Saturday, 17 June 2017

Typically Christian

What do people think Christian people think?

I presume that the adviser who warned a Prime Minster years ago that he shouldn’t ‘do God’ in public had some sort of idea.

He seemed to think that people think that Christians think that praying for guidance leads us to do the first uninformed things that then come into our heads and to be unreasonably certain that we must be right.

Or that paying attention to the Bible has long led us to reject evolution in favour of a literal seven day creation and now leads us to reject equal marriage in favour of a condemnation of all faithful same-sex relationships, to name only two of the issues which appear to come most frequently to people's minds.

And, suddenly, it almost seems that they are right. 

A Christian leader of a liberal political party has a bruising experience of a General Election campaign and concludes that holding his (particular understanding of his Christian) faith is (perceived by others to be) incompatible with that leadership.

But how has it arisen that this is the popular perception (of many) in the first place?

Why isn’t the perception that a (contemporary) Christian politician will be most remarkable for his or her prayerful awareness of his or her own need for forgiveness and for agonising over the common good?

Or for paying such close attention to the Bible that he or she prioritises social justice for the most marginalised and seeking reconciliation for all?

Or that  leads him or her sharply to question the assumptions behind everything from profit before people and slogan before sympathy?

Which is more typically Christian, to be scientifically blinkered and judgmentally obsessed with others sexuality or to champion the excluded and forensically engaged with self-critical honesty and the needs of neighbours? 

Anyway, the ironic truth appears to be that, among what is actually of course the huge range of positions held by Christian people, for some of the more extreme supporters of the minority political party on whose parliamentary support a Church of England attending Prime Minister will now depend to remain in office, it is the popular view of publicly Christian politicians which seems closer to the truth than to the alternative reality I fantasise about, and it is in fact no bar to political success at all.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed encountering this car when passing through Leeds on ‘Clean Air Day’ earlier in the week.


Joy Davis said...

Interesting post Peter, and dare I say it, typical of an Anglican . Always fudging issues and not actually standing up for anything, especially Biblical truths,

Peter Mullins said...

That is quite 'in my face', Joy!

And I'm sure that highlighting the importance of forgiveness and attention to those society rejects is standing up for biblical truths.

My piece was really puzzling away at what outsiders perceive to be typically Christian rather than attempting to fudge anything.

Perhaps I need to write some further pieces to be clearer.

One would be about the range of things which any of us we might chose to be biblically fundamentalist about: the things Tim Farron does not want to compromise about; the additional things I highlight; the things not mentioned in my piece at all (such as pacifism).

Another would be about the way the very first Christians were perceived by those who first wrote about them: 'like frogs round a swamp debating which of them is the most sinful'; meeting together to pledge a caring life.