The following formed the basis of an article that I wrote for Network Ipswich in February 2010.
Religion and politics don’t mix. I’m sure you have heard that said more than once, and it may be true! However, Jesus, His coming kingdom, a society in disarray and the people of God certainly should mix. Whichever way you ‘read’ Jesus, we, his people, must get involved. Salt in the salt-shaker is useless.
At Burlington we are always looking for different ways to get involved. So, with the General Election just a few months away, we decided to invite the prospective parliamentary candidates for Ipswich (of the major parties) to join us on a Sunday to be interviewed and to meet and chat with our community.
We are part way through but it has already proved to be a very worthwhile opportunity. Here are a few of my reflections:
An opportunity to listen: It has been great to listen to these potential representatives responding to some of the issues that concern us as Christians. I asked them publically about their values, their approach to freedom of speech and expression in the workplace, their commitment to family values and their priorities for Ipswich.
I think our community will feel more informed when they face the ballot box this year. I certainly will.
An opportunity to speak up: Welcoming these guests has also given us the opportunity to speak up –
- To speak up about the church being the largest volunteer organization in the UK and that here in Ipswich the church wants to be involved.
- To speak up about our values, concerns and convictions.
- To speak up about the change Jesus has brought to our lives. (Each candidate has joined us for worship, prayer and bible teaching).
An opportunity to pray: We are called to pray for those ‘over us.’ It has been a privilege to pray publicly for those who may serve us, and who are serving us currently, asking God’s blessing on them and their families; asking God’s wisdom on their decisions and asking God’s values to be reflected in all their dealings.
We will pray for them more earnestly now I am sure.
This small journey has spurred us on to get more involved and get more salt out of the shaker. For more details and to listen to the interviews go to: www.burlingtonbaptist.org.uk/generalelection