these things, experienced these things, and in him we try to trust, even if the road ahead, is smooth or rough.

As brothers and sisters in Christ we are part of the kingdom of God, the kingdom that does not sit idly by. The kingdom that liberates, brings hope, restoration, and resurrection. We are Gods children, and may we see through his eyes, the world around, full of possibility, and aching brokenness, of both a sense of hopefulness in a manifesto and dread at what it might mean for the most vulnerable in society.

We each are children of the living God regardless of our political persuasion, and members of the kingdom of God, that causes us to look out of our box, or worldview, and walk with our neighbour, the destitute, the super rich, the famous, the sinner, and the saint, not that we might be glorified, but that God who sees the beginning and end might be glorified.

Furthermore that people might come to know a different political structure, the structure of the kingdom of God, that outlasts, outlives, and saves completely in every way. And that the values of such a kingdom might underpin who we are, how we live out our personal preferences, desires, ambitions and response to the UK General Election.

How would Jesus Vote?

Something that has been taxing me recently is as a christian, which way should I vote in the up and coming British General Election? Or should I even bother? The parties do not seem to offer much alternative, as they jostle for the political centre ground. So in the midst of confusion and indifference to the status quo, I ponder therefore, how would Jesus vote?

On the one hand of course the historical Jesus couldn’t ever have picked up a pen and marked a cross on a ballot paper, he did something else with a cross instead! The political regime of the day was after all a dictatorship, like that in some way of China, Iran, Syria, and so on. So the right to vote wasn’t even a reality for him. Except the historical Jesus is also eternal, because Jesus is fully human and fully God. So which way would he vote?

In the British political context no political party would say they are christian or hold to such ideals exclusively. That of course could be a good thing! As I am not sure the church agrees universally on all the christian values, nor would have agreement on the implementation on so called values. For example loving your neighbour and God, the first one is easy, but how do you implement policies about loving God? For me at least that seems a minefield and the thing the cross of Christ rather than the cross of the ballot paper liberates us from, that top down, imposing of belief structures, Jesus never said you must believe instead offered saying follow me, in which there is an implicit choice, any how I digress.

Perhaps who would Jesus vote for could be answered with, the one who follows him most. This following of christ transcends political preference, redefines our lives. It’s the same question that the disciples asked, about what was the messiah going to do, and they didn’t see the full picture. That the messiah was about something much bigger, much bigger than human politics and agendas, but about calling people to see the bigger picture they are part of, that picture being the Kingdom of God.

So whichever party you look towards, view them through the lens of that other manifesto, the one of Jesus found in Matthews gospel chapter five The Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God…

Finally when you prayerfully tick that box, assuming you do, have your mind on our higher calling, that of the kingdom of God. Lets look for a  Jesus, who was political, he had a clear manifesto about change, valuing others, loving your neighbour, connected into the big vision of the Kingdom of God. After that ask yourself which party with help me serve the Kingdom of God best, and to be honest that is an individual decision and people will pick all of the parties on the merit that they see fit in answering that question. So God Bless and go in peace.

D-day: Fighting For Peace

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As a peace loving christian minister, it may seem strange to you and certainly uncomfortable for me to say, but perhaps at times, war might be a necessary weapon in a fight for true freedom and equality!

As one of the Call of Duty playing generation, I have never tasted the realities of war, the cold harshness of comrades cut down in their prime. The mental scarring of survivors guilt and horrors of post traumatic disorders.

In the game, you are immersed into the heat of battle, win medals and feel a victorious surge of adrenaline when you complete your mission. Yet when you can always respawn, (come back from the dead) and the people you shoot are computer generated, it’s hardly real or authentic as much as gaming companies try to make it.

Unlike when I was listening to the stories during the D-day commemorations, of brave men and women civilian and not who lived through a real battlefield, not lasting minuets but years with no chance to respawn; it truly reminded me of the reality of sacrifice.

I suspect that the pacifist in you and I would disagree with this next statement. Regardless I do wonder that sometimes this side of heavenly perfection, blood is the only currency that can win freedom. It is the currency paid in full by countless numbers of veterans across the history of humanity and a currency that through Jesus death and resurrection, will win our freedom from the consequences of our sinfulness before God.

I listened to the old soldiers of World War Two and see in them something truly heroic as they retell these events.  I see something in their eyes and hear it in their voices, perhaps it’s my imagination, but I glimpse an inner strength and resolve, that if called upon again even though in advanced years they would step into the breach once more for you and I, and for there families.

These are the men and women who journeyed into a hellish storm of lead for you and I. Who killed in the name of liberation, bringing peace ultimately. As well as exposing the lies and hidden horrors of a nazi regime. To them I am grateful they stepped up to a line and crossed it for a higher ideal for something bigger than themselves.

However what of the smaller conflicts, what of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, the western political stomach for war seems to have been tamed. The critique of politicians. and of our men and women in uniform comes from all quarters. It seems hard to find reason for a just war, perhaps that is as it should be?

However, sometimes it looks like opinion polls and political posturing somehow matter more, than lives, than freedom, than justice for the common man and woman, the ones who have no voice to and are being oppressed by legalistic barbaric customs, the Sudanese women sentenced to death, the school girls kidnaped from their place of education and the countless thousands slaughtered in Syria as the world watches on. Yet as I write this I am not sure what good a military solution would do in those cases.

I am not offering an answer just wrestling with the realities of our world. War has to be a last resort, and perhaps our national hesitation is good, wise and proper. However there needs to be a line when with heavy hearts we say enough is enough. Then we act with steely determination for something bigger than ourselves, something honourable and even good.

It may seem strange that as a christian I say these things, but past the vainer of wealth, and technological advances, the world still has the same issues, the same injustices and no lasting solution that works. religious, political or military solutions are not perfect, because as humans we are often manipulated by our own or others agendas.

Dear God,
I recognise I am flawed, but follow you who is perfect. In my imperfection, I pray that as far as it is down to me, I will make a difference where I am. Lord I pray for the government who make tough decisions not for the faint hearted, may they know wisdom and courage in there deliberations. Amen 

 

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