Those Who Show Up
Mission

'Those Who Show Up' – every church leader should read this book

 

Last week’s Faith in Politics report by the Evangelical Alliance gave an interesting if somewhat predictable snapshot of Evangelical Christians’ views on politics and their likely voting intentions. The split in support for the different parties is roughly the same as the general population: of the 76 per cent who have made up their minds, 31 per cent are intending to vote for Labour, 28 per cent for the Conservatives, 12 per cent for both Ukip and the SNP, and 11 per cent for the Lib Dems. It goes to show that, unlike the Republicans in the US, no one party here can claim to have the almost unique favour of Christian voters.

There are some things, though, that the majority of respondents did agree upon: 96 per cent believe that democracy is precious and 94 per cent are planning to vote, which is far higher than the 65 per cent national turnout at the 2010 General Election. 92 per cent believe that politics involves too much media manipulation and spin. This is probably one of the main reasons why the same proportion want to see more Christians willing to get involved in party politics and stand for election.

However, out of those 92 per cent, I wonder how many have ever considered getting involved in party politics themselves? I’ve heard it said on numerous occasions that when we pray to God asking Him to change or fix a situation, we need to be open to the possibility that He might very well tell us to be the one to do it. We like the idea of more Christian MPs and councillors because they are more likely to represent broad Christian interests, but hopefully and more importantly we want to see them acting with integrity and bringing more of the light of God’s love and compassion into the political arena.

The problem, though, having talked to many Christians about this, is that party politics is seen as a dirty game where faith and religious belief run the risk of being compromised or worse if we step into the political fray and become attached to a party. The public perception of politics is that it is full of greed and tribalism carrying a constant whiff of corruption, as we’ve seen with the stories surrounding Jack Straw and Malcolm Rikfind over the last few days. Why would Christians want to align themselves with this world when they can do plenty of political good in the form of social action through our churches helping the poor and needy week after week?

Let’s be honest, when was the last time we were encouraged from the pulpit to go and enter the murky world of politics? Or how many Christian books are currently available on the outcomes of Christians going from being a gathered Church to a dispersed one, fully participating in changing the political landscape by direct party political involvement? There aren’t exactly swathes of encouragement around for those curious enough to examine it all further.

This is why Andy Flannagan’s book Those Who Show Up, which is released today, is such a fresh revelation. Andy is the Director of Christians on the Left, which exists to be a prophetic voice to left-sided politics, and is also one of the directors of Christians in Politics. With the backing of many Christian organisations and denominations, Christians in Politics are currently running the Show Up campaign encouraging Christians to vote. But, more importantly, this campaign is using the General Election as a catalyst, and has something much bigger and ambitious in its sights – the dawn of a new era of extensive Christian political involvement. Those Who Show Up acts as a manifesto for this vision.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has given his blessing to the book, and in the foreword he writes:

Upon entering politics, Charles de Gaulle is reported to have remarked: “I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” This is the sentiment that can be found in this book. It is a robust call for us – all of us – to re-engage, or in some cases participate for the first time, in the political world. This is not a book about supporting any one party, but about encouraging people to engage with politics deeply and critically, as a means of shaping our life together.

This is a book calling for the redemption of our political system through the direct impact of God’s kingdom. It does not propose this via grand plans or campaigns from the outside, but as a result of an army of ordinary individuals making sacrifices and simply getting stuck in.

In the same way that the Bible is replete with rather ordinary people whom God used to do extraordinary things through their obedience and faith, Those Who Show Up tells the stories of a number of Christians from across the political spectrum who, through their desire to serve God, have simply found themselves impacting the political realm in significant ways.

Gavin Shuker was born in Luton and, following university, he returned with some friends to set up a church. They began to work alongside students, homeless people, and those working as part of the sex trade. They quickly realised that those they were working with were often victims of dysfunctional systems and structures. They realised that in order to deal with these problems, they would need to become more politically involved. Gavin joined the Labour Party. Following the expenses scandal and the resignation Margaret Moran in 2009, he became their new candidate. Despite the seat being seen as a lost cause by his party, Gavin worked to build relationships with a wide range of faith and community groups and, at the age of 28, became the MP for Luton South in 2010. Through his new position, combined with the work of the churches, he is continuing to have a tangibly positive influence in the town.

Gavin is also making waves in Westminster and has quickly risen through the ranks to Shadow Minister for International Development.

Elizabeth Berridge was the first in her family to go to university. She had grown up with an interest in Africa and, before she went away to university, took a year out to work in Ghana with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). One morning she and the other students were being taught by a visiting speaker who drew seven circles representing the seven spheres of society – family, economics, government, religion, education, media and the arts. She explained that Christians should be living out their passions and dreams in these public spheres, instead of retreating to their own Christian caves. Elizabeth described the session as “the electricity being turned on”. She knew from that moment that government was where she was called to be, despite having no prior contacts or experience. She returned to train as a lawyer and then, several years later, having been given a leaflet about the Conservative Christian Fellowship, she joined the Conservative Party in 1997. In 2006 she was appointed Director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and used her position and international work to lobby internally within the party, working to build understanding of and relationships with ethnic minorities, and especially the British black community.

Elizabeth became a member of the House of Lords following the 2010 General Election at the comparatively young age of 38. Since then Baroness Berridge has has instigated the All Party Group on International Religious Freedom and has lobbied to amend legislation on ‘revenge porn’. She is also part of the Advisory Council of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East which supports the work of Canon Andrew White, the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’. She has built strong relationships and prays regularly with colleagues from the other parties.

Andy Flannagan himself gives an amazing testimony, starting off as a young doctor and worship leader who took part in some summer teams with Tearfund. Through his songwriting he continued to become more involved with Christian NGOs, seeing injustice and poverty first-hand around the world. This then developed into advocacy work, causing him to meet MPs. He writes:

As I met more and more MPs, the thing that stood out for me most was that there was simply no magic dust in Westminster. These were normal people trying to do an incredibly difficult job. It was as if the Wizard of Oz’s curtain had been pulled back to reveal something less sophisticated than I had imagined. There was no great level of genius operating, from what I could see. These were not superhuman people. They had simply shown up. Parliament had been demystified for me. Having worked with some incredible surgeons, CEOs of NGOs, writers and musicians, I suddenly saw that the inhabitants of the village of Westminster were really quite ordinary. It made engaging with the place seem so much more possible.

Through those early months of interaction I also became utterly convinced of something else – that we needed a lot more Christians with spines in Parliament. I had experienced so much of the creativity and brilliance of Christians working in the world of full-time Christian ministry, and was realising that we needed more of that energy working on the inside of politics rather than merely lobbying from the outside.

Andy had spent years sitting on the fence before signing up to the Labour Party. He continued to become more involved around Westminster leading times of prayer and worship, then, six years ago, he became director of the Christian Socialist Movement (now Christians on the Left).

These three, along with many others in the book, began their political careers by simply having their hearts stirred by God as they observed injustices. None of them set out with a strong interest in party politics, but, by following God’s lead, He has brought them into places of power and influence. It is the same for many other Christian MPs and councillors around the country.

Those Who Show Up is firmly grounded in Scripture, talking as much about biblical theology as practical realities as it breaks down the mystique of politics and tackles head-on the reasons why many Christians avoid political engagement. Just as it was for Jesus, Christians cannot compartmentalise different areas of their lives. There can never be a sacred/secular divide because God’s authority is over all things and He cares about all areas of our lives.

Politics is presented as a mission field that is crying out for Godly people to come and transform much that is wrong with it. The book constantly reminds us that Christians will be able to reach far more people when they look to live out their faith and callings in those seven spheres that opened up Elizabeth Berridge’s eyes to what God could do through her life. This is the core of the book’s message:

The problem for us as the church is that we have desired that change in the various spheres, but have not always been meaningfully present in those spheres. We have sought change via prayer and petitioning from the outside, but have not always followed Christ’s pattern of incarnation by being involved on the inside.

Something that the church leaders I meet will readily confess to is that much of our investment and time in the last thirty years or so has been spent impacting the religious sphere. Our energy and finances have mostly gone into training people to be better worship leaders, better preachers, or better small group leaders. We haven’t been investing so much time in training people to be better journalists, better politicians, or better artists. We invest heavily in making our religious ‘product’ better, most significantly our Sunday gatherings. But if we are investing primarily in the religious sphere, then in theory we may be only impacting one seventh of culture. The church has been waking up to this problem, but sometimes the framing for our endorsement of these jobs in the spheres has been purely evangelistic. Just this year I was at a missionary conference where it was suggested by the main speaker that the only reason Christians should be involved in these spheres was that it would provide a way to meet people who might become Christians. Presence there was just a strategy for saving their souls, rather than a desire to see transformation in each of the spheres. And yes, of course as we disciple people in the religious sphere, we hope that they have more impact in their working environments, but that’s not the same as training them up for the specific challenges found within each sphere.

The lack of an undergirding kingdom eschatology explains so much of our previous political engagement as believers. Without a desire to see the transformation of all things in all spheres of life, our interests were understandably focused on the religious sphere. So we were only politically awoken when someone came to step onto our turf, to disrupt what was going on in ‘our world’. So when Sunday trading laws are proposed, marriage is being tampered with, or religious liberty is at stake, then suddenly we are interested. That limited our voice into the rest of the spheres but also allowed us to be characterised as people who only cared about our own issues. It also led to a rather defensive posture and siege mentality spilling out in the tone and methods we use to communicate. Sadly both in the West and in other parts of the world this is still true. We look like those who are rather desperately defending our patch of land, rather than seeking kingdom values in all of society.

Andy Flannagan has written a book that is both prophetic and practical. It paints a picture of politics which shows that Christians can move from the sidelines to the centre of the pitch with little difficulty if they choose to do so. He is also quite clear that spending time in that environment will be tough and challenging at times, but, with support from the wider Church, those who find their calling to dwell in the difficult places can make a significant difference quite often beyond what they could imagine.

Those Who Show Up is essential reading for every church leader. It provides a compelling vision of how our churches can be beating hearts that fill their members with passion to take the gospel into all corners of society. This book has challenged me, caused me to pick up my Bible, opened my eyes to new things, and inspired me to pray earnestly and seek more of God’s will. It may well do the same for you.

Those Who Show Up is launched today and available to buy from Muddy Pearl.

  • Martin

    So the answer to the dire state of politics in the UK is for left leaning liberal Christians to get involved. Seeing the damage that such have inflicted on the CoE, where a Christian with a spine in the hierarchy seems an impossible dream, I’d have said it’s more likely to make things worse.

    • Martin the post is about Evangelicals. Who in my experience tend to be slightly more left wing politically than MOTR Liberal Anglicans.

      • Martin

        Edward

        The term ‘Evangelical’ has ceased to have much real meaning since it spans the range from the liberal, but holding a Bible to the Reformed. I don’t see the ABoC as truly Evangelical in the historic sense.

      • dannybhoy

        My experience is that there are as many right wing Evangelicals as there are misguided ones…..

  • Busy Mum

    The default position in the UK used to be that all politicians were Christian, nominally at least, and all acknowledged that the Word of God was the supreme arbiter under which they must all bow.

    True Christian politicians are no longer wanted; it is disingenuous for anyone to imply that Christians are the ones at fault in this matter. But of course, it’s far easier to blame the Christians for not getting involved than to blame oneself for an inherent enmity to the truth those Christians might voice.

    How can Christians ‘impact on their working environments’ when the chances are that what one says will land one with an Equality and Diversity training course or even the sack?

    The Bulls and the Ashers tried to impact on their very own working environments, their very own ‘spheres’…..what hope for people like them in Parliament?! To quote Andy Flannagan, their actions certainly made a ‘significant difference quite often beyond what they could imagine.’
    Maybe they are not the right sort of ‘those who show up’?

    • Doctor Crackles

      You are right compliant Christians are required and not the unpleasant bible-believing sought. The problem for Gillan and his chums is that many true Christians worship far away from the reaches of the EA and other compromised organisations. At present we still have the vote.

      • dannybhoy

        Rarely for me I disagree with you Dr Crackles. If a Christian feels led to enter politics then the Lord will open doors for them without their having to compromise their beliefs. Joseph and Daniel were examples of this.

        • Doctor Crackles

          We may disagree 🙂

          My point is that a certain kind of Christian is sought for this dialogue. If the Christian says the wrong thins he will be excluded.

          If God chooses to raise up a Daniel or even a Cyrus then that is different.

          • dannybhoy

            It’s a tough one because personally I own left of centre conservative values, yet I have lived and worked in a left wing commune (although perhaps as it was a Jewish commune it doesn’t count..).
            I do accept a Christian can be fully involved in politics, but they may not appear to be successful in the worldly sense of the word. Their ministry may be a much more personal and “behind the scenes” influential one.
            There are Christians in every field of human endeavour, most quietly working away on God’s behalf. Others like Dr Billy Graham faithfully serving the Lord in a much more public way..
            http://www.christian-conservatives.org.uk/news/3?page=3

          • CliveM

            DB

            You say ‘left of centre Conservative values’ was that deliberate?

          • dannybhoy

            yes, I heard or read that phrase somewhere some years ago.
            I understand it to mean that whilst a person accepts the main tenets of Conservatism, they draw back from the more ruthless approach of real right wing politics, which promotes achievement and success over social justice and opportunity.
            It’s recognising that whilst enlightened self interest is a great motivator as in capitalism, we have to care for all members of society to ensure that they also have the social educative mechanisms by which to better themselves. Also that those who are not endowed with great gifts and are relegated to more menial roles are nevertheless valued and properly rewarded.
            Yes to opportunity and enterprise. No to exploitation and elitism.

          • CliveM

            Hi DB

            thanks for the explanation.

            Hope you are well?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes thank you Clive, although the lung function continues to limit what I can do. I get tired quite quickly…. 🙂

            We are both getting a bit busy with activities for Lent through Churches Together, and I am getting drawn into helping with the UKIP campaign in our area..
            Honestly, the days just flash by.
            I take it you are still well? I see your comments over at Hannah’s place..

          • CliveM

            I am always well!

            Busy at work. Glad you’re keeping well :0)

          • Pubcrawler

            Hmmm, Nigel Farage the Cyrus de nos jours. It’s an interesting idea…

          • Doctor Crackles

            I have wished for a Cromwell, but didn’t specify which one! In any case one should be careful what one wishes for.

        • Watchman

          Neither Joseph nor Daniel ran for political office the were selected rather than elected. Democracy does not figure in the bible and is not suggested anywhere as a political model.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s true of course, but that through the centuries God has placed His people in places of authority and political influence remains also true.

          • Watchman

            That’s true, too but we are living in a strange climate now. It is no longer possible to stand for election with a manifesto based on Christian beliefs. I wonder, are conditions now any different in politics than, say, Germany in the 1930’s. You would suffer similar dire consequences, even imprisonment now for “hate speech” if you dared tell the truth. Sorry, Danny I know you didn’t address this subject but the thoughts of old men tend to wander!

  • Paul

    No mention of unwaveringly Christian DUP MPs?

    ‘None of them set out with a strong interest in party politics, but, by following God’s lead, He has brought them into places of power and influence.’

    Let me fix that for you…

    ‘None of them set out with a strong interest in party politics, but, after compromising while climbing up some greasy poles, they have bought themselves power and influence.’

  • Dominic Stockford

    I see we are getting advertising for books here now. A much better book on Christians in politics is Wayne Grudem’s “Politics according to the Bible” – published by Zondervan.

    • carl jacobs

      You just can’t go wrong with Wayne Grudem

      • Umm …….. reading his summary: “79 Factors that will Help Nations Escape from Poverty and Move Toward Prosperity”, Jack has to say it’s all very idealistic. Presumably, he has a plan for achieving these ambitions for “freedom” for “everybody in the nation” and “society in general”?

        http://www.waynegrudem.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/79-factors-that-will-help-nations-escape-from-poverty-and-move-toward-prosperity.pdf

        • Dominic Stockford

          The Bible tends towards the idealistic, funnily enough.

          • Well of course it does ……… and this is reflected in Catholic Social Teaching too. Carl criticises this as being vague, so Jack thought he’d reply in kind.

        • carl jacobs

          Jack

          I don’t know anything about the book, but … Wayne Grudem! You should read his Systematic Theology. It’s very sound.

          • Carl, it’s 1123 pages in length !!!

            Mind, it is available as a free PDF on the Internet. Jack will have to check it’s not on any ‘list’ before putting his soul at risk.

          • carl jacobs

            You already have my imprimatur, Jack. What more do you need?

          • That’s what bothers Jack, Carl. He does seem to have a rather interesting mix of views if Wiki is anything to go by.

  • Doctor Crackles

    Still banging this drum Gillan, why the obsessive interest?

  • sarky

    How not to get elected – admit your a christian.

    • Martin

      Sarky

      “you’re”

      So you are admitting bigotry is alive and well.

      • carl jacobs

        Martin

        It’s not bigotry to reject a candidate on the basis of worldview. It would be hard for me to pull the lever for an avowed atheist. The concept is no different.

        • Martin

          My current candidate isn’t a Christian but I still vote for him.

      • sarky

        No, I’m admitting predictive text is crap!

        • CliveM

          Yes I use that excuse (a lot) as well!!

        • Martin

          Sarky

          Well I’d say you are a bigot. And clearly you weren’t concentrating.

          • sarky

            Im not intolerant of you, I just dont agree with you. Please explain how that makes me a bigot?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Why else would you imagine that someone who admits they are a Christian wouldn’t get elected?

          • sarky

            Because the vast majority dont agree with you.

  • dannybhoy

    All these things are very encouraging. I think God can call a person into politics as a ministry. In fact if we consciously surrender our lives to Christ, whatever we find ourselves doing is our area of mission and ministry.
    I admit to being pleased to read that Baroness Berridge has been involved with and inspired byYWAM. Without wishing to promote the organisation above any other, I would say that the experience of Christian community living coupled with varied teaching from Christian leaders engaged in various areas of ministry, can give a young person a lasting vision for how God wants to reach the world through His people.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    Gavin worked to build relationships with a wide range of faith and community groups

    Gavin so values his relationship with Luton’s Muslim community that he pulled out of a debate on Islam. Do click on the link, if only for the neat Photoshop of Gavin.

    In other news, Gavin voted for same-sex marriage. Funny kind of Christian, our Gavin.

    • Doctor Crackles

      Good stuff JR.

      ‘Christian’ needs defining I think.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Gavin needs redefining.

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ Doctor Crackles—I don’t know if Paul Weston (the Liberty GB candidate standing against Gavin Shuker in Luton South) is a Christian. Even if Weston is an atheist, his forthright opposition to Islam makes him a far better defender of Christianity than Shuker who, quite apart from making up his own version of Christianity as he goes along, genuflects to his Muslim constituents to get their vote. Having Christians like Shuker in Parliament does more harm than good: given the danger Islam poses to Christianity, Christians would be better off with a Parliament full of patriotic atheists than pro-Muslim Christians.

        • Doctor Crackles

          Yes, the Almighty can use whoever he wishes to accomplish his will, even God-haters.

          Gillan seems to propose that Christians organise themselves together and do what is right and good, as defined by special committees that cherry picks theme to suit the agenda. It is all very controlling and vomit inducing.

          As a Mancunian Christian once told me: when a church starts a committee the first thing it does is vote God off!

  • Doctor Crackles

    Christians gathering together to make a name for themselves? Dangerous territory as the Babel episode reminds us:

    And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

  • “Each one of you has to be God’s microphone. Each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet. The church will always exist as long as there is someone who has been baptised …… Wherever there is someone who has been baptised, that is where the church is. There is a prophet there. Let us not hide the talent that God gave us on the day of our baptism and let us truly live the beauty and responsibility of being a prophetic people.”
    (Oscar Romero)

    • The church will always exist as long as there is someone who has been baptised ……

      A church may exist a long as there is someone who has been baptized, but it may not be the Church of Christ. ‘John answered……..,”I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal-strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”‘ (Luke 3:16).

      • Are you suggesting that baptism by water doesn’t make one a member of Christ’s Body?

        • I most certainly am. It is baptism in (or ‘by’) the Spirit (aka the New Birth) which brings one into the kingdom of God (Romans 8:9). Water baptism is an ordinance of Christ and therefore to be obeyed by all believers, but it is an outward, physical representation of something that has already happened: a dying to the old life and raising up to the new (Colossians 2:12-13).
          ‘For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God’ (1 Peter 1:23).

          • All Jack asked was whether you believed baptism by water made one a member of Christ’s Body. Jack really doesn’t want what will be a fruitless debate over this.
            Suffice it to say, baptism, in and of itself, is a means of grace and remission of sin – original and personal – and by it we are reborn as members of Christ’s Body.

          • Hitler (Roman Catholic), Stalin (Russian Orthodox) and Kim Il Sung (Presbyterian) all underwent as infants the ritual that you describe as baptism.

          • And ………… ?

  • carl jacobs

    To consider politics a mission field is a dangerous temptation. Remember the crowd that followed after Jesus when he fed the 5000. They weren’t interested in what He said. They wanted easy living. Jesus presented people with the possibility of food without toil and people flocked to it. They wanted a Bread King. When He stopped giving them food and started talking about the Bread of Heaven, they all left him.

    People love free money. But free money is morally debilitating. The Gov’t is very good at handing out free money but the Gov’t is a crude moral insrument. Christians rushing off to reshape the world through the distribution of Gov’t money will likely re-create the crowd seeking after free food. It will become an exercise in raising the standard of living for some people, but it will not lead to building the kingdom. The Gov’t does not have the ability to discern the difference between need and deserving. It will means test instead, and means testing leads to an entitlement mentality. The moral purpose is thus lost – unless there was no greater purpose than giving people money.

    The better goal for the Christian in Gov’t is to set the boundaries of human interaction. This is the proper task of Gov’t. But this is precisely what the average voter does not want a Christian to do. He wants our boundary markers removed and he resents us for trying to impose then on his personal freedom. He wants to do what he wants with whom he wants when he wants. We see the dangers. They demand the freedom.

    The CoE Bishops’ letter didn’t talk about abortion and that was no accident. That would be a subject of imposing boundaries, and they didn’t want to talk about that. They wanted to talk about safe subjects. They wanted to talk about money and community and what amounts to an immanentized version of the Kingdom made safe for secular consumption. If that is all Christian involvement amounts to, it would be best to stay home.

  • Nick

    I just find it untenable to bemoan voter apathy when 16-17 year olds are denied a vote. It’s just inane.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I don’t know what your age is Nick, but I can assure you that anybody who seriously follows what is going on in our society is not going to feel “safe” about it. In my twenties, I read Orwell’s “1984”. Great book, good story. But when I started to read it again recently, the effect on me was much stronger as I saw the disturbing parallels with our current society. This may be why older people are more likely to go out and vote. It’s not just habit or loyalty. It may also be a heightened sense that things are going the wrong way.

      • Nick

        42. I wasn’t necessarily suggesting that becoming older and being allowed to vote is a safe and comfortable option (compared with romantisizing the golden past). Anyone with any sense remains in their comfort zone. All I am saying is that young people deserve the same choice of voter apathy which we have.

        I would go further and suggest that children deserve the vote but I am way too behind the times.

        This is not newspeak. I am just saying what a lot of people think.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          How young would you let people vote? I know that giving the vote to younger people is a popular idea at the moment, and the Scots allowed 16 year olds to vote in the referendum. The problem is that the younger we are the more malleable we are. I do suspect that the Scottish Government was more concerned about enlarging the “Yes” vote than enlarging democracy. I personally think the voting age should be left as it is. I think being 16/17 can difficult enough without having to decide on political allegiance as well because of manipulative politicians

          • Nick

            In some things I’m idealistic. I’ll say voting for all regardless of age. Pragmatically it isn’t ever going to happen so I will accept a change to 16-17 year olds. I’ve seen some fairly malleable older people?

        • Watchman

          I’d like to offer you a serious alternative. To merit having a vote you must be at least 35, in a full time job and paying tax. You should also be able to show that you have sufficient intelligence to understand the issues on which you are voting. Politicians themselves should have a proven track record of successful business management. They should not be paid and disallowed from being sponsored by any individual or organisation. Running a country is a serious business enterprise and should be left to those known to be capable.

          • Nick

            Here’s a better alternative. Sod democracy. Heaven has the best system of Government? (supposedly) – therefore we could have an absolute monarchy. But the new monarchy wouldn’t be based on nepotism it would be based on merit. We could elect a king (or queen) based on their great deeds and level of care for others. We could get some sword in a stone or something and then we could see who could pull it out? That would be brilliant.

          • Watchman

            What’s so great about democracy, has it solved all our problems or simply given us greater ones?

          • Nick

            I heard that democracy was supposedly one of the basic British values. Few people question it. It is a little like being told that you have it very good here and every other political system has it wrong. As has been said, people make wars in the name of democracy and anyone who questions it is under suspicion of being a kind of traitor. What kind of system allows no questions like that?

          • Watchman

            I’m not interested in British values. When I want to know what attitude to take on anything I pick up my bible. Nowhere in my bible is democracy given a mention, it was a Greek invention and Christians should be thinking Hebraically; after all we are grafted into the root of Abraham and adopted into the Jewish family. Read 1 Samuel 8 for insight into God’s preferred system of government.

          • Nick

            Hold on. That’s about God pretending not to want a monarchy for Israel and then getting King David in (a very good case for nepotism). This is all turning into that weird biblical sycophancy again isn’t it? I concede. I can’t win.

            Lottery! The final 12th apostle/disciple to replace Judas was chosen with lots! That’s God’s real attitude! We hold a lottery for king! (or queen I suppose).

          • Watchman

            Or use Urim and Thummim. Good idea

          • Nick

            Does anybody know what the Urim and Thummim actually were? I bet they were really valuable if they had precious stones in them. They probably got stolen by someone. Someone said that they were a sort of allowed kind of divination (like modern day Bibliomancy). I wonder how they were used. I wonder where they are now. Wouldn’t it be ironic if one of the stones ended up in the crown jewels. Unlikely but I bet someone could make up a book about it…

        • Busy Mum

          People who ‘think’ 16-17 year olds deserve to have the vote do not deserve to have the vote themselves..

          • Nick

            Bless you too. Thanks for affirming my freedom.

          • Busy Mum

            !! I wasn’t meaning you are not allowed to think that they deserve to have a vote – although I certainly do not see many teenagers who have done anything worthy of that privilege. It’s just if they were allowed to vote, in effect it would be my freedom that would be restricted – the world would be upsidedown and I do not particularly relish the idea of being ordered about by teenagers. Truly, ‘children will rule over them’ – Isaiah chapter 3, I believe, though correct me if I’m wrong!

          • sarky

            Bit harsh!!! Nick is as entitled to his opinion as you are, even if you dont agree!

          • Nick

            Thought-crime Sarky. Be careful out there.

          • Busy Mum

            Think you already cited your 17year old as hard evidence that thinking teenagers ‘deserve’ to have the vote is ridiculous?

          • sarky

            Yes, but he is still entitled to his opinion whether or not we agree with it!

          • Busy Mum

            Absolutely – entitled to his opinion, but very dangerous for us all if he votes accordingly. Guess you don’t want to be ordered around by your teenagers any more than I do? It’s tough enough anyway – parental rights are all but non-existent in this country already – government being run along teenage lines would result in anarchy in the fullest sense!

          • Watchman

            I’ll support that. One does need to have a sound mind to deserve a vote!

          • sarky

            You don’t deserve yours then!

          • Nick

            God bless yer’ man.

          • Watchman

            And you too, Nick!

          • Nick

            Hold on, it’s Richard isn’t it? Look, I haven’t got a sound mind – I am officially ‘mad’. I have the certificate to prove it. I am also non-violent. I have mental health problems as a result of some bad choices I made.

            This is getting way off-topic and uncomfortable. The vote should be allowed to all – including young people. You know I’m right about this. I’m just trying to persuade you that it would make things better. What is more insane than the status quo? Mad, mad world.

          • sarky

            Arhh another victim of the 90’s, still can’t believe I got out unscathed!

          • Nick

            Aha sarky – a man with insight. You were lucky then. Count your blessings.

          • sarky

            Not really insight, I’m the same age! !! Heavy metal, jack daniels and an unexpected child set me on a different path!!!!

          • Shadrach Fire

            16-17 year olds are only just out of their nappies. Let alone finished their education. They can hardly walk let alone run. No experience of life and very radical in their thinking. Should never have been dropped from 21.

      • John Moore

        I would respectfully suggest that after the change of thinking in the Kremlin and the last outpost in North Korea having some hard times that the likelihood of INGSOC taking over Westminster is slightly less likely and that the recommended reading of the future is to be found in Aldous Huxley’s foretelling of the future in his Brave New World written in 1932. If you haven’t read it please do….the Hatcheries for the new born and constant orgies seem just like the almost here and now. The ending with the ‘uncivilised savage’ committing suicide on realising the morality of the…title of the book… is of course to prove that he is the only one with what we would liken to Christian values.

        • ‘In the grassy bay between tall clumps of Mediterranean heather, two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing, very gravely and with all the focussed attention of scientists intent on a labour of discovery, a rudimentary sexual game.
          “Charming, charming!” the Director repeated sentimentally.’

          Anyone for sex education for five year-olds?.

          • John Moore

            Exactly. Actually we are ahead of the world of worship of Ford in that now the girls are on the pill whereas in the world of Huxley they carried contraceptive devices in their handbag every where. And if they forget to take it they can get the morning after pill. Not bad progress for being about 530 years early. I think the teachers will stick to Orwell as Huxley is a bit too close to the truth. I do hope more contributors to this blog will come in on this subject which I regard as one of the most important foretellings of the future…and that worse is to come in the not too distant future.

    • sarky

      Even if you gave them the vote, would they? When a million people have dropped off the electoral register, shouldn’t we be spending time engaging with people who are already eligible?
      I have a 17 year old son who has no interest or understanding of politics. He just wouldn’t vote and I’m pretty sure the same could be said of the majority of his contemporaries, unless of course there was a ‘playstation party’ or a ‘dirty underwear on the floor’ party.

      • Nick

        Ah, you likable atheists, always defending the status quo?

        • sarky

          Not at all, just think it would be like herding cats! Also a bit of a costly experiment at a time when we don’t have the money.

          • Nick

            It’s too expensive? Where are your ethics? You don’t need another conscience but maybe the cats would like to feel like cats for once rather than kittens. We demand that they behave like cats after all.

          • sarky

            Yeah but they are still kittens, without the experience of being cats.

          • Nick

            They don’t like their cream getting stolen, I can tell you that much.

            It’s just not fair on them. How is it fair to whinge and complain about voter apathy and condescend towards the ‘politically unenlightened’ when they are not even given an option to vote? Would it make things worse? Government discusses options for internet voting etc to get more people to vote but there’s a huge segment of the population who can’t. Even prisoners can vote. It just isn’t fair on them.

          • sarky

            Im not actually against it in principle, just that I can see the dangers and obstacles in implementing it. Plus like I said before I just dont think you would get the take up.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Indeed. They are uninterested in politics, and having the vote won’t make them interested. Neither will it make the rest of the population who already aren’t voting change their minds and want to vote. It’s a daft idea.

    • Busy Mum

      16-17 year olds will vote for anyone who tells them they can do whatever they like.
      16-17 years olds do not pay any tax, rarely understand the meaning of the word work, think the world revolves around them rather than the sun and even if they can get to the polling station before the doors close at 10pm will always vote for jam today even if as a result there will not be any bread tomorrow.

      I think you will find that as the franchise has widened, so too has voter apathy; the minute having the vote is a right rather than a privilege, it is worthless.

      • Nick

        Yes, but inevitably. Widening the franchise to women led to greater voter apathy if it is just a matter of looking at who doesn’t vote. It isn’t likely that 16-17 year olds will get a vote in this general election but even the tories hold the mantra that ‘choices have consequences’. So it will leave a lot of young people disillusioned and alienated. The knock on effect will be a kind of resentment towards the very culture which is supposed to be supporting all people (regardless of age).

    • bmudmai

      16-17 year olds will vote by fad. Which usually ends up to one extreme. For example massively voting for independence in Scotland. When I was 16/17 people were either lib dem or some right wing party, may have been towards start of UKIP.

      Today, they will mostly be greens as they are the fad vote of the younger generation. They don’t really engage in politics they engage in fads and rebellion.

      I would argue the majority of students 18-21 who vote are the same, loads of my.graduate year voted for lib dems purely on the grounds of free tuition fees. Not realising they wouldn’t get it and the only reason for the vote.

      The apathy of politics is purely down to the failure of government after government. To address this, the whole system has to be looked. But it will never improve without Christ at the center as self-gain will always be involved.

  • Watchman

    The allegiance of Christians is (or should be) to Jesus Christ through a life led by the Holy Spirit to do good works which God has previously prepared for us. We are engaged in the mission of glorifying God and extending His Kingdom. Nowhere do I read in my bible that Jesus’ mission is social engineering, social justice, redistribution of wealth and all the other causes that men have tried to associate with Him. It is simply to glorify the Father and be salt and light to a fallen world.
    The allegiance of politicians is primarily to further their careers by pretending to be concerned about the plight of the voters. Some may protest at this suggestion but actions always speak louder than words. The aspirations of the voters are always at the forefront of the politician’s concern if he is to succeed in wielding power. Hence he must find a way of maximising his votes through whatever means. The majority of voters worship money so politicians must find ways of making them envious of those they perceive as wealthy and promising to steal money from the wealthy to give to them. There are variations on this theme but basically they must break all 10 commandments in order to satisfy the voters. How on earth would a Christian survive in this jungle when the message he has is so at odds with the one adopted by his colleagues? Can a Christian ally himself to a set of political objectives so much at variance with his primary allegiance? How can anyone be salt and light when political exile looms at the first sign of standing on the truth of the gospel that men have sinned and need to repent?

    • Dominic Stockford

      How? Simple. Stand for a party which is Biblically Christian in the first place. And be honest in the election about what you believe and why you are standing. If you get elected then you’ll be able to be Christian without any trouble.

      • Watchman

        Dominic, your naivety is touching. What do you think are your chances of even retaining your deposit?

        • Dominic Stockford

          I don’t. But standing for the right thing is better than compromise. And giving people the chance to vote for the right thing is better than compromise.

          I seem to remember Jesus having the chance to live, and choosing instead to die, because it was the right thing.

          • Watchman

            I think if you reflect for a moment you will perceive how inappropriate your last paragraph is. Jesus died to redeem mankind and in obedience to the Father. Unless you are standing for election at the request of the Father you are doing it for yourself. We are all subject to His Will in all things and to make a grand gesture of sacrifice can only be self seeking unless, as I say, you have discerned that it is His Will that you so do.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Esther.

      • Shadrach Fire

        Unless you want a place in Government under Cameron. Your faith and beliefs will then have to be subject to him. It ‘S just the same in the other parties. So you are relegated to the back benches.

    • Shadrach Fire

      There is not a single party that a true Christian can ally themselves to. Yet.
      Conservatives were the nearest you could get until the great two face Cameron took over.

      • Watchman

        I agree, I used to be a member back in the days when it was a party with convictions and integrity (and when my MP was a wine merchant who was very generous with his constituency association). I used to give my students an exercise in which they had to sort out the basic tenets of Conservatism, Christianity, Liberalism, Marxism, Socialism, Buddhism atheism, etc. the mistakes they made were confusing conservatism and Christianity; Marxism and socialism; and liberalism and atheism. Now I suspect they would be more confused than they were then.

        • James60498 .

          I was a member for many years. On the night that I read that Cameron not only voted for adoption by gays but insisted that Catholic adoption agencies should not be exempted, I walked over to my computer, accessed my bank account and stopped the monthly Membership Standing Order.

      • dannybhoy

        I think when our Christian ancestors lived in the Roman Empire’s slave society they were expected to be good and obedient slaves respectful to their masters.
        Only if they were asked to do something which conflicted with their faith were they expected to make a stand.
        We now live in a society influenced and shaped by Christianity . It is a democracy and we have to play a part in it, each according to their conscience and according to the leading of our Lord.
        We know that the more we live out our faith, the more the world will react against us. However, we have to be salt and light in our society and if that means preferring one political party over another, then that’s our responsibility before the Lord.

    • “Nowhere do I read in my bible that Jesus’ mission is social engineering, social justice, redistribution of wealth and all the other causes that men have tried to associate with Him. It is simply to glorify the Father and be salt and light to a fallen world.”

      You’ve lumped different ideas in there – social engineering and redistribution of wealth is not the same as social justice.

      Happy Jack reads the Gospel differently to you too. Jesus’ message when asked about the Kingdom was to Love God and to Love our neighbour. He didn’t see a division between a personal relationship with Him and with loving others. God’s cares about the weak, the outcast and the helpless and warns about the dangers facing the wealthy and the self-sufficient.

      Jack considers it to be a false division between the individual Gospel and the social Gospel.

      “Banish from thy midst oppression, and the finger pointed scornfully, and the plotting of harm, spend thyself giving food to the hungry, relieving the afflicted; then shall light spring up for thee in the darkness, and thy dusk shall be noonday; 11 the Lord will give thee rest continually, fill thy soul with comfort, thy body with ease.”
      (Isaiah 58:6-10)

      “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
      (Proverbs 31:8-9)

      The Gospel message promising personal salvation has implications for the world around us too. Jesus preached about the coming of the Kingdom of God in our hearts and also in the temporal world. The ‘choice’ between a personal relationship with Christ and the needs of the world is a false one.

      • Watchman

        Jack, the common thread in all the elements that I “lumped together” is that they are all man made constructs that are the creation’s attempt to improve on the Creator’s design for Those He made in in Own Image and that He loves; and what a mess we’ve made trying to improve it!

  • len

    Christian values only work in a society when the whole country(or at least a large part of it) is in agreement with those values.
    By and large the whole Christian foundations in the western world have been undermined by false accusations and assumptions by those who have an invested interest in the side- lining of Christian moral values.
    We see how compromise with the secular world is undermining the ‘state church’ and secular forces would do the same to any Christian politician . I can hear the accusations of’ bigot’,’ homophobic’,and even’ nutter’ being thrown at anyone who dared to ‘do God’ in public office and ones time in public office would be very short lived.
    The Gospel is the important thing to get across to the public at large and it won`t win you friends or influence people but it is what Christians have been commissioned to do.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I met, only yesterday, a Christian who has stood as a Christian, who has been re-elected as mayor of his town. And when I say Christian, he be Protestant like me…

  • Phil R

    Democracy in the West seems to mean pushing your views onto people who have voted for something else

    This happens in this country but it seems we are now use our democracy to enforce our decisions on those that have made different ones

    http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/the_envoy_for_sodomy

  • Phil R

    You want to know why kids are not interested in our politics

    http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/why_do_kids_desert_the_west_to_fight_with_isis

    • Thanks for linking that article (and the one below).
      Absolutely spot on.

      • Phil R

        It happens to be a Muslim thing at the moment

        But give a different scenario and many of our people would also be attracted to a different life than say filling shelves on minimum wage

  • Inspector General

    ‘Christians on the left’?

    You damned fool Gillan Scott. The left will use you, run you to as far as you are useful to them, and they’ll do it with a hand on your shoulder.

    The left doesn’t need religion, in any form. If you are lucky, you will be dispensed with and put out of the way.. If you are unlucky, you will be disposed of.

    Now, think on that!

    • Did you complete the personality test in the link Jack forwarded to you, Inspector?

      • Inspector General

        This man stands above ‘tests’ of personality.

        How long where you a member of the Communist party, apart from too long…

        • “The problem with Marxism is the proletariat isn’t going to rise up against capitalism and consumerism. The only time they’ll rise up is during a commercial break to either go to the bathroom or grab more beer.”
          (Jarod Kintz)

  • Shadrach Fire

    I was looking at the desert and thinking about Gillans piece today when I decided to go for a camel ride. Now I like to look at life’s experiences and consider their relationship to our walk with God. As I rode this beast I realised that if one attempted to ride it in the way one thought you should ride it, it was very uncomfortable. So I went with the flow and adjusted myself to the way the Camel walked and moved. The ride then became comfortable. The point is that if we try to follow God the way we feel we should go, there are many bruises to follow. Whereas if we discern how it is that god wants us to walk, we get along fine.

    Turning to Gillans piece I have come across many so called left wing socialist Christians who temper the Social aspects of the Gospel with their own thinking on how God wants to help the poor and afflicted. The spirit led Christian tempers their own thinking with the whole of the Gospel and is thus led by the scripture rather than their thinking being the leader. Our ways are not God’s ways.

    Secular socialism will as the Inspector said will dump the Christian just as soon as it suits them. We have no fellowship with those that deny God and Christians that deny God in favour of mans glory by voting for SSM or any other issue against God’s principles will find Christ saying ‘I never knew you’.

    • You are confusing the pursuit of social justice with socialism.

      • Inspector General

        The Left is man’s idea to go it alone without God. It didn’t start out that way, denying God, but it soon came to the conclusion that God was to play no part in man’s destiny. If you disagree Jack, then one presents you with one of the Lefts most holy of holies – a woman’s right to kill her unborn.

        Gillan Scott – you too. Take notice, this day, and be informed like you’ve never been informed before.

        • You are confusing the ‘Left’ with the Christian pursuit of social justice, Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            And the Right cannot give forth social Justice. Is that what you are saying. It’s only in the purview of the left…

          • And now you’re confusing the ‘Right’ with …. something or other.

      • Shadrach Fire

        I dko’t think so Jack, as a conservative I always supported social action. It is when Christians see the Labour party/Socialists as the way forward and the implementation of the Gospel, they have got it wrong.

        • Agree – but neither Conservative nor Labour are free from their extreme wings. Jack had great hopes for the Conservative ‘Big Society’. Where ever did that idea go?

          What do you mean by: “social action”?

          • Shadrach Fire

            I mean ‘a social conscience’. Having due care for others whatever their circumstances are.

          • And a social conscience has to be acted upon.

      • The Explorer

        There is a place in Amish territory called Intercourse Village. It’s where about five roads meet: it is, literally, inter course. But hopeful tourists go there with rather different expectations.
        There is Christian social justice, and there is secular social justice and,like the two meanings of intercourse, they are not the same. I have an American pamphlet titled ‘What is Social Justice’ which states specifically that the American version began in the Nineteenth Century as an equivalent of British Fabian socialism with the avowed purpose of increasing the power of the state in order to force the redistribution of wealth.
        So you and Shadrach are both right. It’s just a case of identifying which version you mean.

  • David

    If Christians leave politics to the seculars they will mess it up, which is what is happening.
    Christians need to get involved big time, in all the parties, to turn the ship back from the rapidly approaching whirlpools.

    • Shadrach Fire

      At present you won’t get psst the first paper considerations let alone get selected. Ask Cranmer. A friend who is a conservative councilor went to Conservative HQ and was told the only way he could be put forward was if he was female, disabled and non white.

      • The Explorer

        There are modern solutions to enable him to meet the first two requirements. The third is more difficult, but presumably the social engineers are working on it, driving the appropriate research.

        • Inspector General

          Liver problems would do it…

          • You must be missing PN, Inspector. Have you considered missionary work on a liberal, feminist, homosexualist, socialist blog? It claims to be Catholic too. You’d have a hoot there.

          • The Explorer

            I wonder if PN is missing the Inspector?

          • CliveM

            Explorer

            I agree, we must avoid the danger of Group Think. One of the reasons why I appreciate Gillan’s contributions. He brings a different perspective which is good at provoking both thought and debate.

            There are others like Nick who I believe should also be encouraged.

          • The Explorer

            Even if all the atheists deserted us, there would still be a wide range of opinion among the believers. As one reads the Epistles, one realises that this has been so from the earliest Christian times.
            I personally don’t see that as a bad thing. Provided we agree on the Trinitarian essentials, argument about the non-essentials keeps us focused on the Faith. (Of course, not all my co-believers would agree with me.)
            PS: With the Epistles, it’s not the view that all opinions are equally valid. Where it’s an exploring of the implications of the new Faith, or adapting Judaism to Christianity, it’s fine. But some are shown as having lost the plot, veering off into personal glorification, or gnostic heresy.

          • CliveM

            One of the strengths of this blog is the breadth of Christian thought. It’s a form of diversity I believe to be healthy. But it is good to have those of a more Left wing view on here as well as well as those with no faith.

            I do wish we had a regular Muslim contributor.

          • The Explorer

            It would have to be the right sort. Otherwise, BOOM!

          • CliveM

            Well yes…………

            Still it would be interesting listening to the BBC and CAGE blame us for radicalising the individual.

          • DanJ0

            “I do wish we had a regular Muslim contributor.”

            We used to a few years ago!

          • CliveM

            Really what happened ? Was he the type to go BOOM as Explorer fears?!!

          • DanJ0

            His or her name is/was srizals if you want to google around. He used to post largish tracts from the Qur’an occasionally and got slapped knuckles once or twice for doing so unnecessarily.

          • The Explorer

            Why doesn’t the Inspector enrol himself on a cat lovers website? His approved method for feline inspection might generate some controversy.

      • David

        Sounds like a potential Ukip candidate to me.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Except they will abandon you as soon as you state your Christian views publicly.

          • David

            Yes, your Christian views will not be perfectly congruent with the official party line, of course, but “abandon” doesn’t chime with the party’s record. They are stout defenders of reasoned exceptions to the party line on the grounds of a strong belief in free speech.
            Of course one will have to apply judgement and discretion. So if you insisted that the flooding of The Somerset Levels is God’s response to making legal the so called “same – sex marriage”, then you may find yourself standing alone. But a reasoned defence of say banning abortion would not result in your abandonment, I predict.
            But perhaps you are not one to put your head above the parapet ?

      • Umm … he could have crossed dressed and claimed to be exercising choice about gender.

    • Inspector General

      Christians as individuals, yes. The church, a big no.

      • David

        Yes, totally agree.

        • How can you separate the two? Christians are the Body of Christ – in worship and in the world. The Church should be authentic the voice of Christianity.

          • David

            I can’t believe you are really seeking clarification here, as the difference between individuals and their institution is obvious. So at the risk of being painfully clear here we go, I say wearily.

            Individual Christians can act, as individuals, within political parties, guided by their faith, yes ? They are part of an institutional Church and hopefully, and in their understanding, part of the universal Church, led by Christ and whose full membership is known only to God. OK, got that ?

            But that is quite different from an institutional Church, say the Catholic Church, or another, acting in its own name, being led in that direction by its human leader (on earth) or another senior figure of high standing within that Church, is it not ?

            That is my understanding of The Inspectors suggestion, with which I was agreeing. I can but explain my understanding of his suggestion. But if you disagree with his suggestion, as you understand it, then I suggest you ask the man from Gloucester himself. He may even buy you a pint, if you’re nice.

          • Jack sees no distinction between the individual and institution Church when it comes to influencing temporal matters. However, he also thinks the Church should speak vocally on matters of individual faith – e.g. faith, homosexual ‘marriage’ and adoption, divorce – as it does on poverty and homelessness.

          • David

            I can support your second sentence.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Agreed, though the church should support them. Instead, we have a situation where the church tends to bend towards the idol of politcal correctness. Therefore, genuine Christians in politics will constantly have fingers pointed at them while people say “look at ehat your leader says on this matter”. Very difficult indeed to be a Christian in modern politics, though God knows we need them desperately before we disappear into a moral vacuum.

  • Inspector General

    Greetings, Andre. How about a few words from yourself,..

    • Andre´Kristian

      Best beloved, beastly charming brute!
      Passion and fervent eager for masterly inspiration, brought me to Your doorstep, sir! Thereby navigating in unknown routes and waters 😉 Your excellent henchman informed me You were barred from our original venue. Such fatuity! They were obviously not men enough to handle a thorough-paced Inspector. (Ha!) That site is now echoing of emptyness, insufficiently occupied by the usual bunch of pretentious, bulky and sapient reformers. (A few exceptions do exist.)
      So! Please condone me for seeking quality UNDER Your impressive command.
      Andre´Kristian, formally incorrigible, enchained, enamoured and disgustingly honest!

      • Inspector General

        Yes it’s the strangest thing Andre. There they are, providing a service to the internet community, but there’s part of said community they don’t want the service to come to. The heterosexual part. One feels like a gay cake, rejected and unwanted and worst, inedible. Can’t they see it’s a question of equality. Can’t they see the hurt their discrimination is causing. Quite morose over it really, but then the nights are getting longer and it’s a bit warmer, so one can think about other things to do of an evening, like cleaning Inspector Towers, what with it being a new year, and al that. Having been to Sweden, though, one believes you might have to wait until July for any improvement in the elements. Pip Pip that man, and don’t do anything risky. By the way, ones lackey, Jack, will keep you informed of any developments. How he has avoided being sent down from PN just goes to show there’s little justice in this world.

        • Andre´Kristian

          Charming chastiser!
          One takes a bow in silent gratitude for that, Your excellent, note! Ingenuous, as always. (How might one decipher it… ) So be it, my black dahlia! Message received and tolerably comprehended. State of passion: Unchanged. I withdraw my forces and stand by. Permit me to embosom Your asperity with a cordial embrace. My verbal marksman and distant paramour, You know where to find me.
          With geniality, Andre´, against all propriety and convention ; ) Over and out.

          • Inspector General

            Good chap. Don’t forget, on PN, feel free to use the lickspittle Jack to get a message out.

            Onwards and upwards, what!

    • Andre´Kristian

      I sincerely do hope You got my answer, reputable sir! Damned hard to know… Andre´, confiding and trustful. I was hoping the connection had been re-established. 😉

  • Inspector General

    Let’s tell it as it is, lads. The Left and what they are about…

    The Inspector, who considers himself an Irishman marooned in England, is so
    reminded as to illustrate with this helpful tale on the subject of honesty.

    Murphy was about his farm one day, when his 6 year old son ran up to him
    and said “Da, look over there. That ram, it’s hurting that sheep”. And Murphy
    picked him up and said, “You don’t want to be worrying about that son. Why, for
    sure, they’re only f_____g, and that’s all it is”

    • The Explorer

      Fill in the gap for Happy Jack. He won’t understand, otherwise.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan; You got your title right; Every church leader should have, and read, this book…………..
    The Bible.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes. And then seek to live by it.

      • The Explorer

        The sub thread has its disadvantages. Your statement could fall victim to what appears immediately above it. eg Declare jihad.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Thank you TE – I shall edit…

    • sarky

      The god delusion?

      • ‘The god delusion?

        You are suffering from it.

        • sarky

          Errrm, I’ll think you’ll find its you not me!

          • The Explorer

            When?
            If God is a delusion, we won’t know it at death because we won’t know anything. If God isn’t a delusion, you will.

          • Miles Christianus

            True, or there would be no need for faith. I don’t need faith to believe that the ground is under my butt right now, at this time of writing. However, faith is required for anything that is intangible; and that, despite what the secularists will claim, applies to most things. What can we personally, and empirically, prove?

            Love? Quarks? Relativity? God?

            Faith is an uncomfortable necessity, whatever your believe.

          • sarky

            Just read an article today about a guy who clinically died twice. Guess what?? Nothing.
            He reckoned it was just like someone flicking a switch. Funnily enough he reckons he now has no fear of death and he’s still an atheist!

          • The Explorer

            As a matter of interest, why did he fear death before if he was an atheist? If there’s nothing after death, and nowhere to take your life experiences, what does it matter when it happens? (Provided you’ve got life insurance for dependents.)
            And my point remains: one day you will know. He knows there’s nothing. (Except once he’s dead finally, he won’t know.)

          • sarky

            Why did he fear death? Cant speak for him but I think everyone has a fear of the unknown. Interestingly, there have been studies done that show the fear of death is greater amongst christians (havn’t got the link but just Google).
            As for the length of the death, the first was following a motorcycle accident and was for 20 minutes. He said this one was more significant as he received no drugs. His theory is that near death experiences are caused by the drugs given at the time of treatment. Makes more sense to me than these people peddling their stories of heaven and hell. Ian Macormac (sic) is a prime example. Someone pumped full of jelly fish toxin and drugs has a hallucination then travels the world claiming is proof of heaven/hell.

          • The Explorer

            I ask because while I was in hospital in the acute cardiac unit someone was admitted with water on his lungs. While it was being pumped off he had a cardiac arrest that I guess lasted about a minute. They revived him, but he died outright later in the night.
            No chance to ask him what had happened in that minute. He was way too ill, and kept behind curtains, and when medical staff spoke to him, incoherent.

          • sarky

            One of my best friends, a staunch atheist, had cancer and came very close to death. He has written a book about his experience, if you want a different view. Its called ‘the wrath of the four horsemen’ by Algie Kreake (his pseudonym) and is available on amazon. Its an interesting read and each purchase helps out some good causes :-).

          • The Explorer

            Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve downloaded the sample onto my Kindle and will take it from there. (My Kindle has a lot of things on it that I don’t necessarily agree with. Anyone looking at the contents and assuming that the presence of a book implies accord with its contents would get a very lopsided view of my actual beliefs.)

          • sarky

            Ditto!

          • The Explorer

            I myself don’t rely on any accounts of near-death experiences for my beliefs. In the NT those raised to life besides Christ are the son of the Widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, and Lazarus. We are not given details.
            Re greater fear of death among Christians, I suppose that depends on your faith in the reliability of surveys. Is what unbelievers say the same as what they really think? How do we know? Paul said that to die was to be with Christ. That seems to be the view of .most Christians I know, and was my own view when I myself was near death.
            But let’s not lose sight of my central point: because we don’t know now doesn’t mean we can’t ever know. (Unless death really finishes us and all our consciousness; in which case we won’t know that we know.)

          • Agreed. The dead do not return (until the final trumpet blast!) and the resuscitated were not truly dead. There are a lot of silly stories going around about seeing heaven or hell, some are money spinning fabrications, others are hallucinations due to drugs or cerebral anoxia.

            I will agree with criticisms of professed Christians when they are reasonable, as this is-although I doubt that many genuine disciples of Jesus are taken in by such guff. More likely the same people who read horoscopes.

          • sarky

            The problem is they are!!!! A good example is the book/movie ‘heaven is for real’. This was touted around by many churches as an evangelism tool I.e. Bring a friend to see the movie. However, the story has recently been exposed as a fake and a scam.
            In a world where people demand evidence, christians jump on anything they think will convince people of their faith. The problem for them is when, like the above, it is proved a fake it just solidifies peoples unbelief.

          • CliveM

            It’s like Carl was saying yesterday, to many Christians put trust or faith on things that are not of Truth, like relics, the Turin Shroud, near death experiences, individuals. They can only disappoint and when they do what is left?

      • The Explorer

        Dawkins wrote The Bible?

        • sarky

          He wrote mine!

          • Phil R

            Dawkins. Ah yes. The guy who stated that the first cells must have travelled here on a meteorite or even an Alien Spacecraft.

            Then went on to say without pausing that these cells developed on another planet by some evolutionary process…….!

            You could call it faith I suppose……

            As it seems you would need an awful lot of it.

            Still we are to teach Evolution in schools and it seems we are to be closed down if we don’t. (Or we don’t teach Lesbian sex acts to 10 year olds and make sure that they understand it fully to answer any potential questions from OFSTED… our
            People’s Commissars))

          • sarky

            Because life arriving on meteorites is less believable than god doing the whole shebang in 6 days isn’t it?

          • Phil R

            With all the radiation out there in space?

            I think it is impossible on a meteorite.

            Anyway a 6 day creation is just one interpretation of the Bible. Because of the inconsistencies and the structure of Genesis 1. I believe that Genesis 1 is a song and the narrative starts at Genesis 2. It is the only rational explanation unless the editor of Genesis 1 and 2 was an idiot and could not see the inconsistencies of the two accounts. If 1 is a song it was never meant to be taken as History. We have lost the genre over the years, but I suspect that 3000 years ago it would be obvious to the reader. (Or more likely the listener)

          • sarky

            Or, it’s all just a story?

          • Phil R

            Far more likely than bugs traveling on meteorites!

            That’s a good one to base your worldview and science curriculum upon

          • sarky
          • Phil R

            If you read the comments rubbishing the science.

            They are far more plausible than the article.

          • sarky

            Think I’ll give mars a miss, I’ve heard the wifi is awful and Amazon don’t deliver!

          • Phil R

            Free supersaver delivery (by drone) for all orders over £100 billion

          • Yes. Considerably less believable.

          • sarky

            Check out the link I posted in reply to Phil!

          • Check out my http://www.questiondarwin.com site where amongst other things I explain the simple biochemical reasons why unguided origin of life is absolutely impossible.

          • sarky

            Thank you stephen, some interesting stuff!! However, I have seen your arguments in different forms before and needless to say I don’t agree. I especially have a problem with using the bible as evidence for anything. For me, god saying he did something, therfore it must be, is not evidence.

          • Thanks sarky, but I note you have changed the subject and also misrepresented me. I responded to your assertion about life spontaneously originating in space and coming here by meteorite. I did not make the assertion you attribute to me.

            I have set out in an essay on the origin of life the purely mathematical and biochemical reasons why the undesigned production of even a single strand of protein cannot have happened. You can engage with that set of biochemical arguments if you wish, or stick with distraction tactics if you prefer.

            Kind regards.

          • sarky

            Apologies, wasnt my intention. Having spent a bit of time reading your site, it is obvious that you are coming at the subjects from a starting point of creationism and therfore by default the bible.
            With regards to amino acids/protein, you might find this interesting:-

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405064027.htm

  • Philip___

    “31 per cent (of evangelical Christians) are intending to vote for Labour, 28 per cent for the Conservatives.

    This might show how uninformed they are, perhaps depending too
    much on the Lib-Left media and even political correctness to form their opinions. Both those parties are responsible for undermining Christian values and for laws that erode the freedom for Christian to live in line with Christian truth and preach the Gospel.

    Labour directed their MPs to oppose Fiona Bruce’s sex-selected abortion ban. How can Christians vote for Labour after that? Then of course there’s Mr Cameron’s law to impose on us belief in a false definition of marriage – resulting in the case of the cake bakery being hauled before the courts for declining to bake a same-sex ‘marriage’ campaign cake, and people being sacked for expressing belief in true marriage. Not to mention the B&Bs targeted under Labour’s “equality” for everyone except Christians laws (supported by Mr Cameron).

    Of course there are other issues, but I’m not aware that anyone is saying we must have more poverty or human trafficking – so Biblical ethics is not being vocally opposed on those sorts of things. But it’s in things like traditional family values,
    marriage, sexual ethics, abortion, sanctity of life, and freedom to live and
    preach Christian truth, which is where truth is being opposed, so it’s these issues
    that are particularly urgent for Christians to address. To fail to make the case for truth where it is opposed, and only saying things that are acceptable to the “world” cannot be Christian discipleship.

    And one shouldn’t always be taken in by politicians claim to be “Christian”. Best to look at their beliefs and voting record. For example it’s well-known there are “Christian” politicians who support same-sex ‘marriage’. Compare and contrast with Nigel Farage who is not religious but said the many people who don’t agree with SSM must be respected.

    • Shadrach Fire

      You are right in one. Full on. However as I have said elsewhere, there are only about 130 MP’S, those that voted against S.S.M, mostly conservative, that a Christian should vote for. How desperate is that.

  • Philip___

    “through our churches helping the poor and needy week after week”. I wonder if might seem to reflect the confusion there is sometimes on this site about what the commission Christ has given the church is. That is not to change this world, but to preach the Gospel to people the chance of enjoying the perfect new creation where they’ll be no injustice, suffering, sickness, mourning….! Of course in the meantime Christian disciples are to be salt and light, to affect for good their situation, use their skills to improve the lives of others, be better employees, parents and so on. But people need to become Christ’s disciples under His rule first, before they can do works that glorify Him. Wilberforce’s campaign to abolish slavery, arose, so I understand, because of his Christian faith. The Kingdom of God (His rule) is extended in this world by the preaching of the Gospel of “repentance and
    forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47) as this Gospel calls individuals to submit to
    the rule of Christ.

    • Doctor Crackles

      Gillan espouses a theology where anyone who identifies himself as Christian should be encouraged to do a work that is loosely inspired from parts of scripture under the leading of important people who may not even be Christian. It feels like a kind of soft version of Kingdom Now.

      I am afraid he sings his masters’ tune and is a symptom of the problem Christianity and indeed the nation is facing at this time. He should be a clear voice warning people (Isaiah 62:6) rather than a Pol-Parrot.

      • Philip___

        Yes, a “Kingdom Now without the eschatology.” The theological term might be an “over-realised eschatology” whereby characteristics, such as complete healing and perfect justice, of God’s completed Kingdom that will be established when Christ returns are brought into and over-applied to this age.

        “Over-realised eschatology” was once associated with more extreme charismatics, e.g. using texts like “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21) referring to the the completed kingdom when Christ returns. Now some so-called ‘evangelicals’ seem to be falling into this trap to justify a claim that the church’s mission is ‘social action’-type things.

        As for Christians needing to compromise to get on in politics, there are some who are there who haven’t and thus may not get very far up the greasy pole. But it does seem all too many compromise, or go quiet (therefore compromise), on issues where Christian truth is being contested – see my other comment. There are other “Christians” in politics who haven’t compromised at all as they are clearly believe in things like same-sex ‘marriage’ – so they didn’t need to compromise their beliefs in the first place!.

  • preacher

    Indeed, if the gospel were preached from all the pulpits to all men, we would expect to see a massive change in society, as others here have commented.

    Unfortunately we are seeing what David Wilkerson calls ‘the gospel of accommodation’ being given more prominence nowadays than the gospel of Christ, & Him crucified.

    • Doctor Crackles

      The problem is that one cannot build a career on the gospel of Christ. This is the dilemma for the young Christian seeking to make his way in the world.

      Paul’s tent-making springs to mind.

      • preacher

        A very good example Dr.C. Christianity was never meant to be a career but a calling. There is nothing wrong with a Christian working in any job, in fact I think it keeps us grounded & more able to talk to non believers as they feel less threatened & our lives should show that our faith is not an encumbrance or a cloistered existence, but rather a strengthening joyful everyday experience that all can share, should they so wish.

        • Miles Christianus

          This reminds me of the dilemma i had about a decade ago: Whether to be a professional Christian or a Christian with a profession. I still don’t know if I took the easy way out by still earning a crust and keeping my house (read, mortgage) rather than seeking ordination, or whether it was His will for me to continue to work in my chosen field and to do as much good there as I can. I’m sure I’m not alone in this flip-flopping of conscience.

          • preacher

            Hi Miles, You are what you are – a Christian. Ordination cannot make you a better or worse Christian. We all have to make decisions about the directions of our lives, remember that you are saved by grace & faith in Christ, by Christ & through His death & resurrection.
            I’ve seen & heard a lot of error preached by ‘ordained’ men whose sole aim appears to be to keep the ‘Punters’ happy in the pews
            Thank the Lord that there are also many good men in the ministry whose concern is for the eternal safety of their flock.
            Don’t let fears & doubts creep in, Who knows, the Lord may want you to be ordained in the future, this could still be a part of your preparation.
            Be at peace & be yourself.

            Blessings. P.

          • Miles Christianus

            Hi Preacher.
            Wise words; thank you for your counsel.

            In Him.
            Miles.

      • Shadrach Fire

        The scriptures tell us that if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat.

      • sarky

        Vicars, bishops, aoc? Pretty sure they are careers???

        • grutchyngfysch

          They are – and look at what happens to bishops and priests who lose their faith. They invariably stay anyway, keep taking their pay cheques, and (usually) make their conception of social justice their idol. And who could blame them? After all, if there is no omnipotent, omnipresent deity, there is no particular need to fear as a consequence of a little bit of tactical dishonesty or hypocrisy. Why also would they worry about following the Gospel with serious commitment when culture provides a far more compelling means through which to rehabilitate ancient texts (pace Sea of Faith)? They can use the social influence of their position to maximise the life chances of those around them with no ill effects at all.

          If there is no God.

  • grutchyngfysch

    Haven’t read “Those Who Show Up”, but Flannagan is a good man (wrong on a lot of things politically, but nobody’s perfect) so I don’t doubt that the praise is well earned. One thing that strikes me about the title, though, is that it would be a fit way to distinguish between the differing sorts of people who use the descriptor “Christian”. Those Who Show Up [to Church] isn’t, of course, the measure of salvation, but it’s usually a good starting point for working out if someone is serious about their faith.