Saturday, May 06, 2006

I've been thinking...

I see it's over a week now since I posted here, and I know I've been a bit remiss.

I've been thinking, or at least attempting to think. I know there are connections, and if I could see what they are, I could make sense of something that's itching at the edges of my mind. The trouble is, I don't think I'd like that sense very much.

Anyway, I'd better tell you some of the things that have been flittering about, and just maybe writing them down will help put things into some sort of order at least. OK, let's make a list:

  • It won't have escaped your notice that the British Government is going through something of a hard time at the moment, and the chrome on the New Labour wagon is blistering and flaking a little.
  • Cruelty to animals is on the up & up in this country.
  • The same sort of thing is happening with children, with the elderly, with people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. The incidence of cases - well, reported cases anyway - of neglect and cruelty seems to be increasing.
  • People trafficking is becoming a major industry in some places in the larger British cities, and the Police seem impotent to combat it.
  • The racist BNP, the British National Party, has been making significant gains in the local elections, especially in some parts of London.
  • The Liberal Democrats seem to have woken from their woozy Kennedy daze, and are looking around at the way things are...
  • The Conservatives are publicly describing themselves as compassionate.
  • Animal rescue centres are receiving increased donations, and increased interest from potential adopters. Their online presence is increasing, and this is helping animals to be re-homed who might otherwise remain in their pens.
  • The same sort of thing is happening with charities dedicated to helping vulnerable people. Even Lottery funding is finding its way to these organisations.
  • The religious right is becoming increasingly hardline in its response to sexual diversity, and even in some places to the (ordained) ministry of women in the church.
  • Some churches, or Christian movements, which till very recently have been on the left - or progressive, or emergent (you fill in the rest) - wing of Evangelicalism, have been moving further right.
  • The old, British modernist liberalism seems to be losing its grip on the imagination of the CofE.
  • There is what I read as the beginnings of a kind of postmodernist Liberal Evangelicalism within said institution, and a little colour is coming back into its cheeks as a result. Even presumed Catholic institutions like the religious communities are catching some of it...
  • I could go on, but that's quite enough for the moment.
What's going on here? Why are things polarising like this? What is going on in the spiritual realm to give rise to effects like this among us creatures of flesh and blood? Remember, "our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12) Paul counsels us to "take up the whole armour of God..." (v. 13) and the very first part of that armour, as Paul describes it, is the belt of truth, and the second is the breastplate of righteousness.

Our prayer needs to be for truth and righteousness - or justice. At the beginning of Prayer Week 2006 let's remember that. Remember "...we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ." (1 Cor 10:3-5)

Let's pray for truth and justice, in the world and in the church - but let's be prepared, like Paul, to stand up for them as well, and, if necessary, to take the consequences as God gives us grace (2 Cor 12:9) to allow his strength to be made perfect in our weakness...

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