Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Constantly and Consistently Choosing God

Way back at the start of the year my church looked briefly at how New Year’s Resolutions can be mirrored in our spiritual walks. I felt challenged to become resolute and renew my covenant/commitment with God. I said to myself that I would rise to the challenge and I failed to do so quite spectacularly but God didn’t give up on me. I’m so thankful for how many chances he gives each of us and each time I rediscover how amazing that is I once more feel like I’ve recaptured the energy, excitement and genuine enthusiasm of a being a “new” Christian.

I’m not ashamed to admit that each time I hear an alter call, I say in heart ‘yes, I do want to be a Christian’ because for me, being a Christian isn’t a one off experience it is a constant process that requires regular choices. Sometimes I mess up and make the wrong choice but today, I am choosing once more to follow God and I pray that I make that same choice tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that (etc).

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Christians and Politics

Below are quotes that I completely agree with on the topic of Christians in Politics. They are from Patrick Regan’s latest book, No Ceiling to Hope which I cannot recommend highly enough. My review is linked here and you can purchase the book by clicking here.

I’ve often been asked to speak about Jesus and to avoid speaking about politics or the world, as though the two can be divided (Page 78)

 I truly believe we need Christians to be engaging with the political scene, whether at a local or national level. How else can we truly be advocates for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized? But, if we do engage, then we must listen to God’s voice, his plans, agenda and timing… (Page 135)

 Not that long ago I was leading a prayer time about politics for a group of churches and suggested we get into groups and pray for our local councillor. People started looking uncomfortable and I realized they didn’t know who their local councillor was. As I thought about it, I realized I didn’t either. It was a wake-up call and a challenge for me; we’re supposed to pray for “all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2), but how can we do that when we don’t even know who they are? How can we make informed decisions about who we vote into power to run things in our community when we don’t know anything about them? Many of us hold back from getting involved with a political party ourselves because we don’t see one that holds all the same beliefs as we do, but the truth is there will never be a party that holds the exact same view as ours. If we want there ever to be one that comes anywhere close, we can only hope to change that party from the inside out. We have to make do with the imperfect parties that exist, get involved and help shape them towards what we think they should be. We can’t just sit back in cynicism and apathy, and hope that the change we long for will miraculously come about. Talking about each party’s failings in the pub won’t change anything. It’s when we’re willing to get stuck in and take our place in a political party that we can begin to influence the political agenda. Being involved in politics isn’t about the big and spectacular things; it’s unlikely we’ll ever get invited to garden parties at No. 10. The reality is, if we got involved at a local level, we’d be attending regular meetings, dealing with sometimes mundane issues. But what a brilliant place for Christians to be if we care about our communities and want to serve them. When we get involved locally, that’s where hope hits the ground running. (Page 134)

 Philip Yancey said that politicians complain that of all the letters they receive, often the nastiest ones are from Christians. Wouldn’t it be better if we were contacting councillors and MPs asking them to come and see the projects our churches are involved in, showing them the positive impact that can be made and asking how we can work together?
There’s a place for letting our views be heard and standing up for the things that we believe in, but our voice can be so much more effective when we take the time to present a positive alternative and embody a different way of living, not just criticizing others. (Page 136)