Living on the edge

So life in the UK is currently fairly bonkers. Our esteemed politicians are fortunately not in charge of anything major right now; we have a fantastic civil service to do that for us! That leaves them free to worry exclusively about what other people think of them and how current events might make them look in the long term. 

When I say all our politicians, I’m being unfair as I’m sure there are some like the late Jo Cox and indeed Yorks Rachael Maskill who seem able to remember why they are paid by the British people; that is to serve us not their own political purpose. 

I think the lesson for me as a Christian is that old joke “if you want to make God laugh -tell him your plans!”

I’m really struggling with this myself right now – I had imagined once the church agreed to take me on as a trainee priest that a clear way forward would emerge. Over two months later I’m still waiting for some answers.

Waiting with God has been a key part of my journey and I’ve found it really tricky – I think what I’ve learnt though is doing the right thing for the right reasons is not only hard but basically essential for survival in this world. Why? Well otherwise you can be blown around like a leaf in the wind. 

Communicating what you think God has in store for you and others around you,  isn’t arrogant, it also helps others do the same.

Putting down foundations whether in a marriage, career or as a parent takes time, energy, commitment, sometimes standing up for yourself and often completing lots of boring tasks!

I’m optimistic that God can guide us as a country but I think we need to do the work too – refusing to tolerate racism, working for unity and accepting different perspectives, and putting the things that matter first. We need politicians who will show up for us and inspire us, especially when we are divided and the stakes are so high 

As the apostles had to when building the early church we need to challenge tradition as “We believe we are all saved the same way” Acts 15 v11

Selfies

This week has been really depressing, hearing about Orlando shootings, and the death of Jo Cox. I can’t remember really such a terrible time for ages. The shock of this has put the normal things into context, like politics, religion and all the debate about Europe. It makes me appreciate the little things that I take for granted, and those things that make me an individual. The way I feel about my husband, how the garden grows, the things I’ve seen develop in my family, my grey hair, they are all part of what makes me unique. In accepting my calling to leave my current job and move into the church full-time, I’ve had to accept that God’s calling me, not a better version of me, just plain old me.

I think the sadness I feel about Orlando, is that the guy who murdered all those young people had a conflict about who he was that was driving him to violence. I’ve been to gay nightclubs and felt uncomfortable being in the minority, but not because I thought it was something people should be ashamed of.

The man who killed Jo Cox had an opinion that led to violence. I’ve listened to lots of people talking about Brexit, but never wanted to harm them. Violence  can never be of God, as love, peace and humility have to be trademarks of anything God is saying to you. If those aspects are not there, it’s just not of God. Believing violence can be justified was the Old Testament. Jesus brings a final peace to us, that is new and scary, but ultimately different to “an eye for an eye”.

It’s fine to feel like commiting a violent act, and to feel angry. There are lots of examples of Jesus getting angry in the bible. I’m sure Jo got angry about the issues she campaigned about, but she did something constructive to make the world better, not destructive.

The beauty of God’s love is that we can all be ourselves fully in unity in his mind’s eye. He has a catalogue of selfies taken of us, and he can see it as one big picture. The radical nature of the way christianity spread, was such that even his disciples struggled to comprehend what was asked of them. Share the gospel with Gentiles who ate unclean food? That can’t be right!

I hope Jo rests in peace, and that her family are held in God’s love at this terrible time. I am still praying for the families of those who died in Orlando. I hope to see a world one day where people who are gay or straight, rich or poor, young or old, white or black can live in harmony together. As a christian I pray that faith is never a barrier for this to happen.

Galatians 3: v26-29 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

To remain or not to remain that is the question

The UK is supposed to be gripped in referendum fever, however even the BBC are struggling to find a new angle on the story, as there is so little concrete information on what would happen if we left the EU and actually what will happen if we remain in it. Even economists themselves admit it’s pretty much guess work. I understand it’s an unwieldy political structure that is a nightmare in many ways. I’m just convinced I don’t want the protagonists of the Leave campaign representing me, in any forum, at any time, so it seems too risky to vote Leave.

Plus I read the other day it costs me £150 to be part of the EU every year, which is essentially one hospital trip if anyone gets sick on holiday, or a couple of visas to enter mainland Europe, probably more if I ever wanted to move oversees. Aside from all that, it just doesn’t seem fair that we are penny pinching about the EU;we give more than most, because we are better off.

I know we don’t feel better off, but I know unemployment for young people is far higher in Spain for our family there than here. Also I really want us to be part of negotiations about refugees from Syria, international crime, people trafficking, tackling paedophile rings, not sitting apart and feeling smug but not being kept in the loop about what’s actually happening.

As Christians we are asked to love our neighbours, not just the ones we like, (Spanish/Greek/Irish) or have an alliance with from the World War II days, (French, Italians) but everyone! Even including the Germans, Russians, Croats, Serbs.. I could go on!

Think this picture sums it up for me, apologies to any Tories I am friends with..