“If you care about your neighbour, you care about politics”
(headline in Christian Today, 16 ii 25)
With our long-anticipated General Election imminent (and though the date was entirely predictable, one cannot say the same for the outcome) the first quarter of this year saw an unprecedented outpouring of books, reports, letters and commentaries from faith communities such as the Church of England. We don’t shrink from discussing any topic at Wychwood Circle and our May discussion must surely be about politics and how our beliefs/faith/worldview might affect our political views.
Given that we have an established church in the UK and that all of us inhabit a ‘parish’ of the Church of England it would seem churlish not to take up the offerings made by the Bishops and others in terms of setting out the Church’s stall. The title above was the headline to an article in Christian Today and seems to refute any nonsense from politicians (but only if they don’t like your view) about the church staying out of politics, let alone keeping to ‘spiritual matters’. What is it to be spiritual if it is not about people (yes, and bodies!) and their well-being, to a Christian whose very name is based on an incarnational theology? Symon Hill takes this up in his commentary, as well as anticipating typical tabloid reactions!
Join our discussion on May 3rd as we take as our starting point any one or more of the following recent publications, listed in decreasing numbers of pages :
- The book of essays by experts in their field (258 pages) ON ROCK OR SAND? Ed John Sentamu (SPCK 2015) – under the headings of hope, the common good, the UK economy, poverty, education, work, health and well-being, and ageing.
- The Letter ‘to the People and Parishes of the Church of England’ (58 pages) Who is my neighbour? – which is downloadable from the C of E website
- The ‘guide to the pastoral letter’ (11 pages) – a useful set of quotations under 23 different headings (our political culture, the role of the state, poverty and inequality, immigration, defence and war, etc). This can be found as a Word document on the same website
- The Guardian editorial welcoming it the day after the Letter was published.
- A blog on the Letter and reactions to it, by Symon Hill at the thinktank Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21446