General Election 2017: Who should you vote for?

We were all surprised to hear that Theresa May had called a general election, but not surprised that she found inspiration in the Welsh hills. The beauty of the Welsh countryside allows for peaceful reflection and the grandeur of the environment births grand ideas (whether you agree with them or not).

I have since been walking the hills of our Welsh valley pondering the situation and have written the below guidance from a Biblical perspective (although not exclusively for the Christian to take heed to).

As I have said before; it is best to keep politics out of the pulpit, so I will seek to remain impartial throughout, refusing to reveal my own persuasion. I do not want to alienate anyone from the Gospel because of my political opinion, especially when such concerns have little significance in the light of eternity.

With that said, as Christians we have a responsibility to give to Caesar what is Caesars and I believe this also means that we have a duty to vote! (Mark 12:17)

We must then take time to consider carefully the best possible option, in the understanding that all human institutions are not perfect (Romans 3:10).

We must also be willing for the Lord’s sake to submit to the elected authority whoever that may be (1 Peter 2:13).

Polling_station_6_may_2010

So the question remains who should you vote for?

Every candidate will be telling you over the coming weeks that they are the most deserving of your vote. Admittedly they all have various positive attributes (depending on your world view) and I am sure all run with the best possible intentions.

The Green Party’s message may resonate with you because of the Bible’s teaching on being good custodians of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-28) and Labour’s taxation policy may share Biblical principles on giving (Proverbs 19:17). Many Christian would say that the Tories uphold certain conservative values that align more with Biblical teaching (Romans 13:1), but you can also argue that the Liberal Democrats best follow the Biblical view on social justice (Deuteronomy 10:18-19). Many Godly people may see the Bible reflected in one of the national party manifesto’s (Plaid Cymru, SNP, UKIP etc) and vote for them, or Christians may want to witness their “saltiness” and cast a protest vote (1 Peter 1:16) (Matthew 5:13-16).

The truth is, no party fully adheres to the Bible’s mandate, for perfection lies only with the Lord and in the Kingdom of Heaven (Psalm 145). Even if we had a National Christian party, we’d probably all feel that they do not adhere to our specific denominational view and find closer adherence to one of the secular bodies.

So the choice must come down to the party that you feel best reflects your Christian conviction.

There are wonderful guides that are made available for this, I highly recommend the Christian Institute dossier (when it is released), they (usually) summaries each manifesto pledge alongside Biblical principles, so you can make an educated choice.

My humble input for your prayerful reflection is that you consider not just what the party can do to make the world a better place, but how they can help you make the world a better place. (How the party can help you serve God’s Kingdom in the Christian context).

I make this point out of a genuine concern.

I have seen a growing trend in recent years of people delegating their social duty to the state (and what is more concerning Christians delegating their Christian duty to the state).

Joe Bloggs now feels that by voting Green he has done his bit for the planet whilst burning carbon through his various technology apparatus, vehicles and extra long hot showers.

Erika Mustermann equally thinks she has done her bit for our societies poorest by voting Liberal Democrat, but you never see her volunteering down at a soup kitchen, or donating funds to the local foodbank.

Alice and Bob vote Tory because they support the entrepreneur but never buy anything from the local shop.

Walter Plinge feels strongly for elderly care and votes Labour but would never think of visiting a local care home one evening a week to talk and play chess with one of the residents.

Yes! The government’s job is to drive a fairer society that gives opportunities to all, our governments duty is to keep us safe, healthy and educated but your vote does not delegate your social duty to your fellow man. Just like typing “Amen” under a Jesus meme on Facebook does not make you a Christian! Get up off your sofa on a Sunday morning and go and support your local church!

As you decide what box to tick, I pray that you will take your vote very seriously and thank God for the freedom you enjoy in our land to partake. But as you diligently contemplate your candidate’s appeals, do so under the lens of how they can help you do more for those in need as God’s means of Grace. Such a view will surely drive change and our Christian witness in our community!

Christian, vote for the party that would protect your rights to worship, to read your Bible, to pray, to meet together and evangelise.

Christian, vote for the party that would allow you to be economically better off, under the conviction of being better able to financially support your local church.

If the offer of more bank holiday’s are appealing, ask yourself will you give those days to God?

If a church of 70 people took the four extra days offered (per annum) for Kingdom work, it would give the same man hours to the Gospel as a full time worker!

Critiquing one party for their policy on the NHS whilst smoking in a small room with children is hypocritical.

Voting for a party because of their environmental policy whilst incinerating your old car tires in the garden is hypocritical.

Putting a poster up promoting a party of alleged unity when you do not get on with your neighbours is hypocritical.

Voting for a certain party does not make you more caring and charitable, if you are not caring or charitable.

Do not outsource your social duty to imperfect leaders, but vote for the party that best allows you to be a force for the Gospel wherever the Lord has placed you to serve.

I will leave you with the thoughts of Jesus’ brother James

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.  James 2:14-26

 

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The grey vote and BREXIT

You shall stand up before the grey head and honour the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32

As I stated in my last blog about BREXIT (Dealing with Change), it is best to keep politics out of the pulpit, I do not want to alienate anyone from the Gospel because of my opinion, especially when such concerns have little significance in the light of eternity.

The reason for this blog post is that I have been greatly concerned since the EU Referendum by the reaction of both sides of the debate.

I am of course horrified that some people have seen a victory for ‘leave’ as a mandate for racism, desecrating graves, religious buildings and monuments. A report that came out this week claims a 400% rise in hate crime in the UK since the BREXIT. This is disgusting behaviour and I do not need to go into details as to why this is shamefully wrong, (read Deuteronomy 10:18).

However, what has stirred me to write today is the unexpected reaction of some within the “remain” camp, who have been as discriminatory against the “grey vote”.

Society’s elders have been publicly blamed for the outcome in hysteric rants across social media.  The common line of attack has been “they should not get a vote, it is not their future”. This is an incredibly sad position to take and one that further illustrates our cultures continued departure from Christian teaching.

Before I continue as to why, let us look at the statistics: 75% of the 18-24 year olds voted “remain”, but only 36% of them filled in the card. This means 73% of the youngest possible voters did not proactively support this view. It is clear that the ‘blame’ should not be delegated solely onto the “grey vote”.

It is also worth reminding ourselves that the grey voters were the last generation to fight for our democracy and the only ones with the experience of life outside the EU, so arguably they were more informed than anyone else amidst the heated rhetoric.

We must also remember that they were young once and had to live with the consequences of the 67% that voted “in” at the 1975 referendum.

(This is not to say that I agree or disagree with their decision, my point is simply their opinion should be respected as much as any other).

The suggestion that the elderly have no place or opinion in our society because “it is not their future” undermines the democratic process and is a dangerous precedent (especially in an ageing society). Where would such an opinion stop? Should those with a terminal illness not get a say? Or those in high risk professions? What about people who live next to busy roads?

To say that someone’s frailty denies them an opinion undermines the strength of democracy that allows the weakest in society an equal voice to those in establishment.

“It is not their future”

Needless to say I would not be happy living in a society that is so willing to discard a lifetime of experience and expertise (Job 12:12).  Alas this Logan’s Run nightmare is exactly what is happening in our society as we continue to move away from God.

Rather than face the inevitable (Romans 6:23) people continue to fight against the ageing process spending outrageous amounts each year on treatments and cosmetics (Ecc 1:2). The divide between young an old continues to grow.Youth is prized and thus little respect is given to the elderly, a huge shame as they all have so much to offer society.

Refusing the experienced voice is unbiblical and will allow problems that were once dealt with in previous generations to repeat themselves.

This is where the church comes in

As society continues to put a wedge between the young and the old, the church at Noddfa meet as a family of all ages, from 6 months to 93yrs, each member valued, respected and loved as part of the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ………For the body does not consist of one member but of many………..The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honourable we bestow the greater honour, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honour to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.

Respect-elders