Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • for what it's worth, here's my view...

    Because of my role I avoid being party political. If you ask me face to face I’m happy to discuss my personal politics and who I support, but party politics doesn’t seem quite comfortable in my job. I also avoid it because I know there are people of honour of every political colour and it is tempting to demonise those of different views. I also don’t think any particular party has it completely right, although in my view, some have it wronger than others! It’s not because I think faith and politics don’t mix. I believe they do, in fact I believe they must. Jesus was political, if you look at his life most of his teaching and actions were political and he got both support and opposition from all the different political camps of his time.

    I’ve had interesting party political relations myself here in Chelmsley. I get on very well (I think) with all of the parties generally. We have worked well with the Tory ruling party and had good support from our Tory MP. The Green councillors have been supportive of our work and some labour councillors have been a great encouragement to us. It must be said, I’m not the favourite of a few of the Labour councillors, and have annoyed the Tories occasionally. I’m learning (still) how to work with people who hold different views and values. I’ve learnt that co-operation rather than ideological trench warfare is far more effective. Also important is behaving honestly and openly, even with those you would disagree strongly with.

    But whatever my personal party political views, there are some things that I would look for and fight for, whatever the government’s colour. These are fairly basic, and you could argue too vague, but I think their simplicity is because they are so foundational.

    I would look for kindness, where people were treated as being of intrinsic value, trusted and given the benefit of the doubt. Not treated cynically or as inferior.

    I would look for compassion, where an understanding of others is nurtured, particularly those who are ‘different’, whether that is economically, socially, culturally, ability or anything else.

    I would look to see how the poorest in our country, and the world, are treated. I think this is a true measure of any society. Scapegoating, oppressing and withholding support and opportunity are often used against those with little power.

    I would look to see who gets preferential treatment. Protecting the powerful and wealthy is commonly found amongst those in power. Tax cuts for the wealthiest at the height of the recession, consistent failure to act on major tax evasion to name just two, are things that need addressing. The playing field is not level, we do not all have equal opportunity. In my view the previous government term does not have a good record in these areas.

    The last government took over during a time of a world (not just national) recession, this is given as the reason for the austerity we have been facing. Given a second term, they now have an opportunity to prove the values they speak of and that their ideology genuinely redresses the inequalities we see in society. What happens with welfare, the NHS, employment, the environment, international aid, to name a few areas, will show who they are what they are about. And this would be true if Labour or any combination, had formed the government.

    Whatever the colour of the government, the church and the community sector will continue to work for social justice in its broadest sense. It’s easier to work together, and I hope we can continue to do that locally. Our council has remained pretty static politically and I hope the working relationship we have can continue. What matters at the end of the day is not which party ‘wins’ or who has the power, but that the world is made a better place.

    Naive?

    Yes, but I’d rather that than cynical.

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Neil

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Welcome to the blog

Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

Because we try to be properly Baptist, these views aren't necessarily the views of everyone who is part of the church family here.

We're not even sure they're Neil's.

Either way, we try not to fall out over it.

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