OBSERVATIONS, COMMENTS and MUSINGS
APRIL 4TH 2020 EMAIL TO THE NEW LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY
Dear Keir and Angela,
Thank you for writing to me to tell me the outcome fo the recent Leadership elections.
I voted for both of you, and I congratulate you on being elected as Leader and Deputy Leader of the party I have always looked to as having the interests of the most disadvantaged members of our nation at heart. I trust that you will both continue work for the benefit of the poorest and least able to speak and act for themselves among us. No-one in the United Kingdom should go without the security of a home, food and clothing and the opportunity for recreation and leisure at this stage in human history. I say that in spite of the terrible difficulties and pressures of this time of pandemic, though the ravages of Covid-19 only underline the need for the essential provisions of the NHS to be made availlable to all without exception.
I would like to take this chance of encouraging you both to work together to promote the evolution of a social order to which the whole population can give wholehearted assent. History shows that it is evolution rather than revolution that moves things forward. Legislation is never more than a provisional framework within which we can all operate smoothly towards the common goal of shared prosperity and peace. It does not in itself bring about those changes in heart and mind that can ensure this outcome. So, please make it your chief aim to encourage everyone - in whatever circumstances - to be openhearted and eager to be of service to their neighbours. This message needs to be clearly delivered to rich and poor alike, though particularly stressed to the rich, who usually emerge from any 'crisis' much less damaged than the poor. Economies can be rebuilt much more easily than broken lives.
Yours most sincerely,
[PS As an 81-year old I can say that I well remember the day when the NHS was inaugurated in my childhood, and I have been very, very grateful for the care of NHS staff of every kind at several critical moments in my life.]
[PPS As a retired Church of England vicar, who continues to minister when called on - which is quite often! - I am all too well aware of the way that greed and envy have taken hold of the majority people everywhere and the planet is beginning to make statements of resistance to further abuse of its resources. We have already begun to feel the lethal effects of the exploitation of material resources since the beginning of the 'industrial revolution' and the more recent discovery of the digital world. I look to you as leaders in government to call for the restraints needed to counteract the current decline into potential extinction of the human race. I believe that the earth itself will outlive us by billions of years if we do not take the steps needed to be taken at this time.]
JANUARY 10TH 2020
In the wake of the recent political upheavals in the United KIngdom I found myself writing this on my Facebook page:
"If I ruled the world...... " Democracy entails compromises. Nobody can claim to have absolute political good sense and deserve to be in a position of absolute authority. I myself am a 'unilateralist' as far as disarmament is concerned (and not just nuclear weapons). I realise that this is quite unlikely to secure a majority vote for any political party in a UK general election, or an election anywhere in this world of today I also understand that we shall never be able to secure social justice - for the rich as well as the poor, of course - by means of legislation.
Maybe it's just that I'm a convinced Christian and I live in a world as I see it through the eyes of someone versed in the Judeo-Christian tradition of looking at things; SO 'the end does not justify the means', and 'love your enemies and do good to those who hate you' are just two of the Christian principles on which I try to live my own life. But I would argue - politely, I trust - that these principles are to be discovered in the very structure of the universe by anyone who really wants to understand what human life on the surface of this planet is all about!
So, while we're all searching for the TRUTH and prepared to follow through to what the truth may entail politically, I believe I have to do the best I can to promote love and peace on earth. I have to bite bullets quite often, but even more often bite my tongue!
The via media is the best we can do with the human material we've got....
Following some responses that were not all that sympathetic, I replied:
(devilish dictators and the evils of capitalism are to be done away with, yes, ) , but not by the use of physical violence or brain-washing tactics. Money in itself, as a means of exchange, is morally neutral. It's the love of money, as you say, that is the root of evil - not necessarily all evil, there are the other 'deadly sins, too, pride, lust, anger and so on. The power to transform human society is to be found in the accumulation of individual responses to the invitation offered by the Holy Spirit of God to give us the insights and strengths we need to overcome evil with goodness. Jesus was well aware that this would be a very long term process when he set the trend by accepting his personal destiny to be executed for his faith in God. His resurrection proved how right he had been in advocating the love of neighbour and the refusal to use violence in the cause of truth and goodness.
I do appreciate that many who read this will find it unpalatable that I am saying that people of violence should not be treated violently. But history shows that violence and bloodshed only serve to give temporary relief from the threats to justice and peaceful co-operation which enable some of us to live in comparative comfort. It is usually the fact that the more violent you are the more likely you are to destroy your opponents. But winnning such battles does nothing to validate the rightness of your violence.
Let me add that you and I have lived through an era in which we have been able to escape the daily ravages of war and live our lives in comparative comfort. I myself have had the privilege of being a Christian parish priest without having to hide my Christian beliefs, although I have had quite enough antagonism from people to lead me to the conclusion that Jesus was very right indeed about the long term nature of the Christian mission! The countries of Western Europe have allowed themselves to be affected by something of Christianity, but not all that much. The USA similarly - though not even as much as our European neighbours. Greed and envy are the order of the day, encouraged by legislators and the media; and promoted by the advertising industry.
Our political leaders today show very little sympathy for Jesus and his teaching, and are only too happy to keep the Gospel at bay. They are very short-sighted!
Further responses led me to add:
We are certainly only hypocrites if we do not practice what we preach as Christians. Being despised is not necessarily anything to be frightened of. "He was despised, and rejected of men....."
Corruption is, of course, rife throughout human society,, though not everyone is corrupt and there are many humble and honourable souls whose lives sweeten and enhance the lives of those around them.... it's usually most vigorous among the rich and powerful..... in politics, industry, education, health care, the Christian Churches and other religious groups.....people who achieve or arrogate to themselves positions of authority are sorely tempted to use their power to their own and their 'cronies's' advantage..
I am now going to add here:
I have decided to join the Labour Party with the intention of seeing if I can make a contribution to the Party's thinking about how to legislate to the advantage of the poorer people in our society. An extreme left-wing agenda will simply not work in a nation where the vast majority of people are living quite comfortably and the rest are left with the prospect of always being sidelined into disadvantage.
The main problem is that greed and envy rule the day, and the wealthiest, who are greediest of people encourage us to envy them so that we are kept constantly looking up to them as though they are to be congratulated on their greed and we would gladly share their situation in life..
I don't expect to have a great impact.
TO CREDAL MAN
Credal man is anyone who exalts a proposition to the level of God and so gets sympathetic, but short shrift from the one, true living God.
"Close in on me,
but do not try to close me in
with your offence.
"Explain me if you will,
but do not reduce me to the explanation
of your discontent.
Spell me out,
but do not attempt to outspell me
with your incantations.
If I AM all you say I am,
then be my claim;
but do not claim my being
for your own."
does not seem to
I keep him
round the bend
I spy her
not inclined to
I smell it
(and not an
I am kindness.
I am the kind of God who is.
I am the kind kind of God who is.
I am not a kind kind kind of god who isn't.
I am the twinkle in your eye.
(Be kind to each other)