Greenbelt, cyclists, and seminars

Rob and Maz arrived about 10pm on Friday Night and were surprisingly relaxed and healthy. Seeing them around site over the last few days they looks refreshed and revived.

The festival was as good as ever. I went to two brilliant seminars Pete Rollins on The Third Mile arguing that Christ was opposed to ethics, 14 pages of notes in a hour, when I get the tape I will be re-listening for about a month; and Jonathan Bartlet on post Christendom politics and the church as a movement for anarchy, great stuff and is the follow up of Stuart Murry’s post Christendom books.

The Frontier Lecture with Bob and Annette Holman went well with over 150 people attending. One excellent point raised was the use of the word integration in the Green paper and that this was about structures rather than relationships and process. A challenge for use is to re read the paper replacing the word integration with the notion of shalom and see how this impacts our practice.

Green belts and papers

Getting back in the swing of work except the problems with email when you are away, over 200 to sift through on Monday! Sorting Greenbelt stuff is my main task. Bob and Annette Holman are leading the first Frontier Lecture at Greenbelt this year and will be speaking in The Club Venue at 1pm. NOT TO MISSED part of what they will do will be comparing successful community based mission with the new Green paper (not rizla) Title is Towards a new frontier: Issues that don’t promote shalom. Come along and say hi if you are around.

At last

The Governments Green paper on Youth has finally been published and a link to the summary can be found here.

This year also sees the launch of The Frontier Lecture at Greenbelt where Bob and Annette Holman will be reflecting on long term Christan community based mission and youth work and compare this to current government policy including the new green paper.

The Frontier Lecture aims:
To provide a focused well thought out, original, insightful talk around the issues of social justice, and frontier theology. A prophetic call towards a community of Shalom.

1. To provide fresh insight on the interaction of faith and justice.
2. To highlight policy and practice within the Christian community and government, that does not promote Shalom.
3. To broaden the variety of people able to hear the message by holding an Annual Lecture at different Christian events, e.g. Greenbelt, Spring Harvest, Youthwork.
4. Raise the profile of FYT’s contribution to issues of social justice with young people and communities.

Why I’m Not Going To Vote!

The General Election has been announced and I am, admittedly, following it with interest. However, I am not going to vote. This may surprise you, but I have good reason to take this course of inaction.

Society needs government to ensure order and prevent anarchy. We even see that God is behind the appointment of governments (Romans 13:1 – Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.).

The rule of government is the establishment of laws which must be obeyed by the society. In the case of democracy it is the imposition of rules by a society upon itself. Such rules only have relevance because of the power behind them – the power of punishment. After all, if there were no punishments then laws would only be suggestions! Ultimately punishment is only enforceable because of the threat of violence to those who do not toe the line. Even if you do something as small as shoplifting the only way they can stop you from walking away free is to use violence against you, in order to apprehend you and then punish you. Violence is only unnecessary when the kindly criminal is happy to co-operate – and if there is no threat of force then the criminal will happily walk free.

I am a pacifist and therefore refuse to participate in physical violence. I see no record of Jesus being physically violent or even encouraging it – in fact he is recorded to have opposed violence.

Christ did not come to free his people from the Roman occupation. There were many injustices in his society and Jesus did not participate in those injustices, he practised justice. However, he did not spend his time trying to force change on society, instead he invited individuals to change. He did not come to set slaves free in the natural sense, only in the ‘real’ sense of setting people free (by opening up the possibility of us a relationship with God).

Christ did not come to establish a moral law in society which everyone would have to abide by. Christ came to establish the law in our hearts, to change us from the inside – he recognised that change could only come from God in our hearts and not by law from the outside. He recognised the failings of ‘The Law’ and came to make the most incredible change in the history of mankind, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Democracy is the idea of finding a common morality to abide by. All members of a democracy are prevented from doing what they want to do – whether that be speeding, murder, being noisy, dropping litter, meeting in large groups etc. Democracy also imposes taxation on the society – money is redistributed according to the democratic choice. I’m not hear to make enemies by forcing people to do my will, or even by forcing people to do God’s will (is that even possible?). I will make enemies if I impose morality on people. Why do you think politicians are widely despised?

We have a tendency to judge how ‘good’ a society is by our own set of human values. ‘Good’ however, is in God’s eyes, not ours. ‘Good’ is only when we do God’s will. People cannot do God’s will by following ‘Christian’ laws, they can only do it by knowing him and loving him. Our mission is to show God’s love to people and be an example of this counter cultural way of life.

I am not going to vote in the elections. I am very happy for society to decide for itself what they want to do, but I’m not here to be part of that system. I am in society, but I hope that I’m not of it.

Vote for God’s love – don’t vote in the elections! Serve, don’t rule.