It’s been quite a week hasn’t it? The nation has been kicked out of the Euros, oh and we also voted to leave the European Union. Our Prime Minister has resigned and the Opposition appear to be in turmoil. So as a Christian and as a ‘leftie’ I wanted to give my thoughts on what has happened, and the future that our nation now faces. I do hope this post is interesting, if you disagree, that’s fine, if it encourages you to think more on the issues, then fantastic!
Thoughts on the result!
I voted to Remain in the EU on Thursday. I honestly felt that we were, as a nation, better off in the EU. It protected Christians more than the British government would, and I disagree with nationalism, however the nation decided otherwise. There is a lot of bitterness of both sides still, blame is chucked everywhere and anger is our friend it would seem. After the result, I was bitter and at the time of writing this, am still going through a healing process. I constantly come to God in prayer and read the bible and ask God, why your people would want to vote to leave the EU. Slowly, but surely I am healing, I am finding the answers by listening to people, hearing their reasons. This is an atmosphere where Christians can shine; we need to disagree well, forgive, and not hold it against those who voted the other way, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Forgive and Understand!
As a Remain voter, I can say that I do acknowledge certain arguments by the leave campaign. The EU is corrupt, it is badly led and it has many faults. It hasn’t shown itself to be very wise and can be problematic sometimes. By acknowledging the other sides views, by trying to understand them, we can respect them, and by respecting them, we can discuss, and with discussion, we can learn to disagree well, and unite together for the good of the country.
If I analyse why the Remain campaign lost, I would say that the main reason we failed to convince the electorate was due to the fact of just not listening. The public figures focused their attention on Boris Johnson and Farage, rather than the people, who got fed up with it all. Do I think the Remain camp can be accused of ‘Project Fear’? No I think they stated things as they saw it, as I see it, but it became an easy target for the Leave side that classed it as Project Fear, and therefore handed them propaganda on a plate. I think many students, including me, went into the campaign with our views, our opinions and classed everyone else who thought otherwise as wrong. I don’t think we properly listened to people; anyone who thought otherwise was instantly labelled ‘bigot’ or ‘racist’, etc. This was a problem and we must learn for the future to listen to people, address their problems and stop being all high and mighty.
We have seen in recent days, the economy has fallen, our political system seems to be in turmoil. It’s crazy that such a decision by the electorate has caused such chaos. As a person with centre-left views, it won’t surprise you that I welcome this turmoil in the Labour party, I want a leader who can unite the party, MPs and members and can lead the party into the next election with a chance of winning, and provide a credible opposition, to hold the government to account. Corbyn, who was undoubtedly a nice fellow, had views I disagreed with and I could never had voted for a party with him in charge and ultimately he is a bad leader. The Conservative party has also been in chaos, and are undergoing an election for their own leader, our next Prime Minister. As Christians, it’s our job to pray for leadership for both parties, even when we disagree with them, we must pray that they make decisions that help people, the poor, the needy and ultimately glorify God. We must pray for leadership for all parties. The main issue is, for Christians it doesn’t ultimately matter which party we support, we should always pray for them and their decisions. We have our political tribes, places where we can shine individually, but we all share one vision, and one kingdom, and that is the most important thing. Pray for all parties, for those you disagree with; you don’t know who God will use!
Rise of Hate?
According to recent media stories, there has been a rise in hate crime, people being shouted at, mocked and bullied for being a different nationality than that of English. Whilst these may be isolated incidents, how sad this is! Brothers and sisters, this attitude is something we condemn. We must acknowledge that both campaigns were on many occasions, fuelled by hatred and anger, and this still lingers in people. We must respond to this with love, love immigrants, those scared, those from our European neighbours, those fleeing from war-torn countries. Jesus does not care about whether or not someone is English, British or European (Galatians 3:28) but for their soul and wellbeing, so whether you think the EU is good or not, that should not let you be drawn in to the hate that is spreading. This surge of hate is sad, and let us as a united church stand against this, regardless of our EU stance, leave and remain campaigners can stand together.
The future, what does it hold? Are we to fear, are we to worry? The answer is simply no. We can use the perhaps over-used cliché, ‘God is in control’, which although isn’t wrong, is not always the right thing to say. It can give us an excuse to sit back on our laurels, rather than living out our faith in the world.
What we do need is a change; we need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in the church. We need to be filled, we need to be baptised in the spirit, be renewed. We need to desire the greater gifts, love, peace, joy, but also beware of falling into the trap of negating or denying the other gifts of the Holy Spirit (miracles do happen!). We need to long for God in a way we have not done for a long time. We may look out into the world and sigh at all the pain and hatred, but change can only happen, if we are first on fire for God. We have to burn bright, and to do this, we need the Lord!
The next few years may be turbulent, they may be tough, who on earth (except God) knows but we have to work together to help the poor and needy. We need to put our trust in God; He will lead us. We should certainly live out our faith more. I feel the referendum has exposed some flaws in the church, and my call, I believe Gods call, is that we become more unified, but also live out our faith, love, care and forgive. Thinking on this, this could be the Church’s time. Hate and extreme anger is on the rise. I don’t believe that Christians voted with this hate in mind, but on the corruption of the EU. The church now must shine, to love, to fight for the rights of the poor, to live out the gospel and to follow the example of Jesus. Who knows, even for such a person like me, this could actually turn out to be a blessing.