Friday 8 May 2015

Business as Usual?

I contributed this week’s ‘Connecting with Culture’, a weekly email service provided by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

The swirl of interest and activity surrounding a general election is matched in Christian circles with publications and postings on voting wisely, with the organisation of hustings for the quizzing of local candidates, with prayers for good government, and more besides. And rightly so.

But what happens when the voting stops? What is our default mode for engaging with politics when the drama of an election dies down?

The campaign from Christians in Politics has been enormously helpful in reminding us not just to ‘show up’ on the day to vote, but to ‘show up’ in daily life too. Not only are many Christians on the frontline in the world of politics itself, but politics affects us all, wherever we find ourselves – the teacher in the classroom, the cleaner in the hospital, the parent in the home.

So, not just the world of politics, but of education, business, economics, media, arts, law, health, family – spheres which can be influenced by the presence of Christians within them, more than we might imagine, as we build relationships, seek justice, make a gracious stand for the truth, be a messenger of the gospel. And we do so not merely as a useful means for getting what we want, but as that which flows out of our love for God and neighbour.

The guiding vision for such a posture is the New Testament’s portrayal of the cosmic Lord Jesus Christ, who created all things, who will one day redeem all things, and who calls us – as those in whom the end-time reconciliation of all things has begun – to live as signposts to that future even now. Yes, now. And yes, the teacher, the cleaner, the parent, me, you.

So, let’s not lose the momentum generated by the election, however we feel about its final outcome. Let’s pray for the Government and for our local MPs – by name. Let’s ask trusted people in our churches to help us think through issues from a Christian perspective. Let’s inform MPs of matters that concern us – not simply the narrow range of topics where people expect us to speak out, but on other things too – austerity, education, health, unemployment, environment, immigration. Let’s get involved where we’re able to do so. And let’s recognise that the best changes will be brought about by demonstrating through our lives that there is a better way to do business as usual.

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