Election Series: some musings – Martin Stewart

Martin is the editor of this blog

When you cannot be sure that you can observe the world in neutral enough ways, should you not say anything?

That’s the dilemma I face every election cycle when it comes to my pulpit ministry, and I tend to play it safe and avoid saying anything that can be interpreted as partisan politics. The pulpit, I figure, has to be shaped by greater things that the ideologies that I might find attractive and the whims of whatever mood I’m in.  I say that, and believe that, but suspect I am a spectacular failure!

I face the same dilemma writing this editorial comment.  Can I see clearly enough to get beyond my personal preferences when commenting on the scene before us as we go to vote this month?

I doubt it!

So I will say little.

But these things keep pressing.

It strikes me that almost all of the big issues this election are things that seem to have been neglected for a decade – maybe longer.
Water quality, housing availability, housing affordability, health access (especially mental health), poverty, the emergence of the ‘working poor, the widening gap between those with much and those with less, and political attention to the stuff contributing to climate change.

It strikes me that there is a gospel imperative to attend to exactly these things that have been neglected.  This beautiful creation – how do we be careful stewards?  Those who find themselves on the margins – who speaks up for them?  Isn’t that the calling of the church?

I feel that the system has been pretty kind to me for a long while now, but all around me are people who have felt that things have been weighing up against them and that they are being left behind and not cared for.

As followers of Jesus Christ are we speaking truth to power?  If we are speaking some truth, how do we do it and not sound like an opposition party?

If we are not willing to speak, are we effectively saying things are just fine as they are? Have we become contributors to the neglect?

Are we ideologically or theologically shaped?

I am trying to be the latter.  I am trying.

And as a beneficiary of a system that has been kind to me but neglectful of others, I am struggling to be at peace.

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Election Series: some musings – Martin Stewart

  1. Martin, I can’t help but agree with you. Having ministered through the 81 Springbok Tour and the intense pain and anger associated with that Tour I had to ask myself what was my primary task. I chose to be a Peacemaker keeping both sides talking to each other. Prof Ian Dixon said to us when we were in training “That it is very had to be prophetic to those who pay you.”

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  2. Hi Martin,
    I echo your frustrations.I agree that the pulpit is not the place for party politics but the Church is the prophetic voice in society and has become silent/silenced.In South Africa during my ministry there it was the church(notably leaders like Desmond Tutu and many others) that led the outcry against the injustices in society led by the nationalist government.
    The church I believe has a role to play in bringing about change and shaping the future.It is ironic maybe that politicians and governments are aware of the potential power of religion and the Church , more so than the Church.I think we have lost our perspective.

    Shalom ,
    Peter Jackson

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  3. There is a time for prophetic voices, but being reckless in the name of the Lord can do damage. Helping ourselves and others understand people is a pastoral art . In ministry people mostly know our political sympathies, we could not hide them if we tried. What they need is validation of their own better selves, recognition of the fears they may have good reason to sense, and grace to rise above comparing their own ideals with the failures of others.

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