What we've been reading this weekNick Spencer on the electionContacting election candidatesHow to Show Up Snap Election - How to respond?Thoughts from a Broom CupboardDifficulties getting to the Polling Station?Can’t be bothered to vote? Some reasons why you should….Politics is in need of incarnation, not just demonstration10 Reasons Christians Should Vote in the ElectionsThe election as an opportunityPolitics is dead...When praying for your leaders feels tough...'THOSE WHO SHOW UP' - Every church leader should read this book! If you care about your neighbour, you care about politicsDoes politics really matter?Why the Catholic Church calls us to be "active citizens"Serving God On the Inside and On the OutsideWho would Jesus vote for?5 reasons Christians don't get involved in politicsShifting views on politics from an Ethiopian immigrantOne student's u-turn on politicsTime to get engaged!A call for students to have a go!

Snap Election - How to respond?



Isn’t politics an unpredictable and exciting world?

Theresa May has called a snap general election which will take place on 8 June.

It came as a surprise and shock to many. But, like every political event, it demands a quick and courageous, yet wise and humble response.  

What, as Christians, can we do? How should we respond?

Here we offer three initial thoughts:



First, SHOW UP (If you have a spare couple of minutes watch this succinct video)

Now, more than ever, we need to get off the sidelines of political debate and get on to the pitch.  The Church does amazing work across the country, getting alongside people in times of crisis and being a Good Samaritan on life’s roadside. But we rarely take the time to do the hard, and perhaps more mundane, work of going back to the Jericho road to identify and eliminate the factors that made the road a dangerous place to begin with.

This general election is a great opportunity for us to do just that.

But sadly, too many Christians restrict their political involvement to voting and venturing an opinion on the issues being discussed in the media, or social media.  But are those the issues that really matter to the people in YOUR community?

Showing up is so much more than commentating – it’s about participating.  It’s about reflecting on the issues that affect our community, in the context of our faith and biblical values – and then speaking up.


'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute' Proverbs 31:8 


We long to see the church setting the agenda of political debate, not just commentating on what someone else thinks is important.

So, what’s stopping you and your Church from setting the political agenda in your community, town or city?



Second, disagree well.  The past few months have involved big disagreements in the country – from the nature of the exit from the European Union, to the question of Scottish independence.

At times it feels like there is very little room for constructive political debate, and there is a great temptation to fall into the ‘them-vs-us’ mentality which sows division and discord.

By contrast, Jesus calls us to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). It is this neighbourly love that can shape how we disagree. It is important that we try to recognise the good in someone else’s arguments, as well as critiquing them, and reject the call to separate out into different tribes and sling mud at each other from a distance.

Moreover, as Christians, we are all citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we are all children of God (Galatians 3:26). This is our primary identity and our primary allegiance is to Jesus.

So a challenge for Christians – inspired by this video – is whether you can disagree over tea? Why not invite someone with different political views discuss issues over a meal?


 


Third, pray. Prayer is essential. It is when we pray that we see God's kingdom advance on earth as it is in heaven. It also breaks our hearts to injustice and gives us the strength to keep on pursuing God's good purposes for the world around us.

Here we offer some suggestions about who to pray for, and how to pray.

At a time when there is so much noise and shouting from the sidelines, we pray for the capacity to listen, to co-operate more than compete, and to reconcile more than separate.