This last week…

As those regular visitors to the Sofa know, I normally attempt to do some sort of round up of stuff that has happened in the past week at this point. But its hard not to focus on the political news in the UK this weekend.

As those in the UK know, it feels like the present season of Brexit Britain has reached its season finale with the announcement that a new PM is on its way. Will the new PM kick cans, light fires, throw stones within greenhouses? Who knows… Tune in next season I guess.

In the mean time, here’s some meaningful church advertising…

Are you afraid to talk about Christmas in your workplace?

Are you afraid to talk about Christmas in your workplace? That’s the question people seem to be asking themselves, after MP Fiona Bruce asked the following in Parliament:

I wonder if most people struggle to NOT talk about Christmas at this time of year.

There seems to be an undercurrent in this question, that is to suggest that Christians don’t feel free to discuss their beliefs in this country. I wonder if this really is the case? Or are we being told something, in the hope that if we hear it enough, we believe it?

Look. If someone at your office doesn’t want to talk about Christmas, its more likely they want to get on with work, rather then prosecute you for being a Christian.

What do you think? Is Fiona Bruce asking an important question? Are you afraid to talk about Christmas in your workplace? Do you think its all a matter of perception? 

Should the Church be involved with politics?

In the space of one morning, two videos looking at the involvement of Church in politics seem to have surfaced online. Its almost like theres a General Election on this year or something? First up is a debate between Tim Montgomerie and Giles Fraser looking at the involvement of Church in politics, what political party the church represents, and if the church should keep out of it all:

(Found by the ever fantastic @thechurchmouse on Twitter)

Something a little different is this video to accompany the launch of #ShowUp campaign from Christians in Politics.

The Show Up campaign is designed to encourage Christians to get involved in politics, with information on how to arrange events, information on Christian groups within the main parties, and guides to what the main parties stand for. There is a lot more, and I do recommend taking a look, but it does seem to be missing any breakdown of what the parties are expected to stand for during this General Election. Hopefully that will come when General Manifestos are released.

(Details of the Show Up Campaign was found at the Resistance And Renewal blog)

Church, Gospel, And a Little Less Politics

Interesting tweet from “True Conservative” MP Mark Pritchard last night:

 

Whilst on the surface of it, it can seem like the above is a random dig at the good old C of E, the timing of it seems to coincide with a report in The Guardian – Charities condemn Iain Duncan Smith for food bank snub, which includes the following:

Iain Duncan Smith, the embattled work and pensions secretary, is refusing to meet leaders of the rapidly expanding Christian charity that has set up more than 400 food banks across the UK, claiming it is “scaremongering” and has a clear political agenda.

The news will fuel a growing row over food poverty, as church leaders and the Labour party accuse ministers of failing to recognise the growing crisis hitting hundreds of thousands of families whose incomes are being squeezed, while food prices soar.

Responding to requests for a meeting from Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust, which has provided food supplies to more than 500,000 people since April, Duncan Smith has dismissed claims that the problems are linked to welfare reforms and attacked the charity for publicity-seeking. In his most recent response on 22 November, Duncan Smith made clear that he had received enough letters from the trust and referred Mould to his previous answers. His deputy, Lord Freud, the minister for welfare reform, also explicitly rejected an invitation for talks on 30 August, telling the trust’s chairman that he was “unable to take up your offer of a meeting”.

Read the rest over at theguardian.com

So, about the tweet itself.
If Churches are meant to just preach “the gospel”, what are churches meant to do about verses like this from Matthew 25:

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

If Churches are preaching about a gospel that impacts on our everyday life, how is that going to be separated from politics? Particularly if (as the BBC once told us), politics is part of our everyday life:

It feels like the MP is saying that either the gospel shouldn’t be part of every day life, or politics shouldn’t be part of every day life. I’m not sure if either separation is possible.

How about you?