Priestly Ponderings May 2015

WHO SHOULD YOU VOTE FOR?

 It’s only a few days away and you will be called upon to vote for a new Government. Who will you vote for and why? The current election campaign is much the same as I have ever experienced in my lifetime. All the usual political sound bites. It’s all about our Nation, our economy, our health service, our education system and so on. But I want to focus on what our nation might be doing for the “common good” and not just about ourselves looking inwardly. Despite the fact that the church is encouraged to contribute to the political debate more actively, I have to disappoint you because I shan’t be advising you which party to vote for!

 It seems strange to me that we continually ignore the fact that there is a side effect to globalisation, i.e. that problems that once would have stayed local now have far reaching effects worldwide. For example, a bank lending too much money in one country can now affect the world economy and not just their own nation. But we still operate as a nation as if no other country is affected by our decisions or problems etc.  We tend to ignore the issues that affect us all as a species of humanity, Climate Change, Human Rights, Demographics, Terrorism and Pandemics, Human Slavery, Species Loss and much more. We make little or no progress to solving such issues because we are not organised to do so. We operate as a number of nations in just the same way as we did 2 or 300 years ago, organised in to 200 or so individual states. It’s all wrong because we end up looking inwards. These worldwide issues need our attention but you are unlikely to hear them debated during the current election campaign.  I can’t find these issues in any of the major parties’ manifestos. It’s no good simply blaming the politicians either because they are responding to what we tell them we need. We tell them we need more wealth, more prosperity, faster economic growth, a better health system, etc.

 It needs to change so that countries can work together to solve the really serious problems we face. So perhaps we could start by asking our politicians when they knock on our doors what their manifesto says about global issues and the “Common Good” and not just the domestic matters that we are so familiar with.  It might take them by surprise but it needs to happen!

 Jesus was a tough political commentator. He taught us  not simply to concern ourselves with being rich,  having a big house or a well paid job.  Jesus would want to know how his nation would help other nations for the benefit of others.  So I ask, What does my country do to contribute toward the common good?  What does my country do to help other countries and address the global issues which concern us all.  We cannot live in isolation from such issues.  I want to be a part of a country that is actively “Good”, which is not the opposite to bad but the opposite to selfishness.  So when we meet our politicians on the doorstep please ask them “What is it that can make our country “Good”?”

 We can change the world by being “Good”.  I really do want to live in a “Good” country and I hope you do too!              Revd Jim Brown

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