I will love you through long summers full of home

August 24, 2007 at 9:14 pm (Christian, People, Physics, Real Politik, The cardboard Apollo 6 has given the all clear, The views expressed here are my own)

Don’t worry I’m not in teen angst.

This summer I have seen miracles – seen arms that couldn’t move, move. Seen deaf ears healed. Seen my heart opened to a wider, bigger, closer, more beautiful version of justice and social action. Seen and forgotten and remembered powerful experiences of God, being unashamedly real.

This Summer, also, I’ve fallen off the political breakfast table and would have probably left the labour party if I knew how. Basically I want for a world where human life tramples gold, and if you imagine a reality of just that one sentence in practice it quite literally turns everything I believed in, regards politics, totally on its head. Bits of me extreme left, bits of me extreme right, but the vast majority, nowhere on earth. And I want to see more of this.

This Summer the big saga, pickle and drama has been the flat situation. It is now resolved. The truth is now that although I’m definitely positive about the PhD, I am still oh so chaotically nervous and stressed about next year for lots of reasons (I feel like a first year might feel moving into halls). But if Summer says anything, it says to trust, and if Christian says anything it should be ‘Yes Lord’.

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Britain’s role

January 12, 2007 at 9:50 am (Real Politik)

Lets see if anyones up for some discussion here.

Tony Blair recently reiterated his view that Britain has to either be really pro-America or really integral to the EU to have a role on the world stage.

Assuming thats correct, and that we actually do have that role, is it a good thing to have? Is it just our island pride to want one? Do the citizens of Britain derive a benefit on a day to day basis of actually having this influence? What benefit do we get from having influence, and is it worth the sacrifices we make in ideology, not to mention also in lives (troops etc).

Should Britain have a global role? I’m genuinely undecided on this.

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Why I dislike secularism, and also politics.

December 4, 2006 at 11:45 pm (America, Christian, Real Politik)

Right now I’m in the lab and theres a really disturbing sound coming from the air con like they’re trying to gas us again.

Yep right enough.

So, have you noticed that actually, secularism is rubbish? And while I’m at it, politics has some failings too.

Both of these concepts to some extent, and you can argue about this, collect where we’re at on a moral level. The best bits of the things we generally agree on. For example with secularism, you have this idea of tolerance. Tolerance is our modern solution, our conceptual utopia, if only Tolerance then everyone would be happy. Its secularisms ethical standpoint, and with honorable exceptions, few can really fault the heart behind it. I don’t want to fault the heart behind it, I just want to say why its a bit rubbish. I don’t usually dismiss things with that kind of language when I’m writing things down, but I actually do mean it is fundamentally flawed.

This, I reckon, is why. Tolerate me for a second.
Imagine this utopia comes about – everyone tolerates everyone. There is diversity, thats good. There is respect. Thats good too.  Let whoever do whatever, says tolerance, as long as they don’t bother me or get in anyone elses way.

And evangelical Christians get slammed on this one. They’re not being tolerant. They’re not buying into this modern philosophy, our moral solution. They dont want tolerance utopia? They must be brainwashed.

I reckon tolerance has one thing missing, which Christianity has. In fact I think there is a doctrine in Christianity which is totally superior to tolerance. Love.
It is not enough to just tolerate people. Just to numbly walk about tolerating each other but not actually knowing their names, or loving them, or sharing your life with them. That to me is a horrible, emotionless, grey numb world, not a Star Trek utopia of any kind.
I know there are some huge exceptions and they need to be condemned but where I’m at I can see evangelical Christians loving people, even if they believe and even say the things those people do are wrong. Many Christians say ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ and include themselves as sinners. That doesn’t really tick the boxes of being tolerant, but it has something that the tolerance agenda makes no mention of – love. Ask the person on the recieving end of love, who they prefer – the philosopher or the friend. I dont think the big challenge of our time is to tolerate people who are different, I think the big challenge of our time is to love people who are different.  And actually, I think Christians have been too acquiescent to give up the moral high ground on this one. Love beats tolerance like paper beats stone.

Its the difference between having this wee teaching in your head (tolerance) and living a certain way that takes others into account rather than ignores them.

I have the same problem with politics, and for some folk it might not be a problem, or it might be something you want to argue about. But for me this actually is a real thing. In britain you have the two biggest parties trying to say that they have a social conscience – thats part of our moral groupmind too and rightly so. I’m not criticising them for saying they have a social conscience, I’m not saying they do or they don’t. I’m interested in what they really believe though for sure, take the activists for instance. They fight for the perpetual election, going to council ward this and tough seat that….and when asked to defend their party they will talk about child poverty….but have any of them ever been to sighthill to hang out with the kids there? Why shouldn’t the groups of activists be they students or professionals just go out and actually do some of this social action?* Then you’d maybe find people less disallusioned with politics when they see the lib dem club or the labour club or the tory club cleaning up the streets in a slum. I have a problem with people who say they vote for policy but actually vote because of their parents and the politics in their family not the passion in their heart – they turn out to care more if their MP doesnt get in than to hang around and wait and see if people are lifted out of social or economic poverty.

When I was in America there was a republican party calling themselves compassionate conservatives (yes long before david cameron). There was the democrats, who supposedly are more inclined to represent the poor people. I was working in Camden, the most dangerous city in America I’m told, and there was poverty there. Why wasnt I ringed by republicans, if they are so compassionate? Why when the democrats came, was the only street they cleaned up the one Al Gore was photographed on?  I should have been mobbed by people who actually believe what they try to convince others of. And I dont think thats just in the US.

I do obviously believe in the role of big government here as well. I just think that its similar to the thing with tolerance. Imagine you get that utopia where the welfare state raises your living conditions on paper from the cradle to the grave. And still, noone talks to you? Noone actually wants to cross over from Richsville to Poorsville, but not the other way around, as if nice houses are more valuable than nice people? I believe in the role of big government, but also in the role of wee jimmy. Our individual responsibility. I joined the labour party because I thought ‘Hm, yeah I know all political parties are self-motivated to some extent but shouldn’t I at least give a pound a month/year to a party which has a socialist democratic domestic agenda**’. But thats only half of the equation! There needs to be an individual response as well as a national response. Its not enough for us to be convicted of the need for something and just keep signing petitions and handing them to someone who hands them to someone else who passes it down the chain til eventually someone does something. Yes thats important on a national level and you do it because you want to see national change. But what about changing someones own individual life. You cant petition that. But you can do it, coffee and a smile.

Tolerance is people you respect without a person you actually know. And politics might mean a cleaner beach but to make the difference to one starfish you have to personally throw it into the sea.

*I realise that some do. I admire that a lot and wish I could see it. I’m not talking about political protests by the way but hanging out with people individually.

**If we ignore foreign policy, which we should never do.

(note this isn’t a post for defending labour, if you prefer to vote for another party then more power to you.)

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