Trying to Answer my Critics. (some who are my friends) …
This is something that I think needs to be said. My hope is that it will be understood.
There was a great article recently about the fact that it is not Politicians, whoever they are and whatever their ilk, who have the responsibility to bring about change in the world. Change in the world is down to the church. When we try to pass that responsibility on to Politicians we are going to come unstuck, for it is our responsibility, not theirs.
Having said that, where leaders take society in a wrong direction, whether they be Kings, Presidents, Dictators, Prime Minister or whatever else, it is the prophetic responsibility of Jesus followers to say so as loud as possible, even though that might get us into trouble. One only has to look at how many prophets in the Old Testament ended up in very sticky situations for challenging the establishment.
When we start to talk about abortion, it is not that I am in favour, very much the opposite. However, I am also aware of the difficulty. The difficulties of one-line agendas, or sound bite answers is too often missed in our instant re equipment culture.
My question is: Do we only care about the unborn? Or: Do we care about the child dying in the sea running away from a terrible war? Or do we care about the child starving, usually, again, from some war? Or do we care for the refugee Mother and child fleeing because they do not have the wherewithal to feed the child never mind give it medicine that it so desperately needs and is abundantly available elsewhere?
I also have a another question. I hear constantly the phrase, “This is God’s man”, in terms of a certain president. Well, wasn’t Obama God’s man? And what about all the others before him? Was Hitler God’s man? what about Pol Pot and Stalin? Were they also Gods men? I see too that when people dare to criticise leaders, very “spiritual” people tell me, “You need to pray for them”. and then they remind me that that biblical injunction was given when there was a terrible Roman Emperor that was burning Jesus’s followers of the Way using them as candles to light his gardens. Well! Yes! I know I need to pray for leaders - but what do I pray?
Am I to pray, “Lord, silence all the critics”? I wonder what those early Christians prayed. Was it, “Lord, bless this Emperor”? or was it, “Lord, move him out of the way”? I note that Paul said we were to pray for a quite life when we pray for rulers. Here is his Prayer: “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:2I)
I am also aware that when we use words to dehumanise people it is very dangerous. In Northern Ireland during the troubles they were not people on the other side. If you were a catholic the other side were “Prods”. If you were a Northern Irish Protestant the other side were not people, they were “Papists”. So; when one killed a person from “the other side”, one was not killing a person but a sort of inanimate, inhuman you a … -fill in the missing word. It could be a liberal, a snowflake, or vermin - but not a human being. I note that when bombs are dropped, they don’t kill “people” (which of course they do - civilians mostly). What they do is cause collateral damage. “Collateral damage” or, “dead people whom we killed.” Which do you think sounds better?
Another question: Why are liberals/socialists so evil? Again, maybe you should have a look at this if you think they are: +
Now, perhaps I should tell you what is wrong with the liberals. In my opinion, what is wrong with the liberals is that they have ceased to be liberal. What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is that you can only become a liberal if you think, speak, and believe exactly the right things. If you waver, think and speak something different to the current perceived PC correctness then woe betide you. In other words; you are not allowed to disagree. That is what is wrong with the liberals.
Thankfully some get it and much as I would often disagree with Peter Tatchell Britians top Gay campaigner, I am delighted when he became an advocate for a real liberal position. He said, on the cake issue, that when a Christian couple refused do take an order advocating a gay lifestyle and were taken to court, and then, at first, lost the case, Peter said, “Much as I want to defend the gay community, I also want to defend freedom of conscience expression and religion.” Good on you Peter! However, sadly, that enlightened view is often missing.
I do think we should really shout when we think things are wrong, unrighteous and bad for society. The church is called to be salt and light, and that means we should be affecting for the good every part of our culture, Education, Politics, Business, Entertainment etc.,
I guess when it comes down to it, I would have to be with Jim Wallis who wrote a book on these issues called, “Gods Politics. Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It”. He also said, “We should note that a budget is a moral document.” Maybe governments in the UK and around the world should really take note of that statement.
As the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek said recently; “Why is it we can believe in sending a man to the moon or even mars, but we could not believe in putting 1% on tax to aid those who cannot afford proper health services?” Makes you wonder doesn’t it?