WHY IT’S NOT ENOUGH JUST TO VOTE
BY JEREMY DILLON
It was Winston Churchill, who speaking on his appointment as Prime Minister just after the outbreak of World War II, said that he had nothing to offer Parliament but ‘blood, sweat, toil and tears’. This defiant attitude, one that would define his first term of office (he was re-elected in the 1950s after a heavy defeat to the Labour Party during peace-time), was a blow to the prevailing attitude of some that a deal with Hitler was necessary to prevent war.
Churchill, a staunch defender of the Commonwealth, saw the idea of negotiating with the enemy as ludicrous, and began to mobilize the country for a fight to the death, one which would result in victory. If there’s one thing to be said about Churchill’s strategy it’s this: you’ve got to get your hands dirty.
Recently, I was asked to apply to be a local Councillor in my city of Stoke-on-Trent. I was out door-knocking in three different areas, and something struck me. People are angry. People are angry with the government, locally and nationally; angry that they’re not being heard or represented by groups who claim to speak on their behalf. One guy argued that the reason he likes the BNP woman more than he likes the Labour guy is because they get involved. I thought to myself ‘if there is one of these people in every street in Britain (in truth, there could be more), then we (the country) are in trouble.’ This nation is SICK, pure and simple. The MPs expenses row, the collapse of the banking system, the TV phone-in scandal, the G-20 police investigation, it goes on…The question is; Where are the people of God who have the prophetic insight to put things right?
I recently attended a small group bible study run by my local church on the Sermon on the Mount. One particular verse struck me; the line ‘A city on a hill cannot be hidden’. Earlier, I had been listening to Tim Hughes via SoulAction, who said that “Worship without mission is self-indulgence; Mission without worship is self-defeating.” Worship is not about singing the latest tunes. It’s about faith in action. James says that real faith is helping widows and orphans and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world; not to ignore it. In other words, you can’t hide real faith. A house on fire is front page news.
When are we going to get it in the Church? Seriously, how long will it take us to realise that our new songs, our fancy PowerPoint presentations and our new buildings won’t change the world (and I like these things)? We must engage people in relationship. Relationship changes lives. First with God; then with people. Getting stuck into their lives, instead of being self-indulgent consumers fixated with our own little counter-culture. Jesus isn’t calling us to do counter-culture; He’s commanding us to engage with the one we are in, without adhering to its vision and values. An encounter with God will ruin us for anything else.
If I claim to speak for God however, then I must first know God’s heart. Otherwise I should go home, lock the door and wait for Jesus to return. But wait a minute; doesn’t the bible say the one who buried his talent in the ground was stripped of it, followed by an angry rebuke from his Master for being wicked and lazy? Tough words, yet so true. God says that He has put before us a wide open door that NOONE can shut. The question is ‘are we going to walk through it, or remain armchair fanatics who shout at the T.V. saying ‘I could do better than that’? We are citizens of heaven, and yet so many of us are more interested in worldly things. Our belly has become our God and we have become enemies of the cross of Christ.
In closing, let us take Jesus for our example, who “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but became a servant, even to the very point of death, a death on a cross.” Jesus could have stayed in Heaven, enjoying the benefits of being God’s Chosen, but didn’t, and it’s this same Jesus that calls us now to follow Him, whether that’s into politics, media, education or wherever the Kingdom of God is needed. That’s why I’m standing, and I challenge you to do the same.
Jeremy Dillon, 09/11/2009